Later this year, I am getting married. Once we are married, I will cancel my health insurance and go onto my wife's plan. Overall, this will give us the best combination of benefits and cost.
Since I did not expect any large healthcare charges before the marriage, I elected to sign up for my company's HSA instead of the traditional plan. By combining my contributions with my company's funding of the HSA balance, I expected to save money on premiums and end up with a small balance in my HSA when I switch plans.
Unfortunately, I had an unexpected trip to the hospital for emergency surgery and even had to spend the night in the place. In terms of cost – that is gonna leave a mark. I figure I will have to come up with the entire deductible (I think $1,200) + 20% of everything above that up to $2,400.
Despite my bad outcome, I still think a HSA is a good choice for many single people. Had I been in the plan a few years, I would certainly have had enough money saved in my HSA account to pay off the entire deductible.
If you have an HSA, I would recommend the following strategy:
- Do not tap your HSA for small, infrequent charges such as a one off doctor visit (cold, flu, etc) or a one off prescription.
- Build up the HSA balance to the deductible amount so any large loss (such as a hospital visit or surgery) doesn't impact your normal lifestyle. Remember, this fund is for emergencies, not a $10 prescription for generic antibiotics.