No HSA for Us, for Now

When I first learned that my wife’s employer will provide a high deductible health insurance plan next year, I was quite happy that the option is finally offered because using such a plan ($3,000 annual deductible for a family) can 1) save us on health insurance premium now; 2) save money on future health care cost with a Health Savings Account (HSA) account. Since the deductible amount already meets the requirement for an HSA account, why not get one?

Though I have looked at HSA account before, this is the first time that I tried to have an account. After being told by my wife’s employer that they don’t have an HSA account available for employees, the only option will be getting one from a third party providers. So I checked several HSA providers’ websites to see what they are offering and even called HSA Administrators twice to ask them about the procedures to open an account and documents required. Everything seemed to be fine until I asked HSA Administrators how to get reimbursed for expenses such as copay.

“HSA eligible insurance plan usually doesn’t need copay.”

Then I knew something wasn’t right because my wife’s plan does require copay. Somehow I was under the impression that the only requirement for an HSA account is the amount of deductible. The CSR on the phone asked me to contact the health insurance provider to make sure that the plan we want to use is indeed eligible for HSA accounts, not that we think it is.

We checked almost everything and the only thing we didn’t do is call the insurer. When my wife did call, the CSR didn’t even know what HSA is at first. After a few minutes, she came back and told my wife the plan we will be using is not eligible for an HSA account :( Though we still selected the high deductible plan, it’s pity that we won’t be able to stack away more pre-tax money for future use.

If you have the option to use a high deductible health insurance plan and want to use an HSA account to save for future medical cost, call your insurance provider to make sure that particular plan is eligible for HSA accounts before starting your research on finding a good HSA provider. A high deductible insurance plan doesn’t automatically qualify for an HSA account!

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