HSA reimbursements - to take now or wait?

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kafshar1
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HSA reimbursements - to take now or wait?

Post by kafshar1 » Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:32 am

Just wondering what people do when it comes to small amounts of health care spending.

My wife and I are very healthy people in our late 30s. I have max'ed out the HSA account the last two years ($13250) and spent:

2014 - $179 for doctor's visit
2015 - about $200 in medications, $212 Euros for a wife's ED visit when we were on vacation.

What would people do here? ....take out the $600 or keep it "growing".

Thanks.

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packet
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Re: HSA reimbursements - to take now or wait?

Post by packet » Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:37 am

If you have all of your tax advantaged space filled... then fill the HSA too and pay out of pocket. Save those receipts!

Also, take some time to search these forums... lots of good discussion on this very topic.

Good luck.

:beerCheers,
packet
First round’s on me.

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Aptenodytes
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Re: HSA reimbursements - to take now or wait?

Post by Aptenodytes » Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:42 am

If you wish, the choice doesn't have to be all-or-nothing. Our rule is to use the debit card for expenses under $50 (to save on the volume of receipts and transactions to track) and pay out of pocket for everything else. I'm not sure that is rational from a strictly transaction-cost perspective, but the additional wrinkle is that we have high health care expenses so occasionally it is a hardship to pay everything out of pocket; this eases the cash flow burden in a way that brings maximum transaction-cost benefits.

scottyja
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Re: HSA reimbursements - to take now or wait?

Post by scottyja » Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:49 am

Aptenodytes wrote:If you wish, the choice doesn't have to be all-or-nothing. Our rule is to use the debit card for expenses under $50 (to save on the volume of receipts and transactions to track) and pay out of pocket for everything else.
+1 - we use this system as well.

DFrank
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Re: HSA reimbursements - to take now or wait?

Post by DFrank » Wed Jun 10, 2015 10:26 am

We pay all our routine expenses out of pocket and try to save the HSA funds for medical expenses in retirement. Our health care costs are generally not very high though.
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Bill M
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Re: HSA reimbursements - to take now or wait?

Post by Bill M » Wed Jun 10, 2015 10:30 am

we always wait, regardless of the amount. All the HSA-eligible expenses are in a spreadsheet, so easy to maintain and track how far over/under the HSA balance we are. But we consider the HSA to be a "super-Roth", and would empty the regular Roth first.

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englishgirl
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Re: HSA reimbursements - to take now or wait?

Post by englishgirl » Wed Jun 10, 2015 10:33 am

For small amounts, I pay out of pocket, and leave my HSA to grow. I will use the HSA for large amounts, though. My HDHP has a $6300 deductible, so it would be a financial hardship to pay that all in one go out of any other account if I ended up having to go to the ER or something like that.

It all depends on your personal financial and health situation, really.
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jebmke
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Re: HSA reimbursements - to take now or wait?

Post by jebmke » Wed Jun 10, 2015 10:37 am

Unless you are using a provider frequently, the bulk of the small stuff will often be pharmacy receipts. Most pharmacies will produce a report for you after the end of the year. I get one online from CVS. Many providers like docs, labs and PT providers will also give you an annual statement if you ask them. That should cut down on a lot of receipt saving and scanning.

I do the reimbursement once a year -- I don't want it hanging over my head when I am old, frail or dead. My spouse sure doesn't want the hassle of reimbursing many years of expenses. Also, some of the receipts fade and I don't feel like scanning.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

pobox2001
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Re: HSA reimbursements - to take now or wait?

Post by pobox2001 » Wed Jun 10, 2015 10:39 am

We've had an HSA account for many years and have never reimbursed ourselves for our expenses. We do maintain a file of them, summarized by year, and will eventually get reimbursed, after (hopefully) a few decades of investment growth in Vanguard funds.

jared
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Re: HSA reimbursements - to take now or wait?

Post by jared » Wed Jun 10, 2015 10:15 pm

jebmke wrote:I do the reimbursement once a year -- I don't want it hanging over my head when I am old, frail or dead. My spouse sure doesn't want the hassle of reimbursing many years of expenses. Also, some of the receipts fade and I don't feel like scanning.
Similar feelings here. I pay all expenses out of pocket and reimburse myself annually or semi-annually.

fredjohnson
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Re: HSA reimbursements - to take now or wait?

Post by fredjohnson » Wed Jun 10, 2015 10:52 pm

We've never spent a nickel of our HSA funds. Have most of it in Vanguard index funds. Been saving all receipts so can reimburse ourselves when we want to, but it won't be for a few years. We are in our 50's and have had the HSA's for about 4 years. They have a $60k value right now.

letsgobobby
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Re: HSA reimbursements - to take now or wait?

Post by letsgobobby » Thu Jun 11, 2015 12:36 am

fredjohnson wrote:We've never spent a nickel of our HSA funds. Have most of it in Vanguard index funds. Been saving all receipts so can reimburse ourselves when we want to, but it won't be for a few years. We are in our 50's and have had the HSA's for about 4 years. They have a $60k value right now.
23% annualized returns, neat trick with index funds. Perhaps there were five years of contributions, so an 18% return instead?

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peregrine
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Re: HSA reimbursements - to take now or wait?

Post by peregrine » Thu Jun 11, 2015 5:35 pm

The key is what is your marginal tax rate now and what will it be in retirement? HSA money is never taxed if used for health care expenses. Put into HSA as much as you can. If your marginal tax rate is greater now than it will be in retirement, why spend any taxable money now on health care?

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Downeastah
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Re: HSA reimbursements - to take now or wait?

Post by Downeastah » Thu Jun 11, 2015 10:03 pm

I pay all our small medical bills out of pocket. Haven't touched the HSA money in 4 years. I fully fund it every year with contribution/match from our practice.
"If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking." George S. Patton, Jr.

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