There’s a lot of talk about the future of health insurance in Florida (across the nation actually) right now, especially with the current presidential election. There may have been some terminology mentioned in debates that you aren’t familiar with. One is the Health Savings Account or HSA. It’s not a new plan but may be expanded to have more options available in the near future. This type of plan can be beneficial to many but understanding how it works is the first step.
An HSA from a bank or savings perspective is a type of account you set up with a participating bank that is designated to be used to health-related expenses only. The money you put in to this account is tax-free but cannot be used on anything but health-related things such as doctor’s visits, procedures, prescriptions, dental and vision services, etc. Health Savings Account funds cannot, however, be used to pay actual premiums.
An HSA from the health insurance perspective is a policy you elect that is typically all out of pocket up to a certain maximum. The most common HSA plan with Florida Blue has a $3,600 deductible (for individuals) that you would pay for yourself, then any and everything over that amount for the remainder of the calendar year is paid for in full by the policy. The maximum amount that you can deposit into the HSA bank account per year is $3,350 for an individual and $6,750 for a family (in 2016) but it will roll over to the next year if unused. After age 65, you can withdraw funds from an HSA account to be used for any reason, without penalty. If you withdraw funds for non-medical use prior to age 65, you must pay the appropriate income taxes as well as a 20% penalty.
The objective and benefit of an Health Savings Account is that you are setting aside money in a “savings” account that you may or may not need for health-related expenses but you’re saving on the taxes. You’re also guaranteeing that you won’t pay more than a certain amount of money towards health insurance costs in one calendar year. Health Savings Accounts are typically offered as an option on employer-provided group insurance as well as individual health insurance.
The following are some examples of qualified health-related expenses that an HSA can be used for:
- Alcohol and drug addiction treatment
- Breast reconstruction surgery
- Dental treatment
- Diagnostic tests and devices
- Doctor’s visits
- Eyeglasses, contact lenses and exams
- Fertility enhancements
- Hearing aids and batteries
- Operations/surgery (non-cosmetic)
- Nursing services
- Physical therapy
- Psychiatric care
- Smoking cessation
Learn more about Health Insurance by visiting other blogs on the topic on our website.