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Health Savings Account (HSA)
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Health Savings Account (HSA)
Spouse is federal employee. Health care premiums have increased
dramatically. We're considering a CDHP or a HDHP, combined with
a HSA/HRA. Can I hear from those who have used this arrangement,
please? We're a healthy middle class family of four with good
income and adequate savings.
I don't have experience with these plans, but I am a long-time
federal employee and am now deciding on what option to sign up
for in 2010. Last year, I switched from being a long time
Healthnet HMO user because the rates had doubled. I switched
to Blue Cross/Blue Shield PPO and have been very pleased. I
went with their more expensive option because I was nervous
about out-of-pocket after being with an HMO. However, my out-
of-pocket have been very reasonable. Our health care providers
(family of 3) are all ''in-network'', so I am considering
switching to the less expensive plan which will save me an
addition $1,400 a year if I stay ''in-network''. All that being
said, you asked about the High Deductible plans. Frankly, with
a family of 4 I personally would not risk it. I think it would
be difficult to decide what it the appropriate amount to set
aside in your savings account. What I have read is, these
plans are best suited for singles with no major health issues
who can tolerate the ''risk''. From what I understand, you are
basically gambling that you will have no major health issues,
accidents, etc. But then again, it was a year ago when I
looked at these options and decided they were not right for my
family. I will also be interested in any responses to your
We changed from a quite expensive PPO plan to a CDHP last year. I was
a little nervous about it because the premiums seemed absurdly cheap
compared to the PPO so I was looking for a catch. As it turned out,
the plan has been fine. We've continued to use the same doctors and
pharmacies as we used previously, although it always pays to check
your own situation. My biggest concern has been to ensure we budget
for the deductible. However, because preventive care like physicals,
well-child exams, and immunizations are covered 100% (i.e. don't come
of the HRA) we haven't spent the employer contribution to the HRA,
which rolls over to the next year. Fortunately (touch wood) we
haven't had any big accidents or health problems.
so far so good
I am interested in any experience people have using an HSA for their
health insurance rather than a more traditional HMO or PPO. We are a
family of 4 currently paying for our PPO out of pocket as my husband
is self-employed and I don't get benefits at my job. Our PPO rates
have increased dramatically of late, we are basically healthy, and
would like to lower our expenses. The HSA option sounds great, but
it is hard to wrap our minds around exactly how it works and if it is
really a bit too good to be true. Any thoughts? Thanks.
I would strongly recommend that you switch from paying a high
premium/low-deductible plan to a qualified high deductible/low-premium HSA
compatible plan. Important clarification: HSAs are bank accounts that work in
conjunction with either a qualified HMO or PPO. Like you, I am my own employer (I
am a self-employed accountant). I've put a lot of consideration into this very
important issue of benefits versus cost for our family. Patelco Credit Union has
an excellent rate for HSA accounts, 5.12% APR! A family can contribute up to $5900
per year to this savings account 100% tax-free and income-deductible. Depending on
your tax bracket, your medical spending power increases significantly while you
quickly build equity. You'll save thousands of dollars in taxes! (See IRS
publication 502) Just try to find a family plan that has a deductible less than
$5900 (otherwise you won't rollover any money). Even still, it's a big incentive.
If you can rollover money and build your HSA over !
the years, you'll be in a good position for the increased health costs of age. To
stay within the IRS limits, my recommendation is to target a family plan with a
premium under $500 per month and a deductible under $5900 per year with 100%
coverage after deductible (Kaiser has one). Only temptation with this strategy is
you have to be diligent with deposits since you're in control. Be sure to check
for maternity coverage! Good luck, and you're not alone.
We are a healthy family of 5 who switched from a PPO to a Blue Cross Anthem High
Deductible plan last year and are very happy that we did. We use Patelco to manage
the HSA (patelco.org). When we signed up, they were giving a straight 7%, which
has since decreased, but at least we didn't put our money in the various stock
market plans available... Our current Anthem plan covers annual physicals,
mammograms, screening labs (our previous PPO did not cover most of this and cost
us much more per month). Other visits we have to pay for, but can use the HSA to
pay. We can also use the HSA money to pay for orthodontia and dentist visits,
helpful as we don't have dental insurance and have 3 boys with crooked teeth.
It's very nice not to have to pay taxes on the money that goes to orthodontia and
Happy to have switched to an HSA
I've had an HSA for 3 years now, and it's still not easy to answer your question.
Our monthly premium went down from about $1,000 to about $500 and I was able to
''pay'' for our daughter's complete orthodontia treatment from the HSA funds,
which was great. I do wince now when we get treatment or prescriptions since
paying full price at Kaiser, while still less than outside Kaiser, is alot more
than our former copayments. We, too, don't get sick very often so hopefully will
never meet the deductible. And with Kaiser the paperwork is very frustrating.
There are often no charges when we check in, but elaborate billing statements
which are impossible to decipher and don't come until several months after service
is rendered. You may not have Kaiser and this may work more smoothly with other
providers. The tax paperwork with the IRS is simple because the HSA institution
provides an EOY report. Hope this helps.
I switched to an HSA last year and have mixed feelings. Because I am healthy and
seldom use any medical services, it is much less expensive for me (on the order of
$1200/year). Also, I get to choose who I see.
On the other hand, over the last 10+ years, I got to like the convenience of
Kaiser. Now I have to do the research, I have to go to multiple places if I need
labwork, x-rays, physical, medications, etc.
For a family of four, you may save quite a bit of money with an HSA.
I would suggest you talk with Sally Hammons at D|A Financial Group in Lafayette
(925-254-7100). She'll be able to tell you exactly what the pros and cons are,
both in general, but more importantly, specific to you. (Tell her Greg referred
Do you have any recommendation for a financial institution with which to
set up a Health Savings Account (HSA)? I've heard that Credit Unions are
good. I'd like somewhere that has no fees, good service, and a local
branch. I live in Berkeley/Elmwood. The last post on this was in 2007 and
I know a lot of new institutions have entered the market. Thanks.
Most HSA's I know of are set up pretax through an employer. A little
known fact is that AFLAC will set up an HSA for a company if their
employees buy AFLAC coverage (which could be Dental, Vision, Life,
Accident, Hospital Indemnity, etc.). AFLAC does not charge for the
service. It is a ''loss leader'' for them. See www.aflac.com for more
details or email me and I can refer to an AFLAC associate locally who
I'm looking for recos on banks/financial institutions that have
HSAs. (I already have the necessary medical plan). It looks
like some California banks that do this include Patelco and US
Bank. Has anyone used these for an HSA? Any other financial
institutions I should consider?
Hi we use Patelco and it has been just fine.
I use Pactelco, and I have been very satisfied with the service.
We are getting an HSA compatible health insurance plan, and need recs. for
a good place to set up the HSA. Does anyone have any good, bad, or ok
experiences to share? I am looking for an account that has low or no
fees, and it doesn't matter to me whether investment options are offered
(I don't plan on investing the money). Thanks for any suggestions!
About 3 years ago I searched hi & lo for institutions that provide HSA. I found
1st HSA, and they have been very helpful eg. I can get a real person without
going through a phone tree, the person on the other end is friendly and
www.1hsa.com or 1-888-769-8696
We use HSA Bank. hsabank.com. But an awesome research site is
http://www.health--savings--accounts.com/ They give great advise
and have done research about fees and such about many different
companies. Good luck and congrats on a smart financial move!
this page was last updated: Apr 19, 2010
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