Health Savings Accounts

I don’t know anything about them at all.  Mr. A’s COBRA insurance expires either this month or next and I was thinking maybe we should take that $145/month and put it into an HSA.

Does anyone have some pointers on HSAs?

Mr. A rarely gets sick so he’s been annoyed with me for continuing his insurance through his last employer. I just worry about catastrophic events like poor David over at Goliath Debt, David Income. Congratulations David, on your new baby! Unfortunately some medical emergencies have also brought LOTS of new debt. Very sad.

I think when Mr. A gripes at me for keeping his coverage, and I say, “But what if something happens?  Like you break a leg?” He just pshaws me and says nothing will happen. I tell him as long as there is the opportunity to have medical coverage, we’re paying for it. But of course that opportunity goes away soon. Hence the HSA.

I can see his point in not feeling he needs medical coverage. And I actually greatly dislike the allopathic community and they way they handle illness and disease. Don’t try to fix the problem, just slap some medication down, that’ll fix everything.

A patient having his blood pressure taken by a...
A patient having his blood pressure taken by a physician. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A couple of years ago I went to my primary care physician, or maybe it’s been four years now… anyway, I am certain that my thyroid is low functioning due to my basal temps being very low (as low as 96.3°F for about 2/3rds of my monthly cycle).  I told him my suspicions along with my other symptoms, and he sent me in for bloodwork.  Well, it’s common for thyroid bloodwork to come back “normal”. This is a problem where you sometimes need to be observant and treat the patient based on symptoms.

Anyway, he called me back to let me know everything was “normal” and offered to prescribe me some depression medication.

I flatly refused his offer and told him if I was depressed I’d go talk to someone about it until I felt better.


Sorry for the rant.  Now I still haven’t done a thing about my thyroid being out of whack, and in addition I believe I have adrenal fatigue.  I’m so tired most of the time I can’t even work up the gumption to find a doctor to see about my issues.  Not to mention it isn’t covered by my “normal” insurance anyway. Normal doctors don’t even see adrenal fatigue as something to treat. And in fact, you can’t just “treat” it with medicine. You have to change your way of eating, your lifestyle, get more sleep, and etc., but it can be done.

And one more thing medically related, while I’m on the topic.

I am not made of money, but in a previous post I discussed how fearful my son is of his blood being drawn.  We have not yet attempted to have any testing done, but guess what I found out?  There are tests that can be done using a SINGLE DROP OF BLOOD taken by NEARLY PAINLESS FINGER PRICK at home.  No sticking needles into a vein required.  When it comes time to have the tests done, I will have saved the money to pay for them out of pocket, since I know his insurance would never cover something so simple and easy.  Here’s the place: ZRT Testing – Bloodspot.

Okay, back to the subject at hand. Any good sites you know of where I can read up on HSAs?


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8 thoughts on “Health Savings Accounts

  1. My thyroid tests came back as ‘normal’ for years, or I’d have one with off numbers and the 2nd test would be ‘normal’. Turns out there’s a auto-immune disease of the thyroid (Hashimoto’s) where the function will fluctuate up and down for a long while, but the quicker you get on meds and get it stabilized, the better. It’s usually easier to get it diagnosed by an endochrinologist than a g.p. and a neck sonogram helps b/c they can see the nodes caused. Ask your g.p. for a referral.


    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    I have heard about Hashimoto’s. It is so hard trying to figure this all out, thank you for your suggestions! Thanks for visiting and commenting.


  2. I don’t know of any specific HSA information that’s current. For a couple of years I had an HSA, during a period when the State of U-Know-Where offered only Cigna and most of my docs refused to do business with it.

    A google search, as I recall, is what unearthed the names of some agents who were dealing with HSAs. At that time, they were just starting and it was pretty specialized. I think they’re more popular now, so it should be possible to find several insurers who are offering them. Why don’t you try calling the state insurance office? They may have a list of companies that offer HSAs.

    At the time, you had to get two things: a) a high-deductible insurance policy (the deductible was $2,500) and b) a bank that was qualified to manage an HSA savings account. Now, I think most banks can do that–at the time, I had to use one that was out of state. The idea is that you will put money in the savings account that eventually will accrue to be enough to cover the deductible. There’s a limit to the amount you can put in during a single year, and (again, at that time…) it isn’t as much as the deductible.

    The other idea is that you will pay a lot of the costs out of pocket, so that the HSA will behave a lot like an IRA, unless you come down with something really expensive that you can’t pay from cash flow or other savings. The money sits in the HSA until you either spend it on medical, dental, or vision care or you reach 65, at which time you can withdraw it and spend it on anything you like. Theoretically, you can invest it in any instruments you like. But watch out for bank handling charges, which I found to be exorbitant.

    You can spend the HSA money on the same sorts of things you can buy on a Flex plan, so it also can be used to cover dental work and glasses.

    The policy I got covered any doctor, including chiropractors and similar marginal practitioners. Once you exceeded a maximum, it covered costs 100 percent. So it functioned as very efficient catastrophic insurance but didn’t cover ordinary day-to-day medical costs.

    Soon, though, I learned that when doctors know you’re paying out of pocket, they often will lower their charges. Many are thrilled to take cash instead of having to do battle with an insurance company. Turns out that routine gynecological care, for example, can be fairly affordable if you’re willing to negotiate with your doctor or nurse practitioner.

    Y’know…if your feet hit the ground running at 3 in the morning, it’s no wonder you feel tired. That’s not a pathology: you’re supposed to feel tired when you don’t get enough sleep. I also rarely sleep much past 4:00 a.m. Part of it is the unholy heat we’ve been having…even with the AC pounding away, it’s too hot to sleep comfortably. The dog in the sack doesn’t help much, either…last night she woke me up when she had a dogmare.

    If Benadryl doesn’t wire you up (as it does to some people), try getting some of the cheaper generic version and dropping a couple of them right before bed. I find it keeps me asleep until 5:00 or 6:00 a.m. But don’t use it regularly: your bod’ gets acclimated to it and then it doesn’t work. Even one or two nights of decent sleep makes an enormous difference in the way a person feels.


    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    Hi Funny, thanks for such a great response to my post. Actually I can’t sleep in until 5 or 6 am because I have to leave the house at 5am to be to work at 6. I am able to get seven hours of sleep each night, and make a point to get to bed early enough to get that. My back won’t allow me to sleep longer than 7.5 hours as it stiffens to the point where it’s aching so badly that I have to get out of bed and into an upright or seated position for a few hours until it relaxes. The thing you say about doctors charging less when you don’t have insurance is what Mr. A has found to be true, and a big reason why he hates having insurance. One time we both went to a podiatrist – at different times. He went to his appointment first – with no insurance. The doctor looked at his feet, pronounced that he had plantar fasciitis, and a high arch, gave him some shoe inserts and charged us $50. I had my appointment about a month later. Same doctor, same diagnosis, same inserts, but he wanted to schedule me for a bunch more tests, and my co-pay was $40. You know they billed the insurance company on top of that. Plus, I had to go to to my primary care physician initially (in person) and pay $20 co-pay to him, to get the appointment to the podiatrist! Thank you for all the information, I really appreciate your input!


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