Do you feel so small against large health insurance companies that you just back down when it comes to fighting for the health care you need? Now days, Goliath health insurance companies are required to cover more healthcare services than in the past. Does your plan measure up? I’m asking this month because November brings a unique opportunity to switch to the one type of health insurance that offers tax breaks.
Check if the plan you currently have places a cap on the amount of coverage that you can get per year. While insurers liked knowing exactly how much they might have to spend on your care, you never knew what would happen if you got really sick with something like cancer. If you still have a plan that states the maximum coverage you can get no matter what injuries or illnesses you face, you need a new policy right now.
These annual limits are being phased out completely by 2014. But, plans that you bought before March 24, 2010 may not be required to comply with new rules that significantly increase the annual amount of coverage you can get in the event of a major illness or injury. By getting a new plan, you can be sure your coverage won’t run out when you need it most – like right in the middle of chemotherapy.
And, there’s a second important reason to see if your plan measures up to the latest policies. Many plans now have deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs. Did you know you can get a tax deduction for just about all of those? If you want to save more on taxes, why not look into the type of health insurance that can be paired with a Health Savings Account (or an HSA)? If you have an HSA, you can reduce your annual income tax just by placing tax-deductible contributions in your account. That money can be used to pay for qualified medical expenses like acupuncture, dental care, hearing aids, laser eye surgeries and a lot more.
Until you retire and enroll in Medicare, you can only spend HSA funds for healthcare. Spend it for non-medical expenses, and you’ll get a 20-percent penalty. Once you do retire, it’s yours to spend just like with other retirement accounts. To see what types of healthcare you can use HSA funds for, see the list of qualified expenses here: (http://www.hsaforamerica.com/qualified-expenses.htm).
If you want to get a tax deduction for 2012, you need to have your HSA health insurance plan by December 1. Then, you can contribute up to $3,100 if you have individual coverage or up to $6,250 for a family plan. If you are at least 55, it’s ok to make a catch-up contribution of $1,000 to help with retirement. Oh, by the way, you can use HSA money to pay for Medicare, long-term care insurance, and a lot more. You have until April 15, 2013 to make HSA deposits and claim your deduction and you don’t even need to itemize.
Wiley Long is President of HSA for America, and a passionate advocate for consumer-based solutions that will improve price transparency and lower health insurance and medical costs for people purchasing individual and family health insurance plans.