Fifth Third Bank Launches New Health Savings Account Product Designed to Address Increasing Insurance Costs



    CINCINNATI, Jan. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Today's average family insurance
 policy is nearly $10,000 a year and represents 21% of the national median
 income.  With health spending expected to rise well above inflation for years
 to come, it has left many corporations and employees struggling to get or stay
 covered.
     (Logo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/19991117/FITBLOGO )
     Fifth Third Bank is helping to give corporations another way to provide
 health care coverage for their valued employees through its offering of Health
 Savings Accounts (HSAs).
     HSAs were created by a provision in the Medicare bill passed by Congress
 in January 2004.  Similar to Flexible Spending Accounts, HSAs are tax-
 sheltered accounts used by individuals to pay for medical expenses.  They are
 available to employees covered under a high deductible health plan (HDHP),
 which carries a minimum deductible of $1,000 annually for individual coverage
 and $2,000 for family coverage but has significantly lower premiums than
 traditional insurance plans.
     "HSAs are likely to play a major role in how corporations and individuals
 manage the spiraling costs of healthcare in the near future," said James Dodd,
 Senior Vice President of Fifth Third's Institutional Client Group.  "High
 deductible health plans have the potential to help corporations reduce their
 employee medical costs and enable them to continue to provide adequate health
 care for their workers."
     Mr. Dodd continues, "With these plans, employees gain more control over
 their medical costs by paying lower premiums and managing their payments via
 an HSA bank account where they can cover medical expenses tax-free with a
 check, ATM or debit card.  In addition, HSAs earn interest and can help
 employees build long-term wealth on contributions that are not 'use it or lose
 it' like flexible spending accounts."
     Corporations, health insurance companies and third party administrators
 electing to offer employees a high deductible health plan in conjunction with
 an HSA can do so with Fifth Third through a company-sponsored custody account.
 Fifth Third will assist institutions with the necessary plan documents,
 including the Health Savings Account Disclosure Statement, Transfer/Rollover
 forms, and beneficiary forms.  In addition, Fifth Third will provide plan
 participants, or employees, with an HSA and pay a market rate of return on
 deposit balances, offer limited check writing, access to the account via the
 Internet, account statements, tax reporting and brokerage investment options.
     Fifth Third Bancorp (Nasdaq:   FITB) is a diversified financial services
 company headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio.  The Company has $98.3 billion in
 assets, operates 17 affiliates with 1,090 full-service Banking Centers,
 including 129 Bank Mart(R) locations open seven days a week inside select
 grocery stores and 1,979 Jeanie(R) ATMs in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan,
 Illinois, Florida, Tennessee, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.  The financial
 strength of Fifth Third's Ohio and Michigan banks continues to be recognized
 by rating agencies with deposit ratings of AA- and Aa1 from Standard & Poor's
 and Moody's, respectively.  Additionally, Fifth Third Bancorp continues to
 maintain the highest short-term ratings available at A-1+ and Prime-1 and is
 recognized by Moody's with one of the highest senior debt ratings for any U.S.
 bank holding company of Aa2.  Fifth Third operates four main businesses:
 Retail, Commercial, Investment Advisors and Fifth Third Processing Solutions.
 Investor information and press releases can be viewed at http://www.53.com .
 Fifth Third's common stock is traded through the NASDAQ National Market System
 under the symbol, "FITB."
 
 

SOURCE Fifth Third Bancorp
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