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Makes sense. Thank you, Joel!

Kenny
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Is it a hassle to get reimbursed for your health expenses?

Depends on who you choose to hold the HSA funds. The last time I had an HSA, they gave me a debit card that I used to pay for qualifying health expenses. I could also log on to their web site and request a transfer to my main checking account to reimburse myself. Very easy.

--Peter
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Considering a different health care plan this year with an HSA. We've always had a traditional plan, but we may switch for the purpose of having another way to save for retirement. Is it a hassle to get reimbursed for your health expenses? We used to do FSA, but that was more hassle than it was worth to us.

If you're looking at this as a way to 'save for retirement' I'm not sure why you're worried about how easy/hard it is to get reimbursements. To 'save for retirement' it's best to put the money in the HSA and then pay any health costs out of pocket, letting the money stay in the HSA. Then, just save the receipts for what you've paid out of pocket and, in retirement, you can make tax free withdrawals based on your prior year(s) receipts.

As far as how easy/hard to take a distribution, it would depend on your administrator. The administrator for my account just lets me take the withdrawal by telling them how much for the distribution, the 'category' (i.e. Dental, Medical, Chiropractic, Lab, Dental premium, etc.) and which account to direct deposit the money to. You should ask HSA administrator that you are considering using what their process is.

Note: You do need to have receipts to back up the withdrawals in case the IRS questions your distributions.

AJ
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When I had a HSA at my former employer all you had to do is go to the hsa provider and request the money. They even direct deposit the money into your checking if you wanted. But that was with Wageworks. Not sure if that still true with HealthEquity.
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L, In general most HSA's are easy to get reimbursed from, and many offer a Debit Card that you can use at Doctor's and Pharmacies to use those funds as cash.
The HSA money reduces your taxes on the way in, and is tax free when used. Because HSA's are yours to keep you also have the option of saving into the HSA and paying extra medical with other after tax dollars. HSA will grow year over year and you will have a good amount of funds in there for unexpected emergencies. You need to be on a High Deductible Plan to save into an HSA. You can use it to get reimbursed after you change to a different plan years later.
Is the HSA with Alight also from previous posts?
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Due to my recurring health expenses, using a HSA for tax advantaged investments has been out of the question. In my case, I charge those expenses to my rewards credit card and then get direct-deposit reimbursement to my checking account to pay off the credit card bill.

Fuskie
Who wishes he were healthy enough to leverage the HSA for investment purposes...

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Who wishes he were healthy enough to leverage the HSA for investment purposes...

I get that. For those who are using the accounts to pay for current medical expenses because they don't have the cash flow to both fund an HSA and pay for medical expenses out of pocket, HSAs are still very useful tools. They allow you to get the same tax break as FSAs, but HSAs are more flexible than FSAs because they aren't 'use it or lose it' accounts, so if you have some money left over at the end of the year, you can just let it sit there for future expenses, and don't have to try to schedule another dental cleaning or get a new pair of glasses before the deadline so you don't lose the money. (BTDT)

That said, since the OP had said that they wanted to use the HSA account to 'save for retirement' it would seem to be counter-productive to use it for current medical expenses, if they can afford to pay those expenses out of pocket, without having to withdraw funds from the HSA.

AJ
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We used to do FSA, but that was more hassle than it was worth to us.

When I had an FSA, they had simplified the process from requiring paper forms with paper receipts to an online claim process with scanned copies of the receipts. A much faster an easier process. That was several years ago. I would expect that most would have updated to online claim process.

I understand that if your average expenses weren't enough or predictable enough that an FSA wouldn't be useful. Since you are considering an HSA, it is unlikely that you are deducting medical expenses.
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AJ wrote upthread: "To 'save for retirement' it's best to put the money in the HSA and then pay any health costs out of pocket, letting the money stay in the HSA. Then, just save the receipts for what you've paid out of pocket and, in retirement, you can make tax free withdrawals based on your prior year(s) receipts."

I've always thought that HSA withdrawals are based on current year medical expenses, did not know that they can be based on prior year(s) receipts.

That's good to know. Thank you, AJ.

Kenny
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I won't know who the administrator of the account will be for a couple more weeks. Last year it was Further. Now that AJ mentions it, I think most of the hassle with the FSA was due to trying to use it all up in years when we didn't have big expenses. I was entering a whole bunch of tiny prescription copay expenses trying to finish up the balance. Thanks for mentioning the ability to get reimbursed for prior year(s) expenses as long as you have the receipt. I would not have guessed they would let you do that.
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youngkey,

You wrote, I've always thought that HSA withdrawals are based on current year medical expenses, did not know that they can be based on prior year(s) receipts.

You can only go back to the date when you first established an HSA. You can't use receipts from before. However once you have established an HSA and funded it, you can use those funds for any eligible medical expenses going forward, even if you are not currently covered by a qualifying High Deductible Healthcare Plan.

- Joel
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Makes sense. Thank you, Joel!

Kenny
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Is it a hassle to get reimbursed for your health expenses?
---------
Depends on who you choose to hold the HSA funds. The last time I had an HSA, they gave me a debit card that I used to pay for qualifying health expenses. I could also log on to their web site and request a transfer to my main checking account to reimburse myself. Very easy.
--Peter

============================
Yes, similar to how my flex plan (125 plan or cafeteria plan) used to be handled when I was working. The *reimbursement* itself was immediate, using the debit card. What varied was how much documentation the 3rd party administrator would require after the fact. It seemed kind of random at first. But when I got glasses, for example, they always checked that, because I usually went to Sears Optical, and they wanted to check money spent at Sears. That's actually pretty logical.

Bill
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