How a Health Savings Account Reduces Medical Costs

Since 2003, the health savings account (HSA) has supplemented your health insurance. It's a product that's designed to reduce your medical costs in several important ways.  

Supplement Your High-Deductible Health Insurance Policy

Many employers only offer high-deductible or catastrophic health insurance plans because the premiums are low. With these plans, your deductibles could be as high as $1,250 for individuals or $2,500 for families.

If you have this type of health insurance, add an HSA to your portfolio. The money in this account can be used for a variety of approved medical expenses. You'll pay lower premiums and save money that pays for your deductible and other costs associated with your medical care.

Pay for Medical Expenses

In any given year, you may incur multiple medical expenses. Your HSA funds can pay those costs if they're incurred after you set up your HSA and if they are associated with diagnosing, curing, preventing or mitigating an illness or disease. Acupuncture, medication and co-pays are three examples of covered expenses, but you can't use your HSA funds to pay for cosmetic surgery, cosmetics or grooming products or other items that you may use for your general well-being.

Reduce Your Tax Liabilities

No matter how much you usually owe on your annual tax return, an HSA can reduce your liability. You can use the money you save to boost your HSA savings or cover other expenses.

Many HSA owners elect to have money deposited directly to your account from every paycheck. That money is deducted before you pay taxes on it, and you won't pay taxes on any of the money you take out of your HSA as long as you use it for approved medical expenses. This makes an HSA a valuable asset since it limits your tax liabilities. For more information on your tax savings, talk to your financial advisor.

Accumulate HSA Funds

There are other accounts that help you pay for medical expenses and reduce your tax liability. One is the flexible spending account (FSA) that you can use to pay medical or child care expenses during the calendar year, but remember that if you don't use the money in your FSA, you forfeit it.

The funds you contribute to your HSA don't expire, and they can move with you when you switch employers. That means you may use what you can this year and save any unused amount for next year when your medical costs may be higher than they are this year.  .

An HSA helps you reduce your medical expenses as it supplements your high-deductible health insurance plan. Discuss your options with your Human Resources Department or insurance agent as you save money.

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Further Reading
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