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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 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


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Posted by HSA Admin at 7/20/2015 10:13:00 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


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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


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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


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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


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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


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Posted by HSA Admin at 8/7/2014 10:37:00 PM
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
HSA Funding
Image courtesy of Master Isolated Images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Congratulations!  You have your HSA-qualified policy in place.  You have opened your health savings account and are ready to start funding it!

In a perfect world, you would sit down and write a check for the full amount you can fund for the year, based on your coverage.

2013 Single Coverage:  $3,250.00 ( + $1,000 catch up contribution if you are 55 or older) = $4,250.00

2013 Family Coverage:  $6,450.00 ( + $1,000 catch up contribution if you are 55 or older) = $7,540.00

As nice as that sounds, not everyone can fully fund their HSA.  But with our handy HSA Medical Expense Worksheet, you can fund what you think you will need based on last year's expenses.  With a little planning, you can be ahead of the game when it comes to paying for qualified medical expenses.

Medical Expense Worksheet

 
The beauty of a funded HSA is having money available when you need it.  If you anticipate a medical expense coming up, you can fund your account for the amount and use it immediately.  You get the tax break.  If you don’t have as many expenses as you thought you might, you can let the funds roll over and grow each year.
 
Funding your HSA – any way you look at it, it’s a win-win situation!

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Posted by HSA Admin at 7/31/2013 6:17:00 PM
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
HSA Funding Check Up
Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Can you believe it’s already July? The 4th has come and gone and here we sit, a little over halfway through 2013!  It seems as though this year has flown by, so we thought we’d steady the ship here at our “halfway point” and shoot out a friendly reminder about funding your health savings account and all the benefits to doing so.

There are a few different scenarios and variables when it comes to funding your HSA, such as whether your policy is “single” or “family”.  Or whether you’re over 55 or not, which would allow you to make the additional $1,000 catch-up contributions.  We’ll do our best to cover the basics, but if you have a question or there’s something we didn’t cover, let us know in the comments or give us a call and we’d be glad to answer any questions you’ve got!
 
Year-To-Date HSA Snapshot
 
Let’s get started here and break down what your HSA contributions should look like at this “halfway point” if you were funding on an even, monthly basis to max out your annual contribution limit.  We’ll give you a breakdown of single vs. family coverages, in addition to the optional “catch-up” contribution you can make if you happen to be over age 55.
 
It’s important to keep in mind while you’re reading this, that regardless of what you’ve contributed thus far this year, there’s no reason to panic.  You can fund your HSA any way you would like, and at any time throughout the calendar year all the way up into the following year prior to filing your taxes or April 15th, whichever comes first.  You can fund it all in one lump sum, in chunks here and there, or steady even payments throughout the year.  It’s your money, your choice, and this is just a guideline and/or friendly reminder to take a look at what you’ve funded so far this year to stay on track.
 
Single Coverage Snapshot
 
Single Coverage HSA
Image courtesy of Boykung & Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
The standard, generic version of the health savings account is one that is tied to a single coverage (no dependents) high-deductible health plan.  As with any health savings account, there are certain deductible limits that qualify your policy to be eligible to open an HSA in the first place.  For more information on HSA-qualified plans, visit our website on HSA Deductible Requirements.
 
So with that out of the way, for 2013, the annual maximum contribution for a single coverage HSA is $3,250.  If you’re planning on fully funding your HSA, you’re going to want to currently be sitting at a year-to-date of $1,625. 
 
How did we come to this figure?  We simply took the annual maximum allowed ($3,250) and divided by 12 to get your monthly contribution amount ($270.83).  We then multiplied that by 6 to show where all of us should be at this halfway point, if we were planning on funding on a steady monthly pace.
 
If you’re 55 or older, you would add an additional $1,000 to the front end of that equation to account for your optional catch-up contributions, which would look like this: Take $4,250 divided by 12 to get your monthly contribution amount ($354.16). Multiply that monthly amount by 6 to get your “halfway point” and you’d arrive at $2,124.96, which is your current year-to-date if you’re staying on track.
 
Family Coverage Snapshot
 
Family Coverage HSA
Image courtesy of Boykung & Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
An HSA that is tied to a “family coverage” HDHP (insurance policy includes dependents) allows you to contribute significantly more money every year than the standard “single coverage” variety.  For 2013 with “family coverage”, you can contribute an annual maximum of $6,450. 
 
With that in mind, let’s calculate what your year-to-date should reflect, halfway through 2013.  We would take the $6,450 and divide by 12 to get your monthly contribution amount ($537.50). From there, we simply multiply that by 6 to get your projected “halfway” figure, which would be $3,225.
 
If you happen to be 55 or older, you’re eligible for the $1,000 “catch up” contribution, which alters those totals.  Your annual maximum increases to $7,450, so here are the figures for that scenario: 
 
$7,450 divided by 12 is $620.83, which is the monthly amount you would want to contribute to your HSA to stay on track to maxing out throughout the year.  $620.83 multiplied by 6, will give us our halfway point that should be reflected in your current year-to-date contribution totals if you’re planning on staying on track.  That total is $3,724.98.
 
Benefits to Funding Your HSA
 
The reason we want to point out these “halfway” figures, is because we want to be sure everyone is taking full advantage of their health savings account and all the benefits that come along with funding it. 
 
One of the strongest benefits is the triple tax advantage you receive when you fund your HSA.  The money is tax-free when you deposit it, which effectively reduces your taxable income.  The money is spent on HSA-qualified medical expenses tax-free, allowing you to pay for both planned and unplanned medical expenses with tax-free money throughout the year.  And lastly, remember that an HSA is literally a savings account, which means it earns interest on the balance, tax-free. 
 
It’s also worth highlighting here, that the HSA is a very powerful tool for retirement planning.  The unused funds you contribute to your HSA roll over year after year, allowing you to build up a significant balance in the event of a major medical expense, but also as a sort of “Medical IRA”.  Once you turn 65, you can continue to use those funds to pay for normal HSA-qualified medical expenses, your Medicare and/or Long-Term Care premiums, or you can pull the funds out altogether as supplemental retirement income to add to your nest egg. 
 
Please remember however, that if you decide to pull your funds out for non HSA-qualified expenses after age 65, that money is considered taxable income.  If you pull your funds out for non HSA-qualified expenses prior to age 65, those funds will be considered taxable income and you will be hit with a 20% penalty from the IRS for doing so.
 
Here’s a great flyer from our website you can print off & use however you want to remind you of some of the benefits to funding your health savings account. Hand it out to employees, friends & family, your clients (if you’re an agent), etc.
 
 
Don’t Stress, Contact Us with Questions
 
We hope we’ve provided a nice friendly reminder about funding your HSA and the benefits to doing so.  As we said above, it’s important to remember there’s no need to panic if you’re planning on taking full advantage of the maximum contribution limits, but you’re nowhere near the year-to-date averages we highlighted in this post.  You can fund your HSA however you want (as long as it’s under the annual maximum allowed) and whenever you want, all the way through calendar year 2013 and into calendar year 2014 prior to filing your income tax returns, or April 15th, whichever comes first.
 
If you have any questions at all about HSA funding, HSA rules and regulations, the benefits to funding your account, or even if you’d just like to sit and chat…please don’t hesitate to contact our office!  We look forward to hearing from you and walking you through whatever questions you may have, from the simple, short and sweet to the most complicated and technical scenarios.  HSAs are what we do, and we would love the opportunity to help you get the most out of your health savings account any way we can.

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Posted by HSA Admin at 7/10/2013 11:05:00 PM
Entries 1-9 of 9
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