- Health savings accounts were created by the federal government to give Americans two ways to save money on health insurance costs (30% to 50%).
- First, by creating a government-approved high deductible health plan (HDHP) and then pre-funding that deductible to an “allowed maximum contribution” each year in a special savings account (HSA) where the contributions are 100% tax deductible (much like an IRA contribution).
- That maximum contribution changes annually.
- For 2009, that maximum is $3,000 for individuals and $5,850 for families.
- Anyone age 55 or older can also put in up to an additional $1,000 per person under what the government calls a "catch-up” amount. For the current “allowed amount” for 2010 and beyond, go to www.ustreas.gov and click on the Health Savings Account link.
- You can use the dollars in your HSA to pay your deductibles if you need to, but you can also use those dollars to pay for just about any medical or dental expense that is not covered by your health plan(i.e., laser eye surgery, root canals, alternative medicines, etc.)
- Any HSA dollars not spent this year will carry forward into the following years and could become supplemental retirement dollars.
- The major advantage of HSA’s is that you get to pay your deductibles and insurance co-payments plus other uninsured medical expenses with before-tax dollars rather than after-tax dollars.
- For a current list of all IRS-approved medical and dental expenses, go to www.irs.gov and search for Publication 502.
Content for this section provided by Jack Hungelmann, who has had PD since 1996.