Monday, March 31, 2014

I Love My HSA

We have only been acquainted for 7 months, but I can positively say that I love my health savings account and hope that we have a long and happy life together. My only regret is that we were not introduced to each other sooner.

During our initial enrollment period we discussed our options for health care and use of flexible spending accounts and HSA's. We opted for a high deductible plan and a HSA. What a great decision that was for our family.

For the first time in our married life we didn't see any major health expenses on the horizon  (pregnancy/delivery) and felt confident in our health. But we also knew that things would happen at some point in the future that we wouldn't have any control over.

I've already told you about my crush on Dr. Carson, but it was during one of his speeches that the impact of HSA's was again brought to my attention. He said that 80% of health care visits could be covered by HSA's.

In reality most of us see doctors for preventive care and occasionally for illness. Few of us have regular need for expensive tests and ongoing treatments in our early years. For the last 20 years we have been paying insurance premiums and during that time only had 4 occurrences (pregnancy/delivery) that would have been considered major health events. I wish we would have had a high deductible plan and a HSA from the beginning.

Consider that during the first 10 years of our adult working life we had little need for health insurance but yet through our respective employers opted to purchase it.... like all responsible adults, right? A job with insurance is like a right of passage. I remember thinking that it was crazy to buy health insurance when I didn't need it, and then pay co-pays and deductibles on top of it.  I was sufficiently terrified at the thought that if I cancelled it something was certain to happen leaving me with regret over that potentially fatal decision. I was scared and so kept with the plan. And then there were the tax benefits, so why not?

But what would have happened if we had a HSA from the very beginning with a high deductible plan? That would have been 10 years of savings, with the security of knowing we also had insurance should something go horribly wrong.

We recently had a health care necessity for one of our children that required a visit to a specialist followed by a in-office procedure that produced medical bills for $2,500 against our deductible. No sweat. Why? Not because we had the money sitting in the bank. Like most people the money in the bank is for something like a house down payment, a vacation, something in particular that people have been saving for. Nobody likes spending that money for health care.

Money in a HSA isn't ear marked for anything but health care expenses. We have a debit card associated with our HSA. We paid the bill without a second thought and without needing to set our savings back because of this health care necessity or trim the budget. It was at that moment I fell in love with our HSA. The money for our health care was in the account waiting for us because we had been making regular deposits, and now will be replenished with each future payroll check.

This year we needed it, next year we might not. Instead of that money disappearing if it is not used it rolls over year to year, accumulating and growing. It is ours. Insurance may provide some sense of security, but nothing beats having money to pay for those expenses waiting for you in an HSA. I love my HSA!

It's the last day of March! That can only mean one thing ... Medical Monday's is next Monday. See you there.


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