Showing posts with label HSA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label HSA. Show all posts

Monday, September 5, 2022

Methods of Making Sure You Can Afford Your Health Insurance

Insurance protects from the things that can go wrong in life. One of the most important forms of insurance you can hold is health insurance. 

Health insurance could end up saving your life one day without forcing you to go into financial ruin to do so. Like many things, health insurance isn’t always cheap. If you’re worried about whether not you can afford it, below are some strategies to deploy.

Obtain State Provided Health Insurance

Quite often, the most cost-effective plans are “state health insurance.” Investigate what your state offers. These plans often work in conjunction with Medicaid and the Health Insurance Marketplace to provide the cheapest possible health insurance to those that qualify. 

For certain low-income individuals, this insurance may be provided virtually cost-free. Investigate your state’s healthcare website to see if you qualify and what the enrollment process consists of.

Use a Health Savings Account

Another choice you can use to help you save on health insurance expenses is an HSA, short for Health Savings Account. This is a special kind of savings account. 

Funds placed in the account are not subject to US income tax. They can then be used to pay for your deductible. If you have high deductibles with your insurance plan, this is one way to help slash some costs when paying off your yearly deductible.

Get Insurance Through an Individual Health Insurance Plan

Don’t be afraid to look for individual health insurance outside of other options like an employer or the Health Insurance Marketplace. 

Today, there is a lot more competition than ever before in the insurance market, and other factors are helping to bring costs down for the insured. 

Make sure to speak to an insurance agent, like someone at American Eagle Health Insurance, and discuss the different possibilities of obtaining insurance for yourself and for your family. 

You may be able to obtain significant discounts versus other options. Adding more family members to your plan could bring down costs even more.

Utilize the Children's Health Insurance Plan

Another option you should consider if you have children is CHIP, the Children’s Health Insurance Plan. This is a plan for children of low-income families that is supported by a collaboration between the US Department of Health and Human Services and different states. 

It is designed specifically for families with modest incomes with too much income to be approved for Medicaid. It can provide low-cost coverage for families with qualified children, thanks to the matching funds provided by the federal government.

Obtain Coverage Through an Employer

One of the best ways to obtain affordable health insurance is through your employer or your spouse's employer. Under such plans, the employer often pays for part of your premium. 

The insurance company is also incentivized to provide cheaper rates because they insure an entire group of people. While certain employees may get sick, not all of them will. This brings down costs.

While healthcare can be expensive, it doesn’t have to be necessary. Investigate the options above for bringing the cost of your coverage down. You don’t have a choice, really. Health insurance is necessary in today’s world that your family cannot go without.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Prepare for Retirement with an HSA

Retirement planning isn't something that happens by chance. It requires planning, financial commitment, and a long-term perspective. No matter where you are in your retirement planning process, we have an additional way to save tax-free funds for retirement. Enter the HSA (health savings account).

HSA Overview

By all intents and purposes, HSAs were designed to help individual and families save pre-tax funds for qualified out-of-pocket medical expenses. It creates a clear path to save money and reduce the cost of health services and expenses.

The benefits of an HSA are that they provide triple tax-tax advantages: tax-deductible contributions, tax-free growth, and tax-free distributions (as long as they are used for qualified out-of-pocket medical expenses). This sounds great for health costs, but how does it connect to retirement?

After the age of 65, you can use your HSA funds for anything, just like A 401(k) or IRA. In fact, an HSA has no mandatory distributions in retirement. You get to decide when and if to use those pre-tax assets or sell investments in your HSA account. You can let your HSA funds grow into your 70s, 80s, and 90s.

Extra Tax-Free Retirement Savings

While the tax advantages of an HSA are clear, maybe the real value is an additional retirement savings account. Combining the savings power of a 401(k), IRA and HSA to create the only triple threat for retirement savings. That means more tax savings and more money for you in retirement.

Plan for Health Costs

Even with all of your detailed retirement planning, you might have missed the massive impact healthcare costs can have on your retirement savings nest-egg. According to a recent Fidelity Report, healthcare costs are expected to exceed $275,000 per couple in retirement. This is on top of Medicare coverage. 

HSAs can cover these expected health costs, so you can use your 401(k) or IRA for the stuff you want. Maybe some world travel?

Don't Wait to Open an HSA

HSA savings opportunities are based on HSA-eligibility. You must have an HSA-eligible health plan to contribute to an HSA. You can, however, use any accumulated HSA funds not matter your health plan. An HSA account is for life.

Your retirement planning might be in full swing, or you might be just getting started. No matter where you are in the retirement planning process, you can open an HSA to accelerate your retirement savings.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Are Health Savings Accounts the Next Retirement Plan?

retirement (Photo credit: 401(K) 2013)
It is no secret that end of life care consumes the majority of health care dollars. In fact, about 80% of all money spent on health care is spent during the last two years of a person's life. The problem with this is that many people have exhausted savings and sold off assets by that point to afford care. Health savings accounts (HSAs) may provide a solution to the problems of health care expenditures in old age. In some ways, they are like a retirement plan for your health needs. 

Qualified Expenses

HSAs, such as those offered by, are health care plans that provide tax benefits. In essence, as long as the money that is put into an HSA is spent on health care, it is tax free. This feature of HSAs has led many to compare them to individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and other tax-advantaged retirement plans. In truth, HSAs are even better than most IRAs because while HSA monies are guaranteed never to be taxed if spent on health care needs.

Qualified expenses can include a number of things that might traditionally be thought of as lodging. For instance, nursing home and retirement community expenses are completely covered so long as the individual lives in the facility due to medical necessity. Even hotel stays, home improvements, care equipment, alternative medicine, certain types of furniture, and more are covered if necessary for medical care. That means that room, board, transportation, and meals can be paid for, tax free, from HSA savings.

Essentially, the HSA offers a true tax free way to save for retirement. Though it may seem like a gimmick, the truth is that it is cheaper to pay for end of life care through an HSA than through Medicare or traditional insurance. HSA money is simply earnings that have been set aside over time. The best way to look at an HSA as encouragement to save for retirement, something everyone ought to be doing anyway.

As a final note, at age 65, HSA money can be withdrawn for non-medical purposes without penalty. Though you will pay tax on the money, it works just like an IRA, so the tax rate is lower than for other types of income. That means that an HSA is probably a better safety net for most people than an IRA due the flexibility that an HSA offers.

How to Treat an HSA Like a Retirement Account

Start Early

The key to a successful HSA that will see an individual through retirement is to start early. An account that is allowed to grow relatively untouched, for an average of 20 years, will be worth a substantial amount of money after compound interest is considered. If you can find a job with an employer who contributes, especially early in your career, savings will accumulate even faster.

Use Other Accounts

There is no rule that says you must use HSA funds before you use other monies to pay for health care. If you can afford it, then you might be further ahead to pay for medical costs without using HSA funds. Then, the roll over from year to year will be greater and the compounding effect will be enhanced.

Don't Touch

Though it will be tempting, from time to time, to use HSA money for some large expense beyond health care, don't do it. The penalty for doing so is 20% over and above the tax you will pay by claiming the withdrawal as income. Leave the money where it is, unless you need it for health care.

Coming Out Ahead

If you start early and save diligently, an HSA could be the best retirement plan you invest in. Remember that HSA funds can be invested, so don't be afraid to go for mutual funds or other investments just as you would with other retirement income. Remember that you are investing in your health with this money, so treat it with the respect it deserves.

Ron Sheffer researches money matters in the healthcare industry. He often blogs about his insights to help people make smart decisions.

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