If the cost of health insurance is killing you, there are some money-saving strategies you might want to look into. For example, you might combine a high-deductible plan with a tax-sheltered health savings account, or HSA -- more than a million Americans have signed up for such an approach.
According to a recent Associated Press report, the new high-deductible health insurance policies are "a bit complex, but a growing number of insurers offer them."
It explained that, "Under federal law, the policy must have a minimum deductible of $1,000 a year for an individual and $2,000 for a family; maximum out-of-pocket expenses -- for example, copayments required for surgical procedures -- cannot exceed $5,100 for individuals and $10,200 for families. Policyholders, meanwhile, can set up HSAs that they fund with their own money. Employers also can contribute to their workers' HSAs. HSA contributions, generally set at an amount equal to the policy's deductible, can be used to cover health care costs, and unused money can be carried over at year's end."
If you're familiar with flexible spending accounts, note this important distinction: Whereas money in your FSA account needs to be used by year-end, unspent HSA money gets rolled over to the next year. Phew! Better still, as funds accumulate in your HSA, they'll grow tax-free, and if funds remain by the time you retire, you may be able to use them for health expenses such as long-term care insurance.
Note that this insurance solution isn't ideal if you can't afford to sock money away into an HSA account. It can't stop health insurance from being a costly burden -- but it can make it less costly for some people.
Companies offering HSAs and/or high-deductible insurance options include J.P. Morgan Chase
Learn more about managing health-care costs in these Fool articles:
Learn more about insurance, including long-term care insurance, in our Insurance Center. You may not have thought about some kinds of insurance, such as disability or long-term care insurance, but they're vital for many people. Take a little time to learn more, and you may be very happy you did if some calamity occurs in the future.
Here are some additional articles on this important and not-even-so-boring topic:
- 60-Second Guide to Insurance
- Avoid Insurance Sticker Shock
- Stop Overpaying Your Doctor
- Health Insurance for Your Pet
- How to Insure a Bundle
- Prepare to Be Disabled
- Credit Dings = Insurance Woes
Finally, another resource for you is the HSA Insider website. Check it out.
Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian does not own shares of any companies mentioned in this article.