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18 comments to How I Saved $5000 with My Health Savings Account (HSA)

  • Very cool, Crystal!! I shopped around for a HSA in NJ recently and could not find a darn thing. They are tough to come by over here for sure. Great post!

  • It’s mind boggling how expensive some employer sponsored health insurance can be. We just became eligible for insurance through my work, and after looking at the monthly costs vs what was covered we had to pass. Luckily we live in Canada and doctor’s visits and hospital stays (though not private or semi private rooms) are covered by our taxes, but it was a hard call passing up insurance. Glad to hear you found something useful for yourself shopping independently!

  • Our family just switched to an HSA this year. Even though we have two young kids, all of the preventative stuff is covered 100% even with the HSA plan, and it would take about $4,000 in doctor visits to make the HSA less effective, and even with kids that eat up doctor visits, that’s still a LOT of ground to cover. Actually, knock on wood, we’ve had zero doctor visits for the kids this year. The issue I have is that providers don’t seem to know exactly how to work with them. My wife had to go in for a vision related issue, and the office made us pay the full amount, which is fine, but so far I haven’t seen a corresponding claim hit the insurance company, which needs to happen so that it gets tracked against our out-of-pocket.

  • Mel

    I LOVED my HSA. I had one when I was pregnant with my daughter. I asked the hospital for a run down of the costs I could expect then saved as close to that amount as I could in my HSA. After her delivery, I would save what I thought we would use in doctor’s visits or prescriptions. I’m now looking to see if my self insured company’s health plan qualifies as an HDHP so I can set one up on my own. Great post and very informative! A lot of people I talk too don’t see a difference but it’s such a better plan than an FSA. Just the fact that the money follows you AND rolls over from year to year is bonus enough for me.

  • @Tony Not sure why NJ is a stick in the mud for HSA’s. I assumed they were universal. Did you check with an agent who works with them?

    @Sheryl That is exactly why group insurance made no sense for us.

    @Money Beagle, you shouldn’t have to have an insurance claim submitted to use an HSA. All you need is a receipt from an approved expense, and any doctor visit should count. If it was a vision issue, medical will not cover that unless is is something like double vision or loss of vision, not routine stuff like my vision is blurry and I need stronger glasses. If you wish they can still run it through your medical plan. It will likely be denied, but some people still want to see if it will apply to a deductible. All of that should still be fine for using HSA money though.

    @Mel, I agree. It is too hard to speculate what your expenses might be with an FSA, and I hate use it or lose it. The HSA makes more sense if it is something available to you.

  • If I did not have good medical insurance, I would go with a high deductible and get a HSA. I am very healthy, but all it takes is one hospital stay to wide out your savings. Great explanation.

  • retired

    We did not know about this. So I checked it out. Still awaiting an answer, but it looks like I can set one up now for my 2012 expenses, as long as I get all the paperwork, deposits, and claims in before April 15th. Cool, we may be able to save $3000 if you include the tax advantages, for last year, and over $6000 for this year, as I need some dental work and preventative stuff done that would cost us 100% on our high deductible. We only pay a small amount per month for the premium, as its a retirement perk for my husband. Weird, but it went up 600% ($6/month with $5000 deductible to $38/month with $4000 deductible) and is still lower than anyone else’s this year. This will help. We have a few items to check out first, but we went to the IRS forms and questions page and are working through them. http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p969.pdf
    Thanks for the article!

  • @Krantcents, You really can’t beat teacher’s insurance, a wonderful job perk.

    @retired, That’s great to hear. If you have to pay it anyway, you might as well get some tax advantages. I try to think of it as getting at least 25-30% off of medical expenses.

  • I love my HSA. The only thing I would caution people on before joining a plan is to make sure you have a good size emergency fund. The worst thing you could have happen is on January to have a big expense and not have any money in your HSA to cover it! It can kind of be a shock initially to pay everything out of pocket, but once you have some money saved in your account it’s a great way to pay for medical expenses.

  • I currently pay $290/month for my employer health benefits that comes with an HSA. I’ve shopped in the private sector before, but I haven’t found one that beats the benefits I currently receive. I currently treat my HSA like a retirement account and invest in index funds. I still keep enough liquid in case I need to get reimbursements quickly.

  • Our HSA provider is the same bank as our checking account (Chase) and the cards look almost identical. Last week my wife accidentally paid the car payment with the HSA card. Now, we are doing a manual deposit for the same amount and hoping the IRS doesn’t notice.

  • ODWO

    Where I work, they just offered HSA accounts to us …. yep, free untaxed money to use. Everything medical including Lasik, prescriptions, etc….

    Hard to pass up free money … or paying less for what would normally be totally out of pocket. Great post.

  • JT

    I love my HSA and have had it since my employer first offered it. My employer contributes some on my behalf, and I fill in the rest to max out the family contribution. Then I pay medical expenses out of pocket and let the savings accumulate. I am invested in some cash, money markets, and a mid-sized growth stock fund that made over 16% last year.

    I am holding on to my receipts to pay myself back if I ever need a little cushion. Added it up last night and I could get $3500 if necessary by cutting myself a check.

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