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HSA Account Tips

Sassy

Featured Member/ Kilo Klub
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Health Care Savings Accounts (HSA) have been around for some time now and have turned into a pretty good financial tool. For those who are not familiar with HSAs, they are a type of savings accounts that allow you to set aside money that is NOT taxed, so you can use the money for qualifying medical expenses. To qualify for a HSA account, you have to have health insurance that has a high deductible [AKA High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP)]. According to healthcare.gov: "For plan year 2021, the minimum deductible is $1,400 for an individual and $2,800 for a family. For plan year 2022, the minimum deductible for an HDHP is $1,400 for an individual and $2,800 for a family."

You can purchase a HDHP plan off healthcare.gov, any health insurance companies (BCBS, Atena, Cigna, UnitedHealth, etc) or you company may offer a HSA-eligible plan. Since my DH and I couldn't afford Obamacare, I purchased mine health insurance through Farm Bureau Health Plans. It is non-complaint; meaning that it is not a Obamacare policy and therefore doesn't meat Obamacare requirements (excludes pre-existing conditions, etc). Turns out according to Farm Bureau my DH is uninsurable, so I had to buy a "Short-term" policy for him that does have a high deductible, but it does NOT qualify for HSA. Keep this in mind when purchasing insurance. You'll want to make sure that they are "HSA-eligible."

Don't get HSA confused with FSA! FSA is a Flexible Healthcare Savings Account and the BIG difference is that any money that you put in a FSA HAS to be used by the end of the year or you will lose it. With a HSA, you don't lose the money at the end of the year. It keeps accumating. Both accounts can be used to pay for qualifying medical expenses. You will have to look up what qualifies but I can tell you that is a lot of things except for OTC.

With HSAs, you are limited to how much money that you can contribute during a year. Uncle Sam does adjust the limited, so it increases. For 2021, you can contribute up to $3,600 for self-only coverage and up to $7,200 for family. For 2022, $3,650 for self-only coverage and up to $7,300 for family. If you are over 50, you get to contribute $1,000 more. If your company offers a match, I highly encourage you to take the match! That's free money.

A few years back I was discussing HSA's with my brother who is a financial planner, and he suggested that saving the money in our HSA account until we retire. This was a light bulb moment. It's not taxed. The interest/dividends are not taxed. If you use the money for medical expenses, then that money is not taxed at the time of withdrawal. It's one of the few times that you get a tax break. Think about it, most of your expenses when you retire will be medical. If you have a tradition IRA, you don't have to use that money for health expenses. This once again saves you in taxes. I've been trying to stay out of it and it has finally started to accumulate a nice amount of money. I know sometimes it's really difficult to make ends meet when you have major medical expenses. If you can stay out of it and the time comes that you do need it, it sure is nice to have that money set aside.

Another note: I quit my job in 2009 to work for my hubby, so I rolled my HSA over into another account. This account was with Well Fargo and set up by my insurance company. Personally, I don't like WF! Plus they were charging $3.75 administration fee. I found out that our local bank offered HSA and the fee was much lower! Plus, when you reached their minimum balance, you don't pay any administration fees. It pays to shop around and find the accounts with the lowest fees and pays best interested. You don't have to stay with the same account. All you do is fill out the proper paper work to "Rollover" the money.

For those you who are young, I really encourage you to take advantage of an HSA. You might be healthy and don't have a lot of medical expenses. It sure is nice to have the money if/when you do need it. If you are really lucky, you will have a nice big-fat account when you retire.

Hey, the same goes for 529 Education Savings Accounts. They were designed for families who want to save money for the children's college or technical school. I don't have any info on these, because I have no kids or plans to go back to college. If you are wanting to go back to school for masters, PHD, etc, then you should check them out. They can save you some money on taxes.

Hope this helps!
 

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