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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

American Health Value Staff Spotlight SeriesStaff Spotlight Series: Every now and then we thought we’d spice up our typical posts on HSAs, health insurance & wellness to offer up a better opportunity for all of you out there to get to know all of us here at American Health Value on a more personal level. To that end, we’re creating a series of blog posts called our “Staff Spotlight Series”.

In this first installment, our Customer Service Manager Robin wanted to write a piece about how eating healthy food every once in a while isn’t only good for you, it can be both practical and economical as well. Check it out below!

 Save the Meat

During World War I, the US Food Administration (USFA) urged families to reduce consumption of key staples to help the war effort. Conserving food would support U.S. troops as well as feed populations in Europe where food production and distribution had been disrupted by war.  This time around, Meatless Mondays is brought back as a reminder that meat production can be expensive and sometimes hard on the environment, and unfortunately not always the healthiest choice.   Replace one meal a week with a vegetarian meal.  Save money and reduce your cholesterol!

This week my Vegetarian Times Magazine came in the mail.  It had an article about a week's worth of meals that you can put together, refrigerate or freeze, and be ready for dinner each night without a hassle.  I cook a lot, so I don’t find dinner to be a chore.  I was intrigued however, by the beautiful recipes I saw.   It motivated me to try my meatless week of dinners.

Zucchini Corn Cannelloni
Monday night I made Zucchini Corn Cannelloni.  It was hearty, gooey, and yummy.  No one in my house complained that it was missing meat!  Paired with a spinach salad, it did the job of filling empty bellies.


Broiled French Onion Soup
Tuesday night I made Broiled French Onion Soup with homemade whole wheat garlic scallion bread.  I worried that soup would not make a meal, so I added a side of kale salad with mandarins, pepitos (roasted pumpkin seeds) with a chili lime vinaigrette.

Veggie Burger

Wednesday we ate pinto bean, mushroom, walnut veggie burgers.  This recipe is a hybrid of many veggie burgers that I have been trying.  I love pinto beans, so they became the basis of the burger.  It is so easy to change up the ingredients in a Veggie Burger, that you can add most anything you want.   I used bread crumbs and a little grape seed oil to bind it together.  I figure, as long as it doesn’t fall apart when you are pan frying it, it’s all good!   I added an Israeli couscous salad on the side.  To the couscous, I added raisins, grape tomatoes, sugar peas, pepitos, and onion.  I finished with an apple cider/grape seed oil/ brown sugar vinaigrette.  Once again, no one complained because there was no meat!

Tofu NoodlesThursday night, I admit I was starting to feel a little bit daunted by the fact that I needed to come up with another vegetarian dish.  As I peered into the refrigerator, checking out my options, I saw that I had bought smoked tofu.   I took the tofu, (my first time trying it, I will definitely use it again!) and cut it into small cubes.  I had some rice noodles in my pantry.  I added sautéed veggies that were in the fridge, with the tofu and topped it all with a lime, brown sugar, ponzu (citrus soy sauce) dressing.

Veggie Chili
I rounded off the week on Friday by making
Veggie Chili.  How hard is it?  Just make chili and don’t add the hamburger or chicken.  Make sure you make some corn bread to keep everyone happy!


My week of meatless meals turned out to be easy and delicious, and economical!

For the record, I am not vegetarian or vegan.  I don’t endorse any style of eating, except that of using and eating quality, healthy food.  Life is too short to eat bad food!

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Posted by HSA Admin at 3/26/2013 4:50:00 PM
Thursday, March 21, 2013

The IRS requires all health savings account holders to file IRS Form 8889 with their tax return.  In addition, their HSA administrator is required to send all account holders forms 1099-SA and 5498-SA, though these forms don’t need to be submitted with your taxes…so what are they for?

HSA Tax Help

It’s safe to say that sometimes all these forms can be a little confusing, and the wording can quickly get rather convoluted.  Just the thought of filing your taxes in the first place can leave you feeling overwhelmed, especially with additional provisions like health savings accounts that require some extra paperwork.  With all of that in mind, we would like to help you out by breaking down or ‘decoding’ a couple of these forms, the 1099-SA and the 5498-SA as pictured below.

IRS Form 1099-SA IRS Form 5498-SA


Distributions – IRS Form 1099-SA
The 1099-SA reports all withdrawals (distributions) from your HSA during the tax year indicated on the form.  This form is mailed to you and filed with the IRS in January of each year.  It does not need to be sent to the IRS with your taxes, but it does need to be kept with your tax records. 
Box 1:  Total money withdrawn from your account.  This money may have been payable to a medical provider or to you.
IRS Form 1099-SA Box 1
Box 2:  Interest earned on any deposit that was made in excess of what the IRS allows and was withdrawn before the due date of your income tax return. 
IRS Form 1099-SA Box 2
Box 3:  Identifies the type of withdrawals you made during the year. 

                                1 – Normal distribution
                                2 – Excess contributions that were withdrawn
                                3 – Disability
                                4 – Death distribution to estate
                                5 – Prohibited transactions
                                6 – Death distribution after year of death to someone other than spouse or estate
You will receive a separate 1099-SA for each distribution code that applies to you.
IRS Form 1099-SA Box 3
Box 4:  Fair market value of account at time of account holder’s death.
IRS Form 1099-SA Box 4
Contributions – IRS Form 5498-SA
The 5498-SA reports all contributions made to your HSA during the tax year indicated on the form, as well as contributions made from January 1st - April 15th of the current calendar year that were applied to the tax year indicated on the form.  This form is mailed to you and filed with the IRS in May of each year. It does not need to be sent to the IRS with your taxes, but it does need to be kept with your tax records.
Box 1:  If you have an MSA, this box shows the total deposit made into the MSA for the tax year indicated on the form (includes deposits made between January 1st - April 15th of the current calendar year).
IRS Form 5498-SA Box 1
Box 2:  Total Contributions made to your HSA during the tax year indicated on the form.  This will also include any contributions made during that tax year for any prior tax year, and any contributions made through an IRA.
IRS Form 5498-SA Box 2
Box 3:  Contributions made from January 1st - April 15th of the current calendar year that were applied to the tax year indicated on the form.
IRS Form 5498-SA Box 3
Box 4:  Deposits made into your account as a result of a rollover of funds from an MSA or an HSA.  These amounts are not included in any of the first three boxes.
IRS Form 5498-SA Box 4
Box 5:  Fair market value of your HSA or MSA on December 31st of the tax year indicated on the form. 
IRS Form 5498-SA Box 5
1099-SA’s are issued in January summarizing the prior years HSA withdrawals (qualified or not) and 5498-SA’s are issued in May of each year summarizing total HSA deposits for the prior year.  You have until April 15th or before you file your taxes, which ever comes first, to contribute to an HSA for the prior year.
HSA Tax Help
Hopefully this article helped to clear up some of the confusion with these two forms!  If you’re still feeling a little puzzled or have a question about something we didn’t address, please feel free to contact us and ask!  We’d love to help.  You can visit our website at, or give us call at 800-914-3248.  We look forward to hearing from you.

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Posted by HSA Admin at 3/21/2013 9:06:00 PM
Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Can I pay insurance premiums with my HSA?One of the many benefits to opening a health savings account is the safety net of having designated monies set aside for health related expenses. Because of the tax-deferred nature of an HSA, there is a personal responsibility in using the account correctly. By this I mean, using the funds only for eligible HSA expenses. But how do you know if you are using your funds in compliance with the IRS?

There is some IRS guidance available. The IRS Publication 502 is used for preparing tax returns and has a long list of what can be considered a write-off. This publication “explains the itemized deductions for medical and dental expenses that you can claim on Schedule A (Form 1040). “ However, the mistake many make is that this IRS Publication is not specific to HSAs. One of the best resources is a knowledgeable HSA administrator, which is a role that American Health Value plays for many nationwide.

The question of “Can I pay my insurance premiums with my HSA?" comes up quite frequently. The IRS Publication 502 says, “You can include in medical expenses insurance premiums you pay for policies that cover medical care.”  One would naturally take that to mean HSA dollars can be used to pay the medical premium.  However, that is true in only a few cases:

  • A portion of age-based  long-term care premiums
  • COBRA premiums
    • This includes a spouse or dependent
  • Health care coverage while receiving unemployment compensation under federal or state law
    • This includes a spouse or dependent
  • Medicare and “other health care coverage” if you are 65 or older
    • Supplemental policies are not included 
    • If the account holder is not 65 or older, Medicare premiums of spouse or dependent are not eligible expenses.
    • The “other health care coverage” would be the employee share of employer-sponsored health insurance, including retiree health insurance

So, if you are trying to decide if you can use your HSA funds to pay for insurance premiums, you now have an educated answer on which to base your decision and you can spend your valuable time doing something that makes you smile!

What makes you smile?


IRS Publication 502 (Page 2)
IRS Publication 969 (Pages 8 & 9)
IRS Notice 2004-02 (Pages 9 Q & A 27)

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Posted by HSA Admin at 3/13/2013 6:21:00 PM
Tuesday, March 5, 2013

HSA rollover to 401kIn the last few months we've received several inquiries about the legality of rolling a health savings account into a 401(k). This is something you could theoretically do, although there really isn't much of a purpose to doing so, and calling it a "rollover" is a bit of a stretch. It's more like an unqualified distribution than anything else. Depending on your age, you'll be subjected to a 20% penalty and the money would be considered taxable income for the year in which you made the "rollover". There are a few “ins and outs” to some of the different situations with this one and it can be a little tricky, so we wanted to address the issue in writing to help anyone else who may be looking for any information on this topic.

First things first, we combed through our collection of HSA legislation to see if we could find anything that would either confirm or deny that you could roll HSA funds to a 401(k). Unfortunately there is nothing that specifically mentions the 401(k) in either a positive or negative aspect. In order to get an official definitive answer we went ahead and contacted the US Treasury Department. We explained the situation and told them we wanted to be sure there was no specific provision allowing a penalty-free transfer or rollover from a health savings account to a 401(k), similar to the provision that allows a one-time transfer from your IRA to your HSA

HSA Rollover Rules There isn’t one. They informed us that they simply don’t create a running list of things you can’t do or things that aren’t allowed, as it’s much easier to create and manage a list of things you can do (as that’s a much shorter list). Rolling your HSA funds at any time into a 401(k) is not on the list of things you can do. Furthermore, the only time you can roll your HSA funds anywhere is to another HSA.

That is pretty cut and dry, but some people may still suggest you can move money from your HSA to a 401(k), which is true. However, the terminology is where some people may be getting a little lost or confused with this. If you really wanted to, you could “roll” your HSA to a 401(k), but there really isn’t any benefit to doing it. As we stated earlier, prior to age 65 this “rollover” is really nothing more than an unqualified distribution from your health savings account.   It’s unqualified because it isn’t sheltered by a rollover provision, and it isn’t a qualified HSA medical expense. Prior to age 65, you’ll pay a 20% penalty on the funds transferred, and that money will also be considered taxable income in the year you made the transfer. 
After age 65, you won’t pay the 20% penalty (as the penalty for non-qualified HSA distributions disappears at age 65), but the money will still be considered taxable income. Furthermore, because the distributions out of a 401(k) are also taxed, you’re actually doing yourself a disservice by transferring out of the HSA into a 401(k) for a couple reasons. First, you’re effectively “double-taxing” yourself. The money’s tax-free going into both accounts, but is also taxed coming out of both. You’ll be taxed on the HSA distribution, and then again on the 401(k) distribution, whenever that occurs. Second, you can still use your HSA funds tax-free for any qualified medical expenses, including Medicare premiums. You’d be much further ahead to leave the money in the HSA and spend it on those qualified purchases, effectively dodging the taxes being charged on those funds at all, let alone twice.
So once and for all, can you roll your HSA into a 401(k)? Technically, no. You can’t roll an HSA anywhere, except into another HSA. You can move money from an HSA to a 401(k), but you’re going to incur a potential litany of taxes and fees doing it, while simultaneously losing the luxury of paying for any qualified medical expenses tax-free with the HSA funds.

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Posted by HSA Admin at 3/5/2013 4:40:00 PM
Friday, February 15, 2013

We're excited to announce we've recently made a couple big updates to our website!  Both the "Pharmacy Locator Tool" and the "Prescription Pricing Tool" have received an upgrade, and they're now live and fully functional on!

Pharmacy Locator Tool:
The Pharmacy Locator Tool allows you to type in your city/state or zip code, select a search radius & view all the pharmacies in your area that accept our Free Pharmacy Discount Card.  Previously, we just listed those pharmacies in a text format and provided a phone number you could call to contact them.  With today's update, we've integrated Google Maps!
Google Maps Integration with Pharmacy Discount Program
You can now actually see all the available pharmacies in your area, you can pan/zoom around, click to view phone numbers & addresses, & plug the information into your cell phone or GPS device for easy navigation!  Big upgrade!
Prescription Pricing Tool:
The Prescription Pricing Tool allows you to type in a drug of your choice, the daily dosage & the number of days you'll be taking the prescription.  You'll then be shown the real-time cost of the drug at your local participating pharmacy, the cost of its generic version (if available) and the cost for those drugs using a mail order service.
Pharmacy Discount Program
This feature finally gives you the option to do some price shopping and comparisons on your prescriptions from the comfort of your own home.  What's even more impressive, is that most of the people that use this Free Pharmacy Discount Card typically see significant savings on their prescriptions; in some cases as much as 65%!

Go type in your prescriptions & see how much you could be saving at a local participating pharmacy!

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Posted by HSA Admin at 2/15/2013 5:12:00 PM
Thursday, January 17, 2013

Free Lab Testing Discount Card

At American Health Value, we know that having blood work done is nothing short of exhausting.  It's a stressful experience on numerous physical and emotional levels, and it's usually not covered by your insurance plan making it a strain on the wallet on top of everything else.

In order to help deal with the financial burden, we are offering a free lab & blood work discount card people can print from our website that provides lab and blood work discounts from 40-70%!
Getting your lab work done couldn't be easier:
  • Locate a Lab Center:  Our easy-to-use search will help you locate a participating lab near you.  To find a lab, visit our website at or simply call us at 800-914-3248 and we would be more than happy to locate a lab near you.
  • Order Your Test:  Choose your test from the categories listed on our secure website at or call 800-914-3248 to place your order with our staff.
  • Visit the Lab Center:  Take the necessary paperwork (requisition) with you & get your tests completed.  For online orders, your requisition will be available to print immediately after you place your order.  For over-the-phone orders, we will walk you through the process to receive the paperwork you need.
  • Receive Your Results:  You will personally be contacted when your results are ready, typically within 48 hours (some tests will vary).
American Health Value's lab & blood work discount program takes all the unnecessary steps out of the antiquated lab work process and streamlines everything to help save you time, money & headache.  There are no co-pays, doctor visits, medical exams, or pre-approvals needed.  Just visit the website, order your test & go have your testing done.
If you have any questions, or would like additional information please visit our website or call us a 800-914-3248 and we would be happy to assist you further.

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Posted by HSA Admin at 1/17/2013 7:45:00 PM
Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Dental Pain, Dental Discount Card

Going to the dentist can be painful, both in the mouth and the pocketbook.  As everybody is aware, dental services are never covered under your health insurance policy...which means you typically can choose 1 of 2 options:

Buy More Insurance!
  • More specifically, dental insurance.  This is a supplemental policy with additional monthly premiums you have to pay, to then get the "luxury" of paying less (in the form of a percentage discount) overall at the dental office when you go.
I love insurance!


Bite the Bullet!
  • Head into the dental office and pay the retail value of the procedure, which is always considerably higher than the amount quoted to someone with dental insurance.  Typically, you can get a small "no insurance" discount off the retail cost if you ask for it, so be sure to do so if you go this route.
Bite the Bullet


As far as we're concerned, these aren't options...which is exactly why we went out and did something about it.  Welcome to Option Number 3:  American Health Value's Free Healthcare Discount Program.

This is a free program that gets you huge discounts on Pharmacy, Dental, Vision, Hearing & Medical Lab Testing.  There is no catch, there are no fees, no premiums or start up costs, and the free healthcare discount card is printable directly from our website for immediate use.
Click to learn more about all the different programs available with the Free Healthcare Discount Card.
Free Healthcare Discount Card
However, in this post we're talking about the cost of dental back to how you can save some money at the dentist:
  • Free Dental Discount Card:
    • Print the free card, locate a participating dentist by zip code, & save up to 50% off dental services.  It's that simple.
We were curious as to exactly how much each scenario would cost, and more specifically, how much money our free dental discount card would save somebody at the dentist - so we conducted a little experiment.
We found a local dental office that accepted dental insurance, walk-ins with no insurance, and our free discount card.  We simply called them up and asked for price quotes on the exact same procedure, from the same dentist, for each of the three payment options.  Here's what we found:


The Cost of a Crown

Looks like our free dental discount card stacked up pretty well to say the least...

Let's take a look at some additional common dental procedures and the free dental discount card's average savings:
Dental Discount Savings
As you can see, this free card packs a pretty serious punch.  If you don't have dental insurance, this card will significantly help to alleviate some of the burden of dental costs for anyone that uses it.
Share on Social Media
 Head out to our website to print the card or locate a participating dentist in your area, and feel free to share this card with anyone who can use it.  Click the social media buttons below to share/forward the link to get it in the hands of employees, friends, family, whoever you think could benefit.
Please know we're always here to help, so if you have any questions don't hesitate to visit our website or give us a call.  We know everyone is watching their expenses, and hopefully this card is able to provide you some significant health care savings in these unpredictable times.

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Posted by HSA Admin at 11/13/2012 7:39:00 PM
Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Live to Bfit 5k Run/Walk

Once again members of the American Health Value staff participated in the Live to Bfit 5k Run/Walk sponsored by the Idaho Business League.  This 5k benefited Camp River Run and was held in conjunction with the 20th annual Health, Beauty and Fitness Fair.

AHV Staff at the Live to Bfit 5k

This year's event was held last weekend on Saturday, October 6th.  It was a beautiful Autumn day made all the more exciting by the repeated sighting of a young cougar along the Greenbelt (race route) down by the Boise River.  We're happy to report that nobody was eaten, and fun was had by all!

Camp River Run

About Camp River Run:  Inspired by nature and flowing with optimism, Camp River Run offers children who battle life-threatening or disabling medical conditions an outdoor camp experience to rejuvenate their youth and strengthen their spirits!  To donate, or to learn more about Camp River Run visit their website:

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Posted by HSA Admin at 10/16/2012 5:50:00 PM
Friday, September 14, 2012

American Health Value at IHC Forum West 2012

Last week we had the opportunity to head down to Las Vegas, NV for the annual IHC Forum West Conference!  This particular conference is 100% dedicated to consumer-driven healthcare, innovative health and benefits management, and tips and strategies for navigating today’s uncertain and ever-changing healthcare landscape.
We had the chance to sit down with so many amazing people from companies large and small, from all across the nation.  Everyone had the same goals in mind: advance consumer-driven healthcare regardless of the political climate, and help to educate and implement it into the nation’s work force.  

Attendees at IHCForum West ranged all over the board from national banks to massive employers like Target, to national hospitals, insurance carriers, and tech startups.  We wanted to highlight one in particular, as an example of the forward-thinking individuals and companies we got the chance to network with during the event.  Below is our National Marketing Director Rebecca Messreni with a man by the name of Aaron Burke, who founded OVO Health.

Rebecca with OVO Health at IHC Forum West 2012

OVO Health is a tech startup that will shortly be launching in several major cities across the country.  As they state on their website, “Why pay $50,000 for a knee replacement when the same quality of care costs $15,000 down the street?”  OVO Health lets you type in your zip, pick your procedure, and see all the local (registered) doctors and their pricing.  This is a brilliant way to create an open free-market system with cost transparency for the patients, while simultaneously creating a great marketing and branding opportunity for the local doctors’ offices to earn new (and recurring) business.

OVO Health


Brilliant idea, especially when it’s applied with consumer-driven health care & health savings accounts.  People are spending their own money, and they want to shop around and be better consumers.  This kind of thinking coupled with this kind of technology allows them to do just that, and very effectively!

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Posted by HSA Admin at 9/14/2012 7:10:00 PM
Thursday, June 21, 2012

Eye Chart

 Avoiding the eye doctor because it's too expensive?  Believe me, you're not alone.  The exam often runs a couple hundred bucks, not to mention the glasses and/or contacts you're going to need to buy.  "Who has the money to pay for this stuff?"  "It can wait awhile; my vision isn't getting any worse..."

 If this sounds like you, then we've got some great news.  Vision care is part of our Free Healthcare Discount Program, and printing off our discount card can save you as much as 50% off the cost of exams, glasses, contacts, & even surgical procedures like LASIK!  You can get these discounts at over 11,000 national & regional eye care centers, like:
  • Pearle Vision
  • LensCrafters
  • Eye Masters
  • JC Penny Optical
  • Sears Optical
Funny Kid with Glasses
Don't see one near you?  Locate a participating vision provider in your area!
Here's a graphic that represents some examples of the discounts you can expect to receive on eyeglasses:
Vision Discount Savings Chart
Head out to the Vision Discount page for more information, or to locate a participating vision provider in your area.  Or check out the Free Healthcare Discount Program Overview for more information on other free programs like Pharmacy, Dental, & Hearing.
American Health Value now makes it easier and more affordable than ever to retire those old frames and give both your vision & your look an upgrade with our Free Vision Discount Program!  Print your free card & see how much you can save!

Vision Discount Program Upgrade

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Posted by HSA Admin at 6/21/2012 7:31:00 PM
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