How to Use a HSA

Even with insurance coverage, many families struggle to pay for their health care. Insurance companies deny charges from out-of-network providers, increase deductibles and copayment amounts leaving many people with higher out-of-pocket expenses. Many people choose to invest in a health savings account, or an HSA. Health savings accounts refer to bank accounts designed to pay medical expenses while providing tax benefits to the consumer. Consumers who purchase high deductible insurance coverage, or insurance coverage with a minimum deductible of $1,200 for one person, qualify to open a health savings account. The consumer who invests in a health savings account needs to understand how to use the account or access the money when needed.

Read the account rules. Every bank provides the account holder with specific information regarding her account. Some accounts require the account holder to maintain a minimum balance or incur service charges. Other accounts only allow the account holder to access the funds in specific ways. If any rules appear unclear, call the bank and ask for clarification.

Incur medical expenses. The money invested in a health savings account remains tax free as long as the account holder uses the money to pay for unreimbursed medical expenses. Visit your doctor for your annual physical or when you don’t feel well.

Request reimbursement. After you receive the bill from your doctor, you need to pay for the service. One way to pay for the service involves using your personal credit card or checking account. After paying for the service, request a reimbursement from the bank. Many companies allow you to access this function online. Others require you to complete a paper form and mail it in.

Pay with a debit card. Many banks provide the account holder with a debit card to use. The debit card works similar to a credit card when paying for services from a medical provider. Call your medical provider and provide her with the card number and expiration date.

Request a check to be mailed to the provider. You may also request the bank to mail a check directly to your medical provider. Call your bank or access the account online. Provide the bank with the name of the provider, the mailing address and your account number. The bank will mail out the check.