Monday, October 22, 2007

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) - A great deal if you're in a high tax bracket

I've just started working for a new company. One of the health care benefits they offer is an HSA plan. Under the terms of this plan, which is a high-deductible plan, you can shield up about $6,000 a year from taxes while creating a nest egg for any potential health care costs.

Anything not spent can be used after age 70 1/2 as a de facto retirement account, thus creating some interesting opportunities for savings if you're already tapped out on your 401k and looking to shield more money from taxes.

In my case, for example, I can take the HSA Medical option, with all preventative health items covered at 100%, for about $130 per month. In addition, I can fund my HSA for co-pays, deductibles, etc.

Since contributions are pre-tax and (very important) are not "use it or lose it" funds like Flexible Spending Account (FSA) dollars, the tax savings are enormous. In my case, the combined federal + state savings is almost 40 cents on the dollar. For most folks, it's still 30-35 cents on the dollar, which make this an attractive option to say the least.

Assuming your family stays in (relatively) decent health, and you have the extra money to save, this will provide a nice enhancement to your retirement savings in future years.

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