Health savings accounts (HSAs) are a great tool for helping manage your out-of-pocket health care expenses. If you have an HSA, you want to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck. Here are five strategies that will help you get the most out of your HSA investment.
- Contribute as much as you can.
HSAs are designed to offer triple tax benefits—meaning you put your money in tax-free, it gains interest tax-free and you can withdraw it tax-free for qualified medical expenses. In addition, many employers will contribute to an employee’s HSA account. To boost your savings for future medical expenses, contribute as much as you can up to the HSA combined employer and employee contribution limit, which is $3,350 for individuals and $6,750 for families in 2016.
- Get a Prescription for over-the-counter (OTC) drugs you use regularly if possible.
Some medications that were once only available by prescription can now be found on store shelves. You must have a doctor’s prescription in order to use your HSA for OTC drugs (except for insulin). If you regularly take a certain OTC drug, consider asking your doctor for a prescription so you can purchase the medication using your tax-free HSA funds. Choosing a generic drug over a brand name OTC drug can also help generate greater cost savings.
- Only visit the emergency room in an emergency situation, and understand your network.
Remember that your doctor’s office and the urgent care center are more appropriate places to treat conditions that are not life-threatening—and they are a lot more cost-effective. An emergency room visit can cost ten times as much as a visit to an Urgent Care center for the same problem. When seeking care, it is also important to know what physicians are in your plan’s network, since out-of-network care will typically result in higher out-of-pocket costs.
However, if your condition is life-threatening (for example, if you’re experiencing chest pain, uncontrollable bleeding or severe abdominal pain following an injury) do not hesitate to go to the emergency room, as this is best place to receive the life-saving care you need.
- Beware of possible medical billing errors.
Medical billing errors can cost patients thousands of dollars. Before paying a bill, review your statement for accuracy. If you are wondering about a claim, ask for an itemized statement so that you can see a breakdown of the services you are being charged for and can verify that you received them. Taking the time to review your charges can help save you money. For very large bills, such as for a hospital stay or surgery, you can also utilize a bill-review service that can help you ensure that all charges are appropriate and accurate.
- Stay healthy!
Prevention is always been than cure. Regular exercise, a healthy diet and abstaining from tobacco can help you avoid health issues. Be sure to use preventive services (such as annual physicals) that are covered without any cost-sharing by your high deductible health plan. All of these choices can help you stay healthy and preserve money in your HSA for emergencies and unforeseeable medical needs.
For more information on Health Savings Accounts and how they can be an integral part of your benefits strategy, whether you are an employer offering health insurance and other benefits to your staff, or whether you have an individual insurance policy, call Roper Insurance today at 303-721-1145 or use the Contact Us button above to send an email. We love helping you save money on your insurance.