Agent Login  |  HSA Member Login
Your Health Savings Account Experts
Recent Blog Entries
Main
Entries 1-10 of 49
1 2 3 4 5 | Next
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.


Subscribe to our blog!
Like what you see?  Subscribe to our blog via email to get the latest updates on HSAs, health insurance, wellness and company news!

Posted by HSA Admin at 8/24/2015 4:13:00 PM
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


Subscribe to our blog!
Like what you see?  Subscribe to our blog via email to get the latest updates on HSAs, health insurance, wellness and company news!

Posted by HSA Admin at 7/20/2015 10:13:00 PM
Thursday, May 7, 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


Subscribe to our blog!
Like what you see?  Subscribe to our blog via email to get the latest updates on HSAs, health insurance, wellness and company news!

Posted by HSA Admin at 5/7/2015 6:07:00 PM
Thursday, April 16, 2015

A little catch-up about the HSA “catch-up”:

One of the perks of being a wise and mature person of 55 is the HSA catch-up.  Each year the IRS allows you to “catch up” on funding your HSA.

If you are the primary on the HSA and are 55+, you can make the extra funding.

  • If you have family coverage, you can fund the contribution limit of $6,550 (2015) and throw in $1,000 to bring the total to $7,650
  • It’s the same if you have single coverage.  $3,350 + $1,000 = $4,350 into your HSA.

But wait! What if my spouse is also 55+?

IRS regulations specify, only the primary on the HSA can make the catch-up contribution.  That’s because the tax reporting is done under that person’s social security number.

That being said, there’s always a way to squeeze a few extra dollars into your HSA.  Let’s look at an example:

Steve and Kate have a high deductible family plan.  Every year they contribute the maximum to their HSA.  The money is always there to cover those medical expenses that arise in a family of four.  Steve turned 55 in 2013.  Kate turns 55 in November, this year.

The perk to getting older for Steve is he can fund the $1,000 catch-up for 2015.

The perk to getting older for Kate is she can now open an HSA to fund her own $1,000 catch-up.

The family contribution amount of $6,650 can be divided between the two accounts in whatever fashion they choose.

Not a bad idea, considering their son Baird is starting lacrosse this year.  They can use the extra funds and tax savings.

Remember, we are your HSA specialists.  If you have a question contact us, we have the answer (If we don’t, we’ll find it)!

Blog Written By: Robin Vankleek


Subscribe to our blog!
Like what you see?  Subscribe to our blog via email to get the latest updates on HSAs, health insurance, wellness and company news!

Posted by HSA Admin at 4/16/2015 9:52:00 PM
Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Benjamin Franklin was right on the money when he said, “In this world, nothing can be certain, except Death and Taxes”.  200+ years have passed and nothing has changed.

It’s hard to believe that another April 15th is upon us.  It seems like just last week it was New Year’s Day.  And now, just like that, it’s tax time…

But, as you know, we cover this every year… the golden tax rule of HSA funding is…..

“….You have until April 15th, or when you file your taxes, whichever comes first, to fund your HSA for the prior year”.

2014 HSA Contribution Limits:

  • Single Insurance Coverage:  $3,300
  • Family Insurance Coverage:  $6,550
  • Add in an additional $1,000 catch-up if the account holder is 55 or older.

Whew, that being said, it is time to get on it!  If you are going to fund for 2014, you need to get that money into your account soon!

The best way to fund is to send a check to our office, clearly defining the year you want the money applied.  Use our deposit slip and remember, the envelope needs to be postmarked April 15th, and no later.  So get to the post office early!

You can also go to our website and click on Fund My Account.  This will take you to our secure funding webpage.  Once again, be sure to let us know what year you are funding.

If you don’t want to use our website, and long for that human touch, pick up the phone and give us a call at 1-800-914-3248.  One of our helpful HSA specialists will take your information and process your credit card over the phone.  Then you can get your tax filing taken care of.

It’s easy as apple pie!

Blog Written By: Robin Vankleek


Subscribe to our blog!
Like what you see?  Subscribe to our blog via email to get the latest updates on HSAs, health insurance, wellness and company news!

Posted by HSA Admin at 4/1/2015 10:01:00 PM
Monday, December 22, 2014

Twas the week before New Years
and all through the land
we were bundled up dreaming
of our toes in warm sand…

The tax files were filed,
piled high on our desk,
in hopes that when tax time arrived
we’d  be up to the test.

The tax deduction papers were filed with great care,
showing receipts to charity, medical…
and lastly… home repair.

While on the horizon tax time was looming…

Father snoozed comfortably in his big chair,
with visions of tax breaks…
that all seemed so fair.

As he snored he dreamed of his list of deductions,
and checked off each one…
with great care and comfort.

First were the kids,
Three, Two and One…
then Goodwill, the mission, the food bank
just to name some.

His papers and files,
all neat and clean,
Would make the taxman happy
and not at all mean.

Deductions, deductions
danced about in his mind
there were so many of them,
but did he leave one behind?

His eyes, they flew open!
He smiled a big smile….
there was one last deduction,
it had been there all the while.

Father’s health savings account had fattened each year,
and gave him that tax break he held so dear.
He got his deduction and saved on his taxes.
He got piece of mind and great satisfaction.

Raising Three, Two, and One could be quite a fright,
kids will be kids and oh what a sight!
Accidents, colds and flu, they all happen,
Paying from his HSA gave him great satisfaction.

Like a security blanket keeping them all safe and warm
the HSA dollars kept them safe from the storm.
All of their medical bills will be paid tax-free
For Father, Mother and Kids One, Two and Three.

Blog Written By: Robin Vankleek

Images Courtesy of: Robin Vankleek


Subscribe to our blog!
Like what you see?  Subscribe to our blog via email to get the latest updates on HSAs, health insurance, wellness and company news!

Posted by HSA Admin at 12/22/2014 6:03:00 PM
Monday, October 6, 2014

So here it is, it’s October!  Can you believe it?  Where did the year go?  There are so many things that come at you this time of year, back to school, changing weather, the holidays…. You find yourself thinking, if there is one more thing for me to remember, I just may fall over!

But wait, there’s one more thing…

Have you funded your HSA?  Relax, take a breath and be calm.  You still have time.

The great thing about an HSA is how funding it is entirely up to you.  You can fund it fully at the beginning of the year.  You can break the funding into months.  You can fund it quarterly.  It’s up to you.

There are those that fully fund at the beginning of the year.  And those who break it into monthly payments or fund quarterly.  Funding is always your choice.

We use a simple formula for monthly funding.

You take the HSA annual maximum allowed ($3,300) and divide by 12 to get the monthly contribution amount ($275).  You then multiply that by the numbers of months you want to fund for.  If you are funding monthly, at October your funding would total $2,750 into your HSA.

We use the same formula for family coverage.  $6,550 divided by 12 = $545.83 per month .

And don’t forget, if you are 55 or older, you can also make the catch up contribution of $1,000.

With an HSA, you have until April 15 of the following year, or when you do your taxes, whichever comes first, to fund your HSA.  That means, if you have been focusing on all the other stuff of life, kids-work-school-life changes big and small, you haven’t missed your opportunity to fluff up your HSA blanket.

*And don’t forget, make sure you send your contributions directly to American Health Value.  As your administrator, we monitor all your contributions so that you don’t over contribute.  We act as your advocate if you ever need any assistance with issues with your account.  We are here to give you the information you need to use your account correctly, and to give you peace of mind.  It’s one less thing to think about.

So go ahead, put the lawn mower to bed, put the pumpkins on the porch and relax, you still have time to fund your HSA!

Blog Written By: Robin Vankleek

Images Courtesy of: Robin Vankleek


Subscribe to our blog!
Like what you see?  Subscribe to our blog via email to get the latest updates on HSAs, health insurance, wellness and company news!

Posted by HSA Admin at 10/6/2014 5:00:00 PM
Thursday, August 7, 2014

Admit it, you weren’t thinking about a quick trip to the ‘doc in the box’ when you were out water skiing last weekend.

The sun was hot, the water was inviting, you were looking cool, and then ….splat!  You hit that wake from a passing boat.

At first, the only thing that hurt was your pride and you quickly told everyone you were just fine.  However; by the next day, you were hobbling around like Granddad does and decided you had better get checked out.

It’s amazing how quick an accident can happen and how costly it can be.  That trip to the doctor’s office would have set you back some serious cash, but you weren’t worried.

Thank goodness for your HSA and the fact that you consistently fund it!  A lesson you learned back in January when you twisted your ankle skiing...

Moral of the Story

Sock away some funds for your weekend warrior adventures. With an HSA, instead of saving for a rainy day, you save for a healthy future.  And along the way, if something comes up (wake board face plant) you have it covered!

With your American Health Value HSA, you have your debit card and checks to access funds as soon as you need.

Don’t have an HSA yet? Give us a call (1-800-914-3248) or visit our secure website to open your HSA online.

2014 HSA contribution limits:

  • Family Coverage - $6550.00
     
  • Single Coverage - $3300.00
     
  • $1000 catch up for those 55 and older

Before you know it, you’ll be diving off the dock Labor Day Weekend.

Have fun and be careful!

Blog Written By: Robin Vankleek

Images Courtesy of: Robin Vankleek


Subscribe to our blog!
Like what you see?  Subscribe to our blog via email to get the latest updates on HSAs, health insurance, wellness and company news!

Posted by HSA Admin at 8/7/2014 10:37:00 PM
Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Bill Cooper worked for Acme Drilling for the last 10 years.  In 2010 Acme offered an HSA option in their benefits package.  After doing a little research Bill decided it was a good fit for him.  He then opened a Health Savings Account (HSA) and funded it along with his employer.

In 2014, Bill took a job with another company in a city 600 miles away.
With all the upheaval of changing jobs and moving to another city, Bill "forgot" about his HSA.

Surprisingly, quite a few people do this! They leave a job, move or they change their benefit package.  Without realizing it, their HSA drops off the radar.  

Bill called our office last month.  He said he had "this account with money in it for doctor visits" and didn't know how to get to it.  Quickly we were able to get him back on the road to using his HSA dollars for qualified medical expenses.

His new job doesn't offer an HSA option, but he has that extra money to help out until the account is depleted.

Important things to remember about HSAs:

  • From the day it is opened, 100% of the HSA belongs to you.
     
  • The HSA goes with you when you leave a job, move, or change insurance.
     
  • HSA money rolls over from year to year.  It doesn’t have to be used in the same year you put the money in the account. 
     
  • The HSA provides extra security when you change jobs.  It can cover medical costs that may occur in the period of time you are without coverage and can also be used to COBRA premiums.

Always remember this account belongs to you.  It will follow you if you change jobs, in between jobs, or your insurance changes.  The portability the HSA provides is truly one of its best advantages.

Blog Written By: Robin Vankleek

Images Courtesy of: Robin Vankleek


Subscribe to our blog!
Like what you see?  Subscribe to our blog via email to get the latest updates on HSAs, health insurance, wellness and company news!

Posted by HSA Admin at 7/22/2014 9:22:00 PM
Thursday, March 6, 2014
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Are you the proud owner of one of the last remaining federal MSAs in existence?  Take a close look at your account, because the sun may be setting on your eligibility to fund it.

Federally qualified Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs) were the pilot program prior to Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).  HSAs went into effect January 2004.  You cannot open a new MSA, but you may be grandfathered in if you had an MSA account prior to 12/31/2007.  Although similar in essence (both are tax-deferred accounts), there are some significant differences. 

One reason why your health plan may no longer qualify is because carriers may not offer plans that meet the MSA criteria.  Because HSAs are a more attractive option for most people, the policies written by carriers each year are generally geared to annual HSA qualifications, rather than annual MSA qualifications (as you can't establish a new one).  The HSA guidelines do not meet most of the MSA guidelines.  See some of the differences in the tables below.
 Medical Savings Accounts Chart
 
Health Savings Account Chart

MSA Eligibility Requirements:
  • Your insurance policy:
    • The deductible needs to be between $2,150 and $3,200 with the out-of-pocket not to exceed $4,300 for single coverage.
    • The deductible needs to be between $4,300 and $6,450 with the out-of-pocket not to exceed $7,850 for family coverage.
  • Your employment status:
    • You must be an employee or the spouse of an employee of a small employer that offers group coverage, or
    • You must be self employed or the spouse of a self-employed person.
  • You cannot have any other coverage that is not MSA-qualified.
     
  • You cannot be claimed as an exemption by anyone.
It is important to check your deductible at your policy renewal date to make sure you are still eligible to fund an MSA.  The Treasury Department determines the criteria annually.  Just because you are eligible this year does not mean you are automatically eligible next year.
 
If you find that you are not eligible to contribute to an MSA, you may still be able to have an HSA.  Certain criteria need to be met for this type of plan as well.  Contact our office and we can help determine your HSA eligibility.
 
It is not necessarily true that all good things must come to an end.  If you can't continue to fund your MSA, hopefully you'll be eligible to open an HSA instead.  And if you open that HSA with us, you'll be in great hands.  After all, our motto here at American Health Value is HSAs Done Right!

Subscribe to our blog!
Like what you see?  Subscribe to our blog via email to get the latest updates on HSAs, health insurance, wellness and company news!

Posted by HSA Admin at 3/6/2014 9:33:00 PM
Entries 1-10 of 49
1 2 3 4 5 | Next