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Think of a HSA like a 401k for your health care expenses. You put money into an HSA just like a 401k. It's withheld pretax from your pay checks. You choose how to invest the balance in your account and it grows tax free. You then use the money in the account to pay for your deductible and any health care costs that aren't covered by our health plan. (The same kind of things you might use your FSA to pay for now.)
To help staff get their HSAs started, ASHA will fund half of the deductible the first of the year -- $1,000 for individuals and $2,000 for families. One of the risks you assume when you first start an HSA is that you'll incur the expense before you've built up an account balance. For example, you have to have your appendix out on January 5 and receive a bill for your deductible. ASHA will help you minimize this risk by depositing half your deductible in your account at the beginning of the year.
Why should you consider selecting this new plan? It's simple. You're essentially paying yourself instead of the insurance company. The monthly premium for the Choice Plus HSA is so much less than our Choice and Choice Plus plans that you can use the savings each month to fund part if not all of the deductible. Over time, you can build up a healthy balance in your account. Some people use an HSA as an additional retirement savings vehicle because of the favorable tax status. There are lots of other factors for you to consider and we'll delve into all of them over the course of the next few weeks.
We will be offering many educational opportunities during open enrollment to help you make a fully informed decision. You are welcome to invite your family members to the face-to-face sessions we have planned. Start learning more now by watching the short video below and reading this article from Forbes -- How to Get the Most Out of Your Health Savings Account. You can also read this post where I shared how my sister chose between a traditional PPO and a HSA earlier this year. And, of course, stay tuned here for more info.