Recently I offered some suggestions on how to save money by being healthy. Those who are in good health and have created healthy lifestyle habits, spend less money on medically-related expenses. Their primary interest in health insurance is protection against any unexpected major illnesses or serious accidents. Because they do not need to see their doctor often, they can choose a higher deductible health plan, and save money through lower monthly premiums. (Those “Copays” for office visits and prescription drugs increase the monthly cost, too!)
Did you know you can also save money by lowering your taxes at the same time? There are major medical insurance plans that allow you to do both; offering you lower monthly premiums AND helping you lower your taxable income! Commonly called Health Savings Accounts or HSA’s, they are used to pay for future medical expenses. You can deduct your contributions on your Federal Income Tax Return, even if you do not itemize! Distributions may be tax-free if you pay for qualified medical expenses. Many local banks can show you how easy it is to open one of their HSA’s, and provide you with more details. To learn more about HSA guidelines, see IRS Publication 969.
You will also need to choose an “HDHP”, or High Deductible Health Plan to work with your HSA. You can compare the benefits of different “HSA-Qualified High Deductible Health Plans” to determine which one best suits your needs and budget. A licensed independent health insurance agent can help you select an HDHP from a variety of plans that are available through many different insurance companies. Remember to keep your existing health insurance coverage in force until your new HDHP has been issued.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle plays a big role in keeping your medical costs down. It is wise to avoid excessive use of alcohol and tobacco since those habits can lead to many health problems over time. Regular exercise can reduce body fat, lower blood pressure, and help you to release stress. We all know the importance of eating a balanced diet, taking supplements, drinking purified water, getting enough sleep, and brushing our teeth. Did you know that poor oral hygiene can lead to cardiovascular disease and stroke? In my next article, we’ll discuss how vital your dental health is!