Still on the search for the best health insurance plan that will let me contribute to a Health Savings Account (HSA). I need to contact my State Farm agent for one more quote, and then I can start crunching some numbers. First, I wanted to write down some basics of what I’ve found out about HSAs, including Pros and Cons. Overall, I think of them as a Traditional IRA for healthcare expenses.
Anyone under age 65 can contribute to an HSA if they buy a high-deductible health insurance policy. The policy’s deductible must be at least $1,000 for individuals or $2,000 for families.
» Contributions are tax-deductible, even if you don’t itemize.
» Portable; Like an IRA, it travels with you, not your job.
» Rolls over each year, unlike a Flexible Spending Account.
» Earnings grows tax fee (also like an IRA).
» No taxes on withdrawals used to pay healthcare expenses.
» Possible to invest in mutual funds to boost long-term returns
» Some companies match contributions to HSAs, like others to 401ks.
» HSAs are inheritable.
» You’ll have to pay for everything (at least partially) out-of-pocket, including things like routine visits and prescription meds that you may not have been used to paying for.
» High-deductible health insurance means you have to have money on hand to cover the whole amount if needed.
» Best suited for young and healthy people, if you usually max out your benefits a lower deductible is probably best for you.
» You are limited to certain HSA providers.
» The account and maintenance fees can be high, some don’t let you invest in stocks.
» Watch out for exclusions of pre-existing conditions in the policy.
» Since these have only been around since 2004, there isn’t quite as much competition as would be ideal for a consumer.
How much can I put in?
You can contribute up to the amount of the deductible to an HSA, but no more than $2,600 for individuals; $5,150 for families. And you can add an extra $500 if you were born before 1950 to help with health care costs in retirement.
The biggest health insurance comparison site is eHealthInsurance.com.
By Jonathan Ping | Insurance | 10/10/05, 9:28pm