As we move toward the November elections, the Texas health insurance landscape is more confusing than ever. The Affordable Care Act is still under Constitutional scrutiny, with Republican candidates promising to overturn it, and while some mandates have already been implemented, it’s uncertain if the law will remain intact. This means that many of the changes scheduled to go into effect in 2014 may never come to fruition. What does this mean for the average health care consumer?
For starters, it may be time to revisit Texas health savings accounts. Taking action and obtaining an HSA is a smart move, especially considering the uncertain health care marketplace. Whether or not certain changes to go into effect in the future, a health savings account is a smart move now. An HSA is a smart way to control your medical costs. It works like an IRA, in which you contribute funds to a tax-free savings account. These funds can then be used toward qualifying medical expenses, like doctor visits, prescriptions and preventative care.
In addition to helping you control your medical costs, the tax-free nature of HSAs means you’ll owe the government fewer tax dollars at the end of the year. And the savings account can accrue interest, netting you investment income over the years. To qualify for a Texas health savings account, you simply need to set up a high deductible health insurance plan. As of 2012, that plan needs to have a deductible of at least $1,200 and an out-of-pocket maximum of $6,050 for individual coverage, and a deductible of at least $2,400 and an out-of-pocket maximum of $12,100 for family coverage.
There is also a maximum amount that you can contribute to your HSA every year. Individuals may deposit up to $3,100 each year, while families can deposit up to $6,250. If you’re over the age of 55, then you’re allowed an extra $1,000 “catch-up contribution” per year.
With a high deductible plan in place, you’re covered in case of emergencies. And your HSA will go toward everyday medical expenses. Should you remain healthy, that HSA acts just like a savings account. And unlike a flexible spending account, it rolls over every year, so you’ll never lose any of your hard-earned money.
There are plenty of options for securing Texas health insurance. But none are as dynamic as the health savings account. The combination of monetary savings with personal control over expenses is a powerful force. And in these uncertain times, it may be the best bet for obtaining and maintaining an effective health insurance plan.