Health Savings Accounts: Frequently Asked Questions

December 16th, 2014
HSA FAQs Funding your health savings account and understanding what you can use those funds for can get a bit tricky. If you overfund your HSA, you could be looking at a 6 percent penalty. Here are a few situations you could find yourself in, and here’s how you can avoid and fix these simple mistakes:   Q: Do employer contributions count towards the annual maximum contribution limit for an HSA?   A: Yes - if your employer contributes towards your HSA, this counts toward the annual contribution | Continue reading this entry »

Your Role in Driving Medical Costs Down

November 26th, 2014
driving medical costs down It’s no surprise that health plans have higher deductibles today than they ever have in the past. That’s why consumers like you have to take action to reduce medical costs. That’s easier said than done, but here are a few tips.   It’s common when a doctor orders an MRI or a CT scan for a patient to have the office staff schedule this test for you. But have you ever wondered how they decide which facility to use? Are your best interests in mind? Doctors typically look at several | Continue reading this entry »

Subsidy Scenarios Under the Microscope

November 24th, 2014
subsidy Premium subsidies are about to be reconciled once you file your 2014 tax return. And with tax time not too far away, many Americans are beginning to calculate their final income for 2014 to see if they are going to owe the IRS a refund of any advanced premium subsidies received. Do you fall into this category? Let’s look at a few scenarios:   Q: My husband and I separated and filed for divorce in 2014. He has removed me from his health insurance policy, and I have applied and received | Continue reading this entry »

12 Terms to Know When Reviewing Your 2015 Insurance Options

November 19th, 2014
health insurance terms When reviewing your health insurance options for 2015, you’ll likely come across many terms that seem confusing or just don’t make sense. But to get the best plan at the best value, you have to understand what these terms mean and how they can cost you financially. Here are a few I have put together to help you through the 2015 insurance enrollment process:   Insurance Terms for 2015   Deductible - Once your insurance carrier processes a claim, they apply it to the “deductible”, | Continue reading this entry »

How Switching Health Plans Could Save You Money in 2015

November 13th, 2014
saving money Insurance enrollment begins November 15, and that leaves little time for shopping if you want to avoid auto-renewing your 2014 health plan. By this time you have received a notice from your insurance carrier acknowledging whether your plan is still available in 2015 and your new premium rate. If you take no action by December 15, most plans will auto-renew. But is this the best option for you?   Besides the many problems involving premium subsidies I’ve discussed in my earlier blog with | Continue reading this entry »

Your Health Insurance Options During Open Enrollment

November 5th, 2014
health insurance options On November 15 insurance enrollment begins - an important date you don’t want to miss since you can only sign up for a health plan or change plans during this time. You must be eligible for a special enrollment period to sign up any other time of the year. But how does insurance enrollment affect you?   Did You Sign up for a Health Plan Last Year?   If the answer is yes, you have several choices during this year’s insurance enrollment:   Allow your plan to auto-renew. | Continue reading this entry »

HSA for America Offering Webinar to Help Consumers Optimize Insurance Enrollment Period

October 31st, 2014
HCR webinar HSA for America will host an interactive webinar on November 4, 2014 to inform the public of the best practices to avoid mistakes that could cost time and money when selecting a health care plan for 2015. HSA for America is expecting record enrollments for 2015 during this year’s Open Enrollment Period which will run November 15 through February 15.   The webinar will provide insight regarding the upcoming insurance enrollment period and explain how without the proper guidance and action, | Continue reading this entry »

Warning – Is Your Doctor Network Shrinking?

October 28th, 2014
narrow doctor network As a result of the Affordable Care Act, there has been a recent and growing trend where health insurance companies are now restricting which doctors and hospitals they make available to customers. This approach is being used to offset the ever-rising costs of healthcare, but can also benefit you in the way of lower premiums. But is it worth the risk?   With a narrow network, insurance carriers are typically able to negotiate lower contracted rates for services provided within a select | Continue reading this entry »

Understanding Premium Subsidies and How to Avoid Owing the IRS

October 14th, 2014
premium subsidies Learning how premium subsidies are calculated and reconciled is about as complicated as the entire United States tax code. Although the IRS doesn’t plan on aggressively recovering tax penalties assessed for not having insurance, the same does not apply if you owe the IRS for overpaid premium subsidies. Rest assured - they will be coming after you! So how can you avoid this dilemma?   Subsidies for 2014 are calculated based upon financial information you provide to the federal exchange | Continue reading this entry »

Why Missing the December 1 HSA Deadline Could Cost You Money

October 8th, 2014
december 1deadline If you’re looking for some huge tax savings for 2014, you only have a few months left to get in on the action!   In order to make a contribution to a health savings account (HSA) and claim it on your 2014 tax return, your HSA-qualified health plan must be in place no later than December 1, 2014. For those of you who already have a health savings account, you’ll want to be sure to maximize your contributions.   The maximum contribution limit for an individual for 2014 is | Continue reading this entry »