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Consumer-directed health care promises to be a strong force for the foreseeable future, although the nation’s nearly 8,700 credit unions are just beginning to recognize their potential for securing new client relationships.

An estimated 300 credit unions expect to offer health savings accounts, an outgrowth of CDHC, by the end of ’06; however, that number represents only about 3% of credit unions, according to the July 14, 2006, issue of Inside Consumer-Directed Care. Health Savings Accounts are special tax-deferred savings from which a consumer can withdraw money on a pre-tax basis for qualified medical care and expenses. Linked debit cards have become the consumers’ preferred method to access HSA funds.

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