HDHP/HSA Questions

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Tatupu
Posts: 38
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2007 1:17 pm

HDHP/HSA Questions

Post by Tatupu »

At the risk of asking a stupid question ...

I have had an HDHP for a couple of years and haven't come close to reaching the $3,000 annual deductible.

Aside from filing claims for preventive care which is covered at 100% by the plan, is there any value whatsoever in filing claims or recording with my insurance company all the other services that I pay out of pocket for?

Also, I contribute the maximum amount into my HSA each year ($6,450 in 2013) and pay out of pocket for medical expenses rather than tap into the HSA. I'm a little wary of this approach simply due to all the receipts I am accruing which I will have to keep for years until I start tapping into the HSA. Could anybody share their system for organizing and tracking all of these receipts? Scan and shred? Keep originals?

Thanks!
jowi
Posts: 57
Joined: Wed Nov 13, 2013 7:17 pm

Re: HDHP/HSA Questions

Post by jowi »

I'm not sure I understand what other things you're talking about? Do you mean like going to a doctor appt or things like medications or something else?

For us, we let it go through insurance to get the negotiated rate discount. But for medications, the ones my husband is on are cheap ones through Walmart's $4/mo or $5/mo or whatever it is plan, so we don't bother doing anything with that.

I am not sure I understand the rationale of not touching $$ in a HSA and paying OOP? I've heard that before but what is the benefit? Don't those accounts pay out very little in interest anyway? I am not new to HDHP but we will be opening our first HSA in January.
Topic Author
Tatupu
Posts: 38
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2007 1:17 pm

Re: HDHP/HSA Questions

Post by Tatupu »

Sorry, I should have clarified. Because we live overseas, there are no in-network providers available. So every time we go to the doctor, we pay up front. And every time we need prescription drugs, we just pay full cost out of pocket. Those are the things I am talking about.

The rationale in not tapping into the HSA is that the money grows and is not taxed. You can invest your HSA money into just about anything. Some of my HSA money is in a safe, low-interest bearing account while the rest is invested in a Vanguard stock index fund.
snowman
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Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:59 pm

Re: HDHP/HSA Questions

Post by snowman »

Have had HSA for many years. My wife keeps separate folder for all medical related receipts organized by calendar year. She also puts description and amount into excel sheet, separate tab for each year.

So that's our current system. However, I have been contemplating scanning the paper receipts, since they fade over the years. Have not gotten to that yet.
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VictoriaF
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Re: HDHP/HSA Questions

Post by VictoriaF »

Keeping receipts is not absolutely necessary. Some time in the distant future you will have such significant medical bills that you will be able to deplete the HSA using those bills alone. Receipts could be useful if you had the need for cash in the near term.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)
snowman
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Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:59 pm

Re: HDHP/HSA Questions

Post by snowman »

VictoriaF wrote:Keeping receipts is not absolutely necessary. Some time in the distant future you will have such significant medical bills that you will be able to deplete the HSA using those bills alone. Receipts could be useful if you had the need for cash in the near term.

Victoria
That's certainly a possibility, and the main reason why I have been postponing the scanning process for so long. However, my wife keeps reminding me that in case the house burns down, we no longer have those receipts. Plus, HSA is another layer in our emergency funds reserve, so we don't know if/when we will have to tap it.

There have been many times over the years where my wife's more cautious point of view proved to be the correct one (in retrospect) over my "winging it" attitude. So I learned to listen to her - hence, contemplating...
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magellan
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Re: HDHP/HSA Questions

Post by magellan »

I use a simple system of scanning medical receipts and storing them in a folder on the computer based on the year.

The longest part of the operation is waiting for the scanner to warm up (about 10 seconds). The scanner automatically scans the doc and puts the pdf on my computer desktop. I manually rename it and move it to the correct folder.

One benefit of keeping receipts throughout the year is that if you suddenly have a big medical expense that puts you over the 10% deduction threshold, you'll already have what you need to deduct these expenses on the current year's taxes, rather than waiting to use them later for future HSA withdrawals.

Note that the 10% agi medical deduction floor includes insurance premiums and out of pocket costs for medical, dental and vision.

Jim
RobG
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Re: HDHP/HSA Questions

Post by RobG »

VictoriaF wrote:Keeping receipts is not absolutely necessary. Some time in the distant future you will have such significant medical bills that you will be able to deplete the HSA using those bills alone. Receipts could be useful if you had the need for cash in the near term.

Victoria
BOy aren't you a dose of sunshine :mrgreen:

For the other person, my HSA allows investments in Vanguad funds like Total Stock Market so it seems best to hang onto the receipts and cash in later.
Stay thrifty my friends.
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