With the growing cost of health care and health insurance in today's environment, many employers are choosing to offer health insurance with higher deductibles and attaching optional contribution accounts, known as Health Savings Accounts (HSA) and Medical Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA). I have found the education on the optimal use of these accounts is lacking. The following are some facts you need to know about your HSA/FSA before the end of the year and before selecting your benefits next year:
- HSAs are medical savings accounts available to taxpayers who are enrolled in an HSA-qualified high-deductible health plan. In contrast, FSAs are available to all employees, if an employer elects to offer one.
- Both cover pay for qualified medical expenses, and both are not subject to any payroll taxes.
- FSAs will be lost if not used by the end of the year. If not used, the FSA money is forfeited to the employer.
- HSA account balances will roll over to the next year.
When looking at your open enrollment this year, remember:
- All money you plan to contribute to your FSA is available at the start of the plan year and does not have to be reimbursed if you leave the company.
- HSA contributions are available only after the money is deducted from payroll.
- As of January 1, 2011, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act mandated that drugs must be prescribed to be reimbursable.
- Eligible medical expenses for your HSA and FSA include many complementary and alternative services, not just co-pays and deductibles.
Although many integrative medicine services are cash-based, you may use your contribution accounts for reimbursement. Most importantly, integrative doctors who are MDs who may prescribe conventional medicines and alternative therapies that would then be covered under your HSA/FSA. Remember, when choosing an integrative doctor, reimbursement claims must be submitted by the last day of the plan, so act fast. Don't forget to always consult your tax advisor should you require tax advice, and remember to speak with your human resources department to learn more about your HSA/FSA.
Avicenna Integrative Medicine
1000 Johnson Ferry Road, Suite E200
Marietta, GA 30068
(770) 977-9300 | www.avicennamd.com
Carrie Whittington has a BBA from the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia and is the Executive Business Director of Physicians Group of Georgia and Avicenna MD, which encompass Avicenna Integrative Medicine and Avicenna Allergy and Asthma. She has been inspired by the new approach to medicine presented by Maziar Rezvani, MD, owner of Avicenna, and is an integral part of his new practice and new approach to medicine both in his office and through corporate wellness.