The cost of living today is the highest it’s ever been, especially as gas prices soar, water and fuel become precious resources, and raising taxes has come to be the only (agreed-upon) option to keep our country out of debt. Because of this, penny pinching isn’t for the cheap anymore—it’s a way of life for most anyone who wants to keep his or her head above water.
Insurance used to be a luxury for those who could afford it. True, it has always been important, but like all things in life, families had to prioritize based on two factors: What they could afford and what was needed the most.
While this system meant that some people went without health coverage, it worked, because it gave individuals incentive to work harder to achieve the reward of good health care. Now, however, health insurance is no longer a reward for the hardworking, but a requirement for every U.S. citizen—employed or not.
The Affordable Care Act—which mandates that everyone be on a health insurance plan that covers its “essential health benefits” or be fined—caters to lower class, sick and elderly individuals who don’t qualify for Medicaid. If they don’t qualify for Medicaid, they will land an insurance plan on the marketplace with an impossibly low premium—sometimes one as low as $0. On the other hand, middle class Americans, the wealthy, the young and the healthy will see their health insurance premiums skyrocket! While this isn’t fair for anyone—no matter their socioeconomic situation—it’ll be devastating for those individuals who are just getting by—who live paycheck to paycheck—and individuals who are, more often than not, young and healthy.
Now these individuals, who perhaps didn’t have health insurance before simply because they couldn’t afford it, are forced to pay an outlandish premium so that individuals who in many cases choose not to work at all can have good health coverage.
There is nothing we can do to overrule Obamacare, but we can help you meet its requirements and keep your health insurance costs within your budget. With a health savings account (HSA), we can help reduce your health care premiums, lower your income taxes, and save on health care expenses down the road. Better yet, your money will go towards your health care expenses, and yours alone; you will not be paying for anyone else’s medical care.
Below are 17 more reasons to open an HSA this coming year:
#1: With an HSA, it’s possible to deduct as much as $8,550 on your annual tax return.
#2: You can deduct the entire $8,550, even if you don’t open your account until mid-year.
#3: You have the one-time option to use your IRA to contribute to your HSA. You are restricted to the amount you are able to move from one to the other, but nonetheless, the choice is there. If you miss the opportunity when it’s presented to you, you’re out of luck.
#4: Medical fees can be paid with tax-free currency.
#5: A “use-it-or-lose-it” policy does not apply with a health savings account. Whatever money you contribute to it remains yours.
#6: With a health savings account, you are not paying for health services you don’t want or need.
#7: If there is money from your HSA that you haven’t used and that has rolled over for several years, you can withdraw it—all of it, tax-free—for non-medical reasons after the age of 65 to spend during retirement.
#8: With an HSA, there is no complicated paperwork to fill out; it’s like using a credit or debit card. In fact, you can actually get a card issued to you for your health savings account.
#9: With a health savings account, your medical expenditures stay private—period.
#10: Health savings accounts build up interest over time—something traditional health care plans don’t do.
#11: Opening a health savings account almost always costs less than opening a checking or debit account, with some banks charging nothing to establish this service.
#12: Like with your bank account, you are able to view your balance online and receive paper statements.
#13: You have the option to put your medical charges “on credit” with an HSA and pay yourself back later.
#14: You can use the money in your HSA to pay for vision, dental, prescription drugs and other over-the-counter medical supplies that are of the non-drug variety.
#15: Unlike with traditional health coverage, you don’t need a separate plan for you, your spouse and your children; you can pay for your entire (immediate) family’s medical needs out of your HSA.
#16: If you happen to pay a medical fee with your private bank account, and not out of your health savings account, you can reimburse yourself and still claim it as a deduction.
#17: Great customer service. At HSA for America, we believe in breaking down the various complicated health care options you have so that we can find the one that is best for you and your family. Our mission is to save you money and provide you with exceptional customer service—for free! To see how we can do all of this—and set you up with an HSA in 2014—visit http://www.hsaforamerica.com/hsa-info.htm.
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.