HSA News for September 30, 2019

HSA news is compiled weekly by Mr. HSA, Roy Ramthun.

News from Washington

Senate Sends Trump Stopgap Spending Bill, Averting Shutdown

The Senate passed a temporary government-wide funding bill on September 26 that staves off the risk of a government shutdown through November 21. The measure would buy additional time for lawmakers to work to unclog a $1.4 trillion bundle of yearly spending bills.

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Already Light, Legislative Menu Chopped Down by Impeachment Fight

Congress wasn’t doing much legislatively in this polarized environment. President Trump wasn’t exactly tearing through his policy to-do list, either. Now, with an explosive impeachment inquiry suddenly thrown into the mix, they are likely to do even less than the little they were already doing.

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House Democrats Divided on Surprise Medical Bill Fix

Divisions are emerging among House Democrats as they struggle to move forward with an effort to protect patients from getting massive “surprise” medical bills. The divisions within the Democratic caucus and between the two parties threaten what was touted as a rare opportunity for Congress to enact bipartisan health care legislation this year.

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HSA Studies & Analysis

Employers, Employees Lack Knowledge Of HSAs, Report Says

More employers also are offering HSAs to help employees manage their health-care expenses. But according to new report from Bank of America, the problem is both employers and employees are not fully aware of the benefits of HSAs. Only 7% of employers and 11% of employees correctly identified the four attributes of HSAs.

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HSA Industry News

Lively and Visa Partner on HSA Debit Processing

Lively’s HSA platform will be integrated into Visa’s debit processing platform; users will be able to check their HSA balances through an app — just like their bank accounts. The app goes a step further by sending users notifications when it detects a problem, such as insufficient funds or fraudulent activity.

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HSA Industry Best Practices

6 Tips to Eliminate Confusion Around Consumer-Directed Health Care

More than 70 percent of consumers would benefit from being in consumer-directed health plans, but they only work when they are designed correctly, with the right funding strategy, education, and communications support. If the plan design is not optimized, even the best open enrollment communication strategy won’t deliver desired results.

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The HSA Market

Health Insurance Costs Surpass $20,000 Per Year, Hitting a Record

The cost of family health coverage in the U.S. now tops $20,000, an annual survey of employers found, a record high that has pushed an increasing number of American workers into plans that cover less or cost more, or force them out of the insurance market entirely.

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4 Common Mistakes During Open Enrollment That Could Hurt Your Financial Wellness

Yes, it’s open enrollment season--the opportunity for most employees to select which benefits they will choose for the following year. Here are some of the most common mistakes we see people make. Mistake #1: Not fully understanding the value of an HSA-eligible health insurance plan.

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HSAs & Retirement

Older Workers Are Grossly Underestimating Their Retirement Healthcare Costs

The average pre-retiree aged 50 and over expects healthcare in retirement to cost $7,000 a year. But in reality, that figure is $10,739, according to data cited by Nationwide. Chances are, healthcare will cost more than you expect, so it pays to set aside dedicated funds to cover it once you're no longer working.

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The 401(k)-HSA Savings Rule of Thumb Works, Until It Doesn't

The rule of thumb for helping employees choose how to allocate workplace savings between a 401(k) and an HSA is relatively straightforward: Save up to the percentage of the employer's 401(k) match to take advantage of "free" money, max out savings in an HSA, and then save more in a 401(k) if anything is left over. The rule of thumb works well, according to financial advisers — until it doesn't.

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73% of Americans Lack Financial Confidence in Retirement

Retirement can be a daunting prospect, and only 27% of U.S. adults are very confident about their ability to maintain financial stability in retirement, according to TIAA's 2019 Lifetime Income Survey. If you're not one of them, here are three important things to do today.

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Let Seniors Save for Health Care Tax-Free

There’s one new idea that should appeal to politicians of all stripes: The Health Savings for Seniors Act (H.R.3796). The bill would give America’s seniors a powerful new way to save for health care in retirement by making HSAs available to everyone enrolled in Medicare. Overnight, an additional 60 million Americans would be able to save for their own out-of-pocket health costs, tax-free.

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Maximizing Your HSA

The Perks of HSAs

Not all of the best tax breaks require a deep dive into the federal tax code by a sophisticated and pricey tax attorney. One of the simplest is often overlooked: the HSA.These accounts, around since 2003, offer three tax breaks wrapped up into one, but their value is widely underestimated by wealthy families.

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Check Your HSA Contribution Level

Now is a good time to take a look at your 2019 benefits to make sure that you're taking maximum advantage of this year's options and opportunities. Here's a good place to start: Your 2019 HSA contribution level.

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HSAs: Your Questions Answered

If you’re among the 40% of American workers enrolled in an HDHP, then you’re likely eligible for an HSA—and you also likely need help understanding how to maximize its benefits. Following a Barron’s article last week, here are answers to several questions readers had about HSAs.

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Consumer-Driven Health Care

Trying to Shop for Medical Care? Lots of Luck With That

High-deductible health plans were supposed to empower patients. But the promised consumer revolution never materialized. Instead, Americans have been left shopping in the dark and increasingly struggling with medical bills they can’t afford.

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The Solution for Offering 'Shoppable' Prices in Healthcare Is Coming

Hospitals can embed a “self-service calculator” on their websites that allows a prospective patient to enter data in just a handful of fields. This generates the estimate in less than a minute, and the patient never had to contact the hospital to get it.

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How to Save on Braces

Managing the high cost of orthodontic treatment can be done in a number of different ways, from shopping for the best price to maximizing tax-exempt savings accounts. Try these strategies to keep finances in check when trying to achieve better oral health.

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Walmart’s Sam’s Club Launches Health Care Pilot to Members

Walmart’s Sam’s Club is teaming up with several health care companies to offer discounts on everyday care its customers might delay or skip because of the cost. Sam’s Club members will be able to buy one of four bundles of health care services ranging in annual fees from $50 for individuals to $240 for a family of up to six members.

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Here's How 53% of Workers Are Putting Their Health at Risk

53% of U.S. workers have skipped or postponed medical appointments, tests, procedures, medications, and hospital stays to avoid having to pay for them. If you're guilty of doing the same, you should know that you're not only putting your health at risk, but also potentially creating a scenario where a minor health issue escalates into a major one, thereby costing you more money needlessly.

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Bryan CaplanComment