Health Savings Accounts

Anyone who’s reasonably healthy should consider switching from a traditional insurance plan to a Health Savings Account. These plans have a bunch of great benefits: 1. Much cheaper monthly premiums; 2. Ability to save and invest money tax-free; 3. Flexibility about how and when to use the money for medical needs. HSA’s have been around for a few years, but they are just starting to become commonly used. The idea is that you buy inexpensive insurance with a big deductible (at least $1,100 per year), but you put some of that money saved into a tax-free account. Then you use it to pay your actual medical costs. It’s like a Flexible Spending Account, except that you don’t lose the unspent money at the end of the year. I buy my own insurance for my family, and the HSA cut our monthly rate from about $1,200 to $350. I put about half that savings into the plan, and I kept the rest. In December 2006, President Bush signed a law that makes HSA’s even better – especially by making it easier for companies to offer them to all their employees. So if you work for yourself, find an HSA today. If you work for a company, tell your employer to offer an HSA. One warning: If you use a lot of health care, perhaps because you have chronic diseases, then maybe this isn’t the greatest deal.