I am really excited to talk about Health Savings Accounts or Flexible Spending Accounts, or HSA/FSA’s. I’m very passionate about it because not everyone understands the full potential of the benefits. It could save you a lot of money for health-care-related services and products that you already plan to purchase.
So, what is an HSA or an FSA? How does this help you improve your quality of life? Why would you even think about having one? Or if you do have one, what is it and how can you use it? How does it benefit you? We get these questions often at Sports Performance. Different employers offer different plans, so everyone’s options are going to be different.
HSA and FSA are pre-tax accounts that you can use to pay for healthcare-related expenses. Think of your health-related expenses over the last year. Did you purchase band-aids, eye contacts, a good pair of glasses, medications, copayments at the doctor’s office, massages, and/or physical therapy appointments? What else do you purchase to improve your health or address your health? An HSA or FSA is the (pre-tax!) pot of money that you set aside for forecasted health-related expenses. The downside is that not everyone has access to HSA or FSA plans. Your employer may or may not offer this benefit.
If you have access to an HSA or FSA plan, you better take advantage of the benefits being offered to you. An HSA/FSA is a way to save money on items and services that you are already going to be spending your hard-earned money on. In some plans, you can set aside up to $5,300 per household. If you do the math, that’s a significant saving, again, on purchases that you were planning to make anyway.
I know it’s difficult and sometimes impossible to predict, but if you can forecast your healthcare costs, based on history or planned surgeries or events. (Maybe you have an elective surgery coming up? Or maybe your family is preparing to have a baby? Or maybe you have taken the steps to put your health as a high priority and plan to see physical therapy on a regular basis? Or perhaps you want to buy a pair of customized orthotics or a therapeutic pillow?) Fortunately, right now is the time when you make these planning decisions. Usually, you have to instruct your account or employer in November/December on how much you want to set aside as contributions to your account for the upcoming year.
If you are already using the benefits of an HSA and FSA, good for you! I think it’s one of the best things that you can do for your health while making a smart financial decision. In addition to what you already use your account for, are there more qualifying expenses that you can set aside money for, and thus save more money? Look at your healthcare costs from 2021, and decide if you want to set aside more or less for 2022. It’s completely up to you and your health/financial goals. Also, now is the time to look at your 2021 balance and see if you have a rollover amount allowed, or do you need to start looking at ways to spend that pre-tax money before the end of the year? Check into your plan and it is very likely that physical therapy visits are covered, and make sure you get in your visit before the end of the year. Know that you can use it for several of our services- physical therapy, massage, and even our therapeutic pillows and customized orthotics.
If you have access to an HSA/FSA and you are not taking advantage of this, you need to. You’re missing out on crucial tax savings. All that is required is that you forecast your/your family’s healthcare budget. You can always just start small and adjust next year as needed. You’re not alone. We have several clients who tell us they wish they had known earlier.
I’m making this as basic as possible, and every employer’s rules are going to be different. Some HSA/FSA plans will give you a debit card, allowing you to withdraw from your account until you use it all. Other plans require a receipt for every single purchase. For most programs, there is a “use it or lose it” component to it. Some companies will have a one or two-month grace period or they’ll allow rollover from year to year. If you have specific questions about how to get started, what is the max contribution amount, what are qualifying purchases, talk to your employer. If you are already spending money on your/your family’s health, it really is a no-brainer.
As always, we hope this helps! For any questions and all suggestions, please email us at TeamSP@SportsPerformancePT.com
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