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Health Savings Account Plans Question & Answers

2015 June 26
by Sarah Fields

Mandy asks…

I already have a Blue Advantage health care plan from Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC, how can I open a HSA?

My wife and I are interested in opening a health savings account in conjunction with our Blue advantage high deductible plan. I was told at signup that this was included, but cannot find information anywhere. Does anyone know how I can sign up for a HSA?

Sarah Fields answers:

You have to sign up separately for the actual HSA. It’s offered by most banks and investment companies.

I opened my HSA about 4-years ago. At that time, my broker found a low-cost HSA through American Chartered Bank in IL. When I set it up there was only a $10 fee.

Http://www.americanchartered.com/

You don’t have to be anywhere near the bank. I’m in Calif and do all my transactions via snail male.

Sandra asks…

Would you consider default placement into a public option plan better than a fine under a health insurance?

mandate, if a person fails to purchase a health insurance plan or fails to maintain a health savings account with enough funds?

Sarah Fields answers:

No.
You have said some pretty idiotic stuff, but this one is a topper. So what you are saying is, if you don’t pay for health insurance, we will give it to you free (free being paid for by tax-payers). Why would anybody elect to buy it? Profoundly stupid.

Robert asks…

Are Health Savings Accounts the Right Medicine for the ills of the Health Care Industry? Explain.?

Explain why Health Savings Accounts are better than traditional PPO. Why do employers prefer HSA over traditional PPO? Does HSA give patients more control over the care they receive, is their any tax incentives that comes with having HSAs?

Sarah Fields answers:

They are certainly not a silver bullet. I am a healthcare attorney in Georgia and I can tell you that listening to the current politicians on this subject makes my eyes roll. The idea behind a health savings account is that it reduces usage because they have (usually) a very large deductible health insurance plan along with them. The idea is that the deductible, usually around 5000.00 prevents people from overusing healthcare because these are your dollars. Moreover, the high deductible plans are much cheaper for employers and they usually reap quite a benefit from simply paying the deductible dollars rather than insurance premiums.

As for tax savings, yes there are some. THe dollars that go into the account are not taxable and if you do not use them you get to keep them tax free. Also they can be used for treatment not typically covered by health plans such as vision, chiropractic and even acupuncture.

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