I was self-employed most of my career and, after years of increasing, staggering, barely affordable health insurance premiums as a single person, I was introduced to HSAs (Health Savings Account). They are not a solve-all for the high cost of health insurance premiums but they offer tax savings when the money you invest in an HSA is used to off-set medical expenses with a high deductible insurance plan. Any funds you invest are pre-tax dollars when you invest and also when you withdraw the funds for approved medical expenses and some OTC medical expenses. 

Since I've been relatively healthy, and always carried a high deductible plan to keep my premiums low, an HSA was a good fit for me.  They are different from FSAs (flex plans) in that your contribution rolls over every year, you never lose it. When I was finally eligible for Medicare, the funds left in my HSA account could be rolled over for my first few Medicare premiums. tax free. HSAs are similar to an IRA retirement plan with different restrictions and rules.

If you are on an HSA and had positive or negative experiences, I'd be interested in your comments.

If plan A fails, remember there are 25 more letters in the alphabet. --Chris Guillebeau

Original Post

My work recently switched to HSA's for their employee's health insurance. Since I was never technically full time, I did not get this benefit.

However, soon I will be leaving my job and transitioning into more self-employed.

I was not aware that you could get these types of plans when self-employed and I am curious, where would one go to find one?

@Moore Income  When I was on an HSA there were not that many plans available so choice was easy.  I just found this (being a Consumer Reports fan) and would start here https://www.consumerreports.org/health-savings-accounts/how-to-choose-a-health-savings-account  There is one paragraph in particular to zero in on in the article:  Understand the fees.  I don't remember paying any fees, but it might have been because I kept a minimum balance.  I have not had an HSA account for 6 years, so much has changed from my experience, I'm sure.  It appears banks, credit unions, insurance companies and more have jumped on the wagon.  There is information all over the internet in addition to the Consumer Reports website.  

I like Nerd Wallet also and foun this https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/health/what-is-an-hsa

And from a 2016 Forbes article concerning insurance for self-employed: https://www.forbes.com/sites/j...ployed/#5b43968b7d45 

Moore Income posted:

@PiNaY that's good to know. What are some things about your plan that you like?

Not much! I like that it covers the basics - annual physical exams, labs, GYN and eye exam. However, it only covers generic medications despite my efforts to obtain a prior authorization. In 2018, my premium was about $520/month. In 2019, it’s $380/month. There is only one health insurance provider available for individual plans in my area.  

@PiNaY  I was paying $500 also, I don't know the status of the generic meds because was not on any at that time, 5 years ago.  Mine did not cover dental or vision either. If you've dropped to $380 that's great, did they explain why your premiums dropped? Curious because that almost never happens!!

mintjulep posted:

@PiNaY  I was paying $500 also, I don't know the status of the generic meds because was not on any at that time, 5 years ago.  Mine did not cover dental or vision either. If you've dropped to $380 that's great, did they explain why your premiums dropped? Curious because that almost never happens!!

Not sure why it dropped, but I was happy that it did! It probably has to do with having limited options for individual plans in my area. 

Our health insurance premiums became unmanageable, so we switched to a health sharing plan. They all require specific qualifications, so you'll have to see if one would work for you. // Sometimes joining an organization allows you to get into a group policy. When we lived in SD we joined a farmer's group, even though we weren't farmers. 

Olivia posted:

Our health insurance premiums became unmanageable, so we switched to a health sharing plan. They all require specific qualifications, so you'll have to see if one would work for you. // Sometimes joining an organization allows you to get into a group policy. When we lived in SD we joined a farmer's group, even though we weren't farmers. 

I know there are also Christian based health sharing plans, which you may want to look into.

The health sharing plan is not insurance. It cannot be used for Medicare. However it legally fulfills required medical coverage still mandated in some states. So you won't be fined for having it instead of health insurance. Ours is a Christian based one. Different plans have different requirements. Ours doesn't cover certain procedures, or vision or dental, or preexisting conditions. There is a $300 deductible per incident. The way it works is the administrators assign you a need to meet, and you send your "share" directly to another individual to help cover their medical costs. We also are given a list of individuals to pray for throughout the month. The January share is used to cover administrative costs. The individual recipient informs the administrators about the status of your payment. Of course it's all checked out as well. If you don't pay your share, it indicates you're not interested in continuing and are dropped from the plan. If you have a medical need you bring it to the administrators attention, fill out forms, submit receipts and they handle the payment end of it. They also give suggestions on how to negotiate prices (insurance companies do this all the time), plus give support, dealing directly with the medical folk. //To answer your second question.  I don't know what an individual plan would cost and am not sure if costs vary from state to state. I don't know what organizations are currently available except the one we use, so you'd want to do a search on the Internet and see what's out there. 

Patti, a Health Savings Account (HSA) is used in conjunction with a high deductible health insurance plan.  This is a short explanation at this site and for Wisconsin:  https://www.ehealthinsurance.c...nce/health-plans/hsa

The money put into the HSA is tax free and remains so if used for qualified medical expenses and purchases not covered by your regular health insurance plan ( some over the counter drugs, etc qualify!)

If you are on Medicare, there are no HSA available to use with Medicare or supplements that I am aware of, but not being an insurance expert, I would advise speaking with someone who is an expert to review your best options.

 

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