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Monday, January 30, 2017

HSA Tax FormsOn December 9th, 2016 the IRS announced that tax season will begin January 23rd, 2017. With that day fast approaching, we have recently updated our website with all the new health savings account (HSA) tax forms and publications you will need to file your 2016 tax return. Links and a quick explanation of each is listed below:
 

IRS Form 8889

The IRS Form 8889 will need to be filled out by everyone filing an income tax return with a health savings account. It is to report all contributions for the year into your HSA, help you figure out your HSA deduction, and to report the distributions from your HSA.
 

IRS Form 8889 Instructions

The IRS Form 8889 Instructions is a basic guideline with the rules and tips on how to fill out the 8889 Form.
 

IRS Publication 502

The IRS Publication 502 lists all eligible medical expenses for your HSA, as a point of reference.  If necessary, it is also designed to walk you through your itemized deductions for these expenses that you will claim on Schedule A in your 1040 Form.
 

IRS Publication 969

The IRS Publication 969 is for HSAs and other tax-favored health plans, such as MSAs, FSAs and HRAs. It quickly explains each type of account and how the contributions and deductions work for each.
 

Additional Website & Enrollment Form Updates

Our website has also been updated with the new enrollment packets and informational flyers for your 2017 contribution figures. This includes information on how to open an HSA and the logistics, as well as a checklist, information on eligibility & contributions, fees and the application to apply for an HSA.

All of the documents listed above (and more) can be found at the following link:

http://www.americanhealthvalue.com/health_savings_accounts/hsa_forms/

If you are also interested in more IRS information on HSAs you can visit the page below which has links to IRS Notices, Codes, Rulings, and Publications.

http://www.americanhealthvalue.com/health_savings_accounts/hsa_legislation/

The deadline this year to file your taxes is April 18th, 2017, due to April 15th falling on a Saturday and Emancipation Day in D.C. falling on Monday,  April 17th. If you have any questions about filing your 2016 taxes and/or your 2017 HSA contributions don’t hesitate to contact our office and we’re happy to help!

Thanks for reading, and here’s to a safe, healthy and happy 2017!

Posted by HSA Admin at 1/30/2017 12:10:00 PM
Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Here at American Health Value we have built a reputation as national experts on HSAs.  We were pleased when Health eDeals reached out to our CEO, Michael Berry, recently to talk about HSAs and tap into our knowledge base.  They knew with our 20+ years of MSA/HSA expertise that we would be able to provide answers for all the health savings account questions coming in from their reader base.

Here’s the Q and A Michael recently had with IHC Health eDeals.  Check it out and let us know what you think!

http://www.healthedeals.com/articles/frequently-asked-questions-about-health-savings-accounts


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Posted by HSA Admin at 9/16/2015 3:26:00 PM
Monday, August 24, 2015

Mid year is a great time to look at the differences between a medical FSA and a health savings account.

An FSA Perspective:

Medical FSA funding is limited to $2,550 in 2015.  You decide how much, up to that limit, you want to fund at the beginning of the FSA plan year.  This is based on expenses you think you may have during the year.  The funds are pulled from your payroll by your employer and put into the FSA. 

It works great if you have routine expenses.  For example, you could set aside money for your son’s orthodontist bill, chiropractic visits to unkink your back, and those yearly visits to the dermatologist for a skin scan.

By mid year, your expenses should be matching your FSA payroll funding.  If they don’t and you end up with too much money in your account, you could lose those funds.  It happens more than you would think, excess money in your FSA.  Extra money is usually not a problem for most people, unless it has a chance of “disappearing” into thin air.  If you do not use the funds in your FSA by year end, you could lose it unless your employer allows for a grace period to use up the funds or they allow a $500 carryover into the next plan year.  If not, the money goes back to the employer!

An HSA Perspective:

With the HSA, you can fund the account and spend it the way you need to.  What ever is left in your account on December 31st, simply rolls over to the next year on January 1, building a balance for the future.  There are no restrictions on when it has to be used and no limit on how much can be left in the account.  How much can you contribute to your HSA in 2015?

  • Single Contribution Amount $3350 (+$1000 catch up for those 55 and older)
  • Family Contribution Amount $6650 (+$1000 catch up for those 55 and older)

So relax, enjoy the rest of your summer.  Your HSA will be there when you need it.  No worries that you will be losing valuable healthcare dollars.  You and your HSA can roll on together for years.


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Posted by HSA Admin at 8/24/2015 9:13:00 AM
Monday, July 20, 2015

Are you feeling a little lost in the sea of options for healthcare policies?  Let us help you navigate the waters to find out if a health savings account (HSA) is the right choice.

Having an HSA helps you save money for all your health care needs.

Jenny and Rob, a young couple just starting out, have looked around at all sorts of policies.  They are newly wed, and just bought their first home.  Jenny runs her own home internet business and Rob works for an engineering firm that offers a PPO and an HSA option.  His employer will fund a portion of the HSA yearly.  Rob can fund the balance up to the annual HSA contribution limit set by the IRS.  They can save money and work to keep their healthcare costs down.  They own the money in the account, and if they relocate to another job, city, or state, the funds go with them.

They found that with the HSA, the plan costs less but has a higher deductible.  Their doctor visits per year are few.  It makes sense to consider a high deductible plan.  And the best part?  They can have an HSA and fund it each year, giving them a medical security blanket and tax benefit.  It’s the best of both worlds!

 What’s the best buy for me?

Employer paid, low deductible plans have been the standard in America for decades.  Medical/Health Savings Accounts coupled with a high deductible insurance policy were ground breaking when introduced in the 90's.  For the first time in years, consumer driven healthcare came to the forefront of thought.    We could make informed healthcare choices, save money on healthcare premiums and get a tax benefit, all at once.

When considering signing up for an HDHP look at how you participate in the medical system.  This will help you determine how to fund your HSA.  When you visit the doctor, you pay for services from your HSA until your insurance deductible is met.  If you can pay in full in at time of service, the doctor may be willing to discount costs.

Being smart and savvy…

Having a say in how your healthcare dollars are spent is a great feeling.  Having your HSA funded and there for you when you need it, makes you one smart consumer!

Blog Written By: Robin Vankleek


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Posted by HSA Admin at 7/20/2015 3:13:00 PM
Thursday, May 07, 2015

Image courtesty of Visual.ly

Here’s good news, sitting is the new smoking!

You’ve heard these before; 50 is the new 30, Arugula is the new Kale, Skinny jeans are the new little black dress.  But information like we found in this article from the Huffington Post is a little bit scary and not the least bit fun (like 50 being the new 30) ….”Sitting is the New Smoking

Articles like this are enough to strike fear in the hearts of millions of office workers who do their work at a desk.  Our little cubes are often our world.  We spend 8 hours a day at our desk.  Now we are finding out sitting is taking years off our lives.

Being sedentary can lead to all sorts of physical aliments.  Time spent sitting at a desk can increase your risk of having heart disease, colon cancer, muscle degeneration, foggy brain, poor circulation and soft bones.

So what do we do?  Most of us can’t or won’t give up our desks.  We have jobs we love, jobs we need and not every company can retrofit an office.  Here are a few ideas to help get you on your feet more often throughout the day.

Fitness trackers:

They can be as simple as a clip-on pedometer to count steps, to a stylish wrist band that logs every move you make, and how you sleep.

Fitbit, Misfit, Garmin, and jawbone are just a few of the trackers you can get.

I wore a device for a year and learned a lot about my “movement”.  I found that I was much more likely to take some extra steps if I checked in on my device to see where I was at for the day. The tracker I wore also told me my sleep patterns.  Along with not getting enough exercise, poor sleep also adds to the problem.  I found that there were quite a few nights that I woke up and didn’t settle back down into a good deep sleep.

No wonder I am tired a lot of the time!  My fitness tracker helped me understand my sleep patterns and I ended up getting better sleep in the long run.

Stand up Desks: 

Just turn on any morning show, and there seems to be another informative segment about standing while we work.  Personally, I would love to have a standing desk, but it is not for everyone!  As you can see in the article below, there are all sorts of reasons to and not to have a standing desk.  Matt from The desk jockey also makes some very good points to have a standing desk.  He makes a great pitch for the ultimate desk, the Sit/Stand desk.  (--I want one!--)

Speaking from personal experience, I can tell you how sitting has influenced how I do things.  When I get up to go to the copier, I try to make it count in terms of “movement”.  I get up and out of my chair as often as possible.  Instead of bending over to put a file in the bottom drawer, I squat down and then come back up to standing.  (that counts as exercise, right?!) I run mail out to the mailbox, rather than put it in the tray at the front desk.  I reach further for the copy paper.  I take every opportunity to stretch.  Whether it’s at my desk, or waiting at the copier, I make sure I try and ease the kinks out of my muscles.  And most of all, I keep moving, moving, moving.  Atrophy is the enemy!

I find it’s the same with my eyes.  The older I get, the more strain I put on my vision.  Eight hours a day, using a computer has enabled me to become a connoisseur of hip reading glasses.  (A girl has to look good!)   Add a smart phone to the mix and I am in a blur, literally.  Thank goodness my smart phone has an app that reminds me to look up and away from my computer every 20 minutes.

Who knew an office job could be so dangerous!

I’m one of the lucky ones.  My cubicle is my home away from home.  I have a boss that lets me have a workspace that inspires me.  I have photos, music and lots of color to take me through each day.  Now if I can just talk him into that Sit/Stand desk, it might be a perfect world!

Blog Written By: Robin Vankleek


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Posted by HSA Admin at 5/7/2015 11:07:00 AM
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