(BPT) – Millions of Americans with high-deductible health insurance plans rely on health savings accounts to help them manage the costs of health care. If you're among them, you know how important it is to maximize the value you get out of every HSA dollar.
If you don't yet have an HSA, you may qualify for one if you receive health insurance through an employer-sponsored plan with a high deductible. Individuals may qualify if their deductible is at least $ 1,300, and families may qualify with a deductible of at least $ 2,600, according to the IRS. With an HSA, you can deposit pre-tax dollars into the account to pay for certain health and medical-related expenses -- up to $ 3,400 for an individual and $ 6,750 for a family in 2017.
While there are approximately 17 million HSAs currently in use in the U.S., insurance industry watchers predict that number could rise significantly as the federal government again addresses health care reform, the Boston Globe reports.
You can maximize the value of your HSA in several ways, including:
* If you're at risk for arterial or heart disease, you and your doctor may decide preventive screenings are in order. Screening proactively can help catch warning signs of trouble before a more serious problem develops. However, most insurers won't pay for preventive screening for arterial health.
You can use your HSA dollars to schedule vascular health screening through Life Line Screening. You don't need a doctor's referral to schedule a simple, safe and painless ultrasound to detect possible plaque buildup in arteries -- a leading factor in stroke and heart disease. Life Line Screening tells you the price of the screening up front and offers appointments in convenient locations throughout communities. Visit www.lifelinescreening.com to learn more and schedule an appointment.
* Keeping track of HSA-eligible expenses can be challenging, but budgeting software can help. Numerous free programs are available online. Most HSA providers also offer online access and digital tools to help you monitor your account, track saving and spending, and better understand the tax impact of your contributions.
* If your employer doesn't provide vision insurance, you can use HSA funds to pay for eye exams, corrective lenses and even Lasik surgery. Studies show regular vision care is an essential component of overall health, and helps not only preserve your eyesight and eyes, but can also help detect other serious health problems.
* Only about half of American workers have dental insurance through their employers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For those who do have dental insurance, it typically does not cover all expenses. Yet dental health is intrinsic to overall health. You can use HSA money to pay for dental care, including exams, X-rays, braces, dentures, fillings and oral surgery.
* Smoking is one of the most damaging things you can do for your health, and your HSA dollars can help you kick the habit. Smoking cessation treatment is a qualified medical expense that can be paid for through health savings accounts. When you quit smoking, your body immediately begins to repair the damage caused by smoking, and you reduce your risk of heart attack, stroke and cancer, according to the American Lung Association.
“Smoking is associated with multiple chronic diseases, so quitting is one of the best things you can do for your overall health,” says Dr. Andrew Manganaro, chief medical officer at Life Line Screening. To help people understand their personal risk, Life Line Screening offers a program called “6 For Life” that outlines an individual’s risk for six chronic diseases and includes blood tests.
* Although controlling your weight is another important factor in overall health, few health plans will cover any kind of weight loss program. However, a doctor-prescribed weight loss program aimed at treating a specific disease such as obesity, high blood pressure or heart disease can be paid for with HSA money.
Your health savings account comes with many benefits and cost savings and tax breaks are just two of them. More importantly, when used wisely, your HSA can help you achieve better health.
* http://healthigold.com/go/fsaeligible Click Left to discover tips on spending your FSA funds before the end of the year.
Tips on spending your FSA funds and FSA eligible items.
Would you like to experience less (financial) stress and more (money) joy this holiday season?
If you're a flexible spending account (FSA) user, there's an easy way for you to get both: take a look at your current FSA account balance and spend down any remaining funds.
Yes, you heard that correctly. I'm encouraging you to SPEND! The reason is that if you don't spend all of the money in your FSA by the end of your plan year, that money will be forfeited as a result of the "use it or lose it" rule.
Here's a simple 5-point plan you can follow to spend down those remaining FSA dollars within the plan year!
1. Find Out How Much You Can Spend. Call your provider or check your most recent paper or online statement to find out what your remaining FSA balance is.
2. Find Out Your "Spend By" Date. Reach out to your HR or benefits department to find out if you must spend your FSA dollars by December 31st or whether your workplace gives you a "grace period" until March 15th or your workplace is in the new Carryover Option, allows employees to carry over unused balances of up to 0 from one plan year to the next.
Also, take note of your final day to make purchases versus your final day to request reimbursement; your employer may offer some flexibility there as well.
3. Review Eligible Expenses. Now that you know how much you have to spend and by when, it's time to start using whatever funds are left. Review the extensive list of FSA eligible expenses and create a list of what you need.
4. Look For Any Gaps. Sit down and review your medical care from the past year. Are there any expenses you haven't submitted yet? Are there any appointments you haven't had yet such as routine dental or eye exams? If so, call your providers and get those on the calendar.
5. Restock Over-The-Counter (OTC) Items. In addition to items you may have identified in the previous step, don't forget to restock commonly-used OTC products and medications, (Note, as of January 1, 2011 OTC medications require a doctor's rescription to qualify for FSA reimbursement).
And if the thought of braving holiday crowds is making you feel slightly nauseous, not to worry.
Click the link below for exclusive FSA online store that carry FSA eligible products and services, accepts all FSA debit cards and major credit cards from the comfort of your home.
Explore more on this video:
Click below link to get FSA Eligible items:
To your good health.
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