HSA. FSA. HRA. Do you know what those are? If you are like most Americans, you probably have an inkling of what one or two of them are. Now the fun part. Even if you know what they are, do you know how they differ? Do you know what you can use them for and who pays for them and who gets to keep the money in them? Having had all three at one time or another I am very familiar with all their intricacies, but if you aren’t then you need to check out HSA 101 from UnitedHealthcare.
Now I have to say my all-time favorite was when we had an HRA (Health Reimbursement account) through my wife’s employer. This paired up with our high-deductible health plan and her employer basically funded the account with enough money to fully cover the deductible each year. That was a great deal. To quote a movie I like (about the only part of it I can quote in public) “It’s like free money.”
There were down sides to it however. First of all, not a lot of employers offer an HRA. Second, you are limited to what the employer puts in, and their schedule. So if they only put $100 in the account you can’t add to it. Third, we had to justify every single thing we used it for. Every doctor visit we had to send in a copy of the EOB. Every prescription we filled we had to send in the receipt. It was a constant, never-ending barrage of paperwork. Fourth, it’s not your money, so you leave, the money stays.
OK, the more I think about it; maybe I didn’t like the HRA that much. Yeah, I’m going to revise that statement. The HSA (Health Savings Account) is definitely my favorite. Let me tell you why.
For starters it is tax free. You put money in tax free. It grows tax free (yes, they gain interest and have investment options). You spend it tax free, as long as it’s a medical expense. No you do not get to use the money to buy a car. Second, it’s my money and it never goes away. There is no “use it or lose it” like there is with an FSA or can be with an HRA. If I am lucky enough to have $5000 in the account on December 31, it’s still there on January 1. If I leave a company, the money in that account is still mine, still tax-free. Still available for medical needs and it will move with me to the next job. My employer can’t take it back. It’s ALL MINE. MWUHAHAHAHA!! Sorry, I got a little carried away there.
The point is, if you have a High-Deductible Health Plan you need to look into getting an HSA if you don’t already have one. So if you want to learn more about HSA’s and get the chance to win gift cards then you definitely need you head on over to the HSA 101 site at UnitedHealthcare to enter for your chance to win a weekly $100 gift card or a monthly $500 gift card. Be sure to enter Promo Code “PinkNinjaBlog” to actually be entered. You will not be entered into the giveaway if you don’t use the promo code on the site…the sponsor will be verifying the winner. And while you’re at it, did you check out our article last month on the Quick Care Quiz? That giveaway is still going. I’ve said it before. How often is someone willing to give you money to teach you something? It’s not often, so take advantage of it while you can.
Check out this handy guide UnitedHealthcare has put up to show you the differences between an HSA, an HRA and an FSA. Then go complete the HSA 101 Quiz (be sure to use promo code “PinkNinjaBlog”) to be entered to win a gift card. Then come back here and enter OUR giveaway for a chance at another gift card.
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Disclaimer: This post is written in collaboration with UnitedHealthcare. Regardless, all opinions expressed are still 100% my own.