In the last few years many companies, including ours, have moved to a High Deductible Health Insurance Plan. The one that is most commonly used has the acronym HSA, or Health Savings Account. Unfortunately, I have had extensive use of this account over the last few years; we have had a baby, my wife had a minor procedure, and I had reconstructive knee surgery.
A question I pose to you: Has your employer explained how to efficiently use your HSA?
What I mean by efficiently use is: Have they discussed the world of negotiation with your providers? The caveat to this is that you need to regularly fund this account so there is money to make payments, or you need to have money saved so you can make a lump sum contribution to the account if necessary.
Typically you go to the doctor, hospital, or provider and present your insurance card. You are then asked if you have a co-pay, I always say “I have an HSA, please send it through my insurance.” Your insurance provider then sends it through their system and sends you a summary of what they covered and what their negotiated rate for the service is. Next comes the fun part, bills from various providers that you must pay. Did you know that you can negotiate a lower payment on those bills with each provider after it has gone through insurance? Let me give a few examples of how this has worked:
Example one: This happened a few years ago: I received a statement for the birth of my son and it was a pretty large bill. The statement said, “Please call us and ask about our payment options.” I called and asked what those payment options were. The answer was 0% for 12 or 24 months if I made monthly payments, or 10% off now if I paid in this billing cycle. Sold, 10% now!
Example two: A couple of years ago I received a bill from the same provider as above and called to ask what my options were. Guess what? The new payment option was 20% off if paid now!!
Example three: I just had a client call last week and I discussed this HSA payment info. She said, “I will try and call them and discuss my payment options.” I received an email that night with a big smiley face that our conversation saved her over $450!
Understanding your benefits and using them efficiently can greatly benefit you financially.