Why is Obamacare Taking Away my HSA?

Why is Obamacare Taking Away my HSA - picture of stethoscope with question mark

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A few weeks ago, I wrote about how my family’s health insurance premiums will double (at the very least) under the new healthcare law known as the Affordable Care Act.  Since then, I’ve been doing a lot more research on different plans and scenarios as I try to find ways to reign in our costs.  And I’ve tried to see the bright side of things.  After all, we can afford the almost $400 per month increase in premiums.  We can also write them off as a business expense, which is a nice perk.  On top of that, since we’ll sign up for a high deductible plan, we can continue using a health savings account (HSA) to pay for our healthcare costs with after-tax dollars…..or so I thought……

First of all, let’s start with the plan I have now and the cheapest plan available in the exchange.

My Current Plan:

  • Anthem with an $11,000 deductible
  • covers 100% after the deductible is met
  • $377 per month

Cheapest Plan on Exchange:

  • Anthem plan with a $10,000 deductible
  • covers 60% after deductible is met with an out-of-pocket max of $12,700
  • $738 per month

Ouch!  As you can see, my premiums will double under the Affordable Care Act.  Furthermore, I will actually end up with a maximum out-of-pocket that is about $1,700 higher than what it is now.

However, the pain doesn’t stop there.  After a little more digging, I noticed that the cheapest plan said it wasn’t compatible with a health savings account.  And I thought that was really weird since the deductible was $10,000!  After all, I thought that health savings accounts were supposed to be available for plans with at least a $2,500 deductible.  Here’s what I dug up after some research at ehealthinsurance.com and irs.gov:

The High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) required deductibles for an HSA did not change from 2013 to 2014:

  • $1,250 for self-only coverage
  • $2,500 for family coverage

The annual out-of-pocket expenses include deductibles, co-payments, and other amounts, but not premiums. The 2014 out-of-pocket maximums are:

  • $6,350 for self-only coverage (up $100 from 2013)
  • $12,700 for family coverage (up $200 from 2013)

Then I was really confused.  So, armed with my questions, I called the healthcare.gov hotline to get some answers.

Is Obamacare Taking Away my HSA?

Unfortunately, they couldn’t give me any.  After escalating my question to two different departments, they stated that they would have to call me back an answer in the next 2-5 business days.  Awesome.  Fortunately, my digging didn’t stop there.  I started an online chat with ehealthinsurance.com a few hours later, hoping that they could answer my question.  And they did……kind’ve. 

You are now chatting with Gabriella. Welcome to eHealthInsurance’s live chat service. How can I help you today?

Holly: hi

Holly: I have a question.

Holly: I’m looking at the plans available to me. There are 16 plans. However, only three of them say they are eligible for an HSA.

Holly: Why aren’t the others ones eligible for a health savings account when they are high deductible?

Gabriella: it depends on the carrier. they have the right to make the plan eligible or not.

Holly: So, the carrier can make the plan ineligible even if it is a high deductible plan?

Holly: Can someone go out and get their own HSA to correspond with the plan?

Gabriella: I’m afraid not.

Gabriella: you will have to select a plan that are eligible for HSA first.

Holly: So, even a plan with a $10,000 deductible cannot use an HSA unless the carrier permits it?

Gabriella: You have some very important and specific questions. It would be best for you to give us a call at (800) 977-8860 and one of our licensed representatives can discuss your questions in greater detail.

Gabriella: We are open now

So, I called the ehealthinsurance.com and spoke to a customer service agent.  What he said was this: “Some of the high deductible plans aren’t required to be HSA-compatible because they don’t meet certain guidelines.”  However, he couldn’t explain what those guidelines were.

How This Affects Me (And You)

In the state of Indiana, very few health insurance providers are participating in the exchange.  Because of that, we are only able to choose between eighteen plans at healthcare.gov.  However, when you take out all of the plans that aren’t HSA-compatible, we only have three plans to choose from.  Or, you know, we could always choose one of the other high-deductible plans and pay all of our healthcare costs with after-tax dollars.  Let that sink in for a minute.

So, in a country as big as the U.S., in a state as populous as Indiana, a family of four gets to choose between three plans that are eligible for a health savings account.  THREE PLANS!  Honestly, it’s bad enough that our premiums will double and that we have to pay the full, unsubsidized amount.  But it’s absolutely insane and corrupt to only allow consumers the choice of three plans that have the benefit of a health savings account.

In case you’re interested, here are the three whopping plans available to us.  As you can see, we get to choose between Anthem, Anthem, or Anthem.  (I know, I know.  I’m simply overwhelmed by all of these choices!)

Anthem Bronze DirectAccess w/HSA

  • Deductible: $12,600
  • Maximum Out-of-Pocket: $12,700
  • Monthly Premium: $744.69

Anthem Bronze DirectAccess w/HSA

  • Deductible: $9,000
  • Maximum Out-of-Pocket: $12,700
  • Monthly Premium: $752.05

Anthem Silver DirectAccess w/HSA

  • Deductible: $6,000
  • Maximum Out-of-Pocket: $7,200
  • Monthly Premium: $921.85

Honestly, I feel lied to in so many waysRemember all of the healthcare reform talking points?  When healthcare reform was sold to the American public, we were told that “if you like your plan, you can keep it.”  Same thing with your doctor.  We were also told that competition would bring prices down (LOL) and my hands-down absolute FAVE:

“I will sign a universal health care bill into law by the end of my first term as president that will cover every American and cut the cost of a typical family’s premium by up to $2,500 a year.”

It would be downright hilarious if it weren’t so tragic. 

UPDATE***  After spending Thursday night searching for more HSA-eligible plans, I did find two more that were available in Indiana.  Unfortunately, they both cost about THREE TIMES what I’m currently paying.  Here are the two additional plans:

Humana National Preferred Bronze 6300/6300 Plan with Children’s Dental

  • Deductible: $12,600
  • Maximum Out-of-Pocket: $12,600
  • Premium: $936.46 per month

Humana National Preferred Silver 3650/3650 Plan with Children’s Dental

  • Deductible: $7,300
  • Maximum Out-of-pocket: $7,300
  • Premium: $1,082.76 per month

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  1. Kate Mielitz says:

    I, fortunately, don’t have to worry about the health care changes because we have coverage through my husband who is Active Duty. I do, however, have clients and at least one employee (whom I supervise) that this whole thing may drastically affect. Thank you for your insights and work on this. Will share via Twitter and help spread the word.

  2. Holly, are there off-exchange plans that would offer you better coverage, by chance? I know that in my state there are some plans available directly from carriers that aren’t on the exchange, the downside is that you aren’t eligible for a subsidy with them (which doesn’t apply to you). Just a thought.

    1. My state didn’t create its own exchange, unfortunately. I can shop on ehealthinsurance.com as well but I was only offered 16 plans (same ones) on there instead of the 18 on the exchange.

      1. Hi Holly
        I’ve read your article and I’m totally on your side.! It is outrages.. How unaffordable Affordable Care Act became. I work for an insurance company that offers health insurance plans off exchange. I can certainly look for some options for you. We sell in 41 states (including Indiana) but cover you in all 50, in a PPO network. I would be happy to talk to show you some options we have.

    2. I was wondering about that too. I know Aetna was originally on the NY exchange but pulled out at the last minute. They still offer plans in our state, just not on the exchange.

  3. That’s crazy. Every time I see one of these stories I get more and more grateful that we haven’t had to deal with any of this BS because our employers are insulating us from it for the time being.

  4. I think when a politician sells something to his constituents without explaining how it’ll be paid for, it’s because he expects part of his constituency will have to pay for it and didn’t want to draw attention to that fact.

    With the median income of the US American household in the $50-60k range, a family of four is eligible for subsidies. That means that half of America, assuming they are in a nuclear family situation, are subsidized.

    Further, the very nature of the ACA is to lower costs of high cost individuals (such as the unhealthy, overweight, older population), who will also see their premiums go down as those costs are “spread around.”

    Thus, the net is “most” people will see lower or subsidized premiums.

    The lies about keeping your plan and doctor, I’m sure, were unintentional mistakes made by someone who had only read the cliff notes version of the ACA.

    Thank you for sharing your experiences with the exchanges. I suspect we’ll all be sharing them in a couple years time.

  5. That’s crazy…it seems then that health care costs will be something people will consider more strongly if they are covered by a plan before jumping out on their own.

    I think you should buy protective bubble wrap for your children and Lysol the crap out of the daycare…God forbid you actually have to use your plan.

    1. Good idea!

      In all seriousness, I don’t mind paying for healthcare. I don’t even mind having a 10K deductible. What I do mind is only having three plans to choose from.

  6. It’s getting a bit out of hand how expensive the plans are. I don’t see why they campaigned on it being both affordable as well as bringing everyone into the insurance pool. You can’t have it both ways and I wish those pushing the bill would have been honest about the fact that the cost of insurance would inevitably go up.

    The HSA situation is so ridiculous! I don’t understand why you can’t just choose to open one on your own. It makes so much sense. It gives incentive to save for health expenses – who WOULDN’T support that policy? *sigh*.

    1. I know! There were ten plans that were high deductible but not compatible with an HSA. Who wants a $12,000 deductible without an HSA?

    2. My wish, as an ordinary healthcare worker is, that every voter would have gotten away from American Idol & Dancing With the Stars, and used that time to research ACA, the President, and his Administration, before voting for this Liar, TWICE.
      How could anyone with a pulse not understand that the waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare ALONE, would be exponentially increased with an even more expanded government health program?
      We have the government we deserve now. I don’t want to hear any complaints, only praises for this Administration who gave you what you voted for.

      1. I don’t necessarily think that’s fair. I know a lot of people who took time to educate themselves on the ACA, at least within their own abilities. The problem is that millions of people were at the very least misled, maybe even lied to. It’s very difficult to find accurate information about the administration, then and now.

        I caution you to not let your mind shut down. Saying things like “I don’t want to hear any complaints, only praises for this Administration who gave you what you voted for….” will not lead to any solutions in any way, shape, or form.

  7. Wow, Holly. This is exactly my beef with this whole thing – we were promised one thing, and delivered something entirely different. This plan was supposed to “help Americans have affordable coverage”, yet, it’s slated to make us all broke. We, too, are insulated from more than a slightly rising cost, thanks to Rick’s employer, but I wonder how long this will last as well.

      1. Gosh, amen, Laurie! I feel exactly the way you do! The entire system does not appear to be set up in a responsible or even adequate way. Other countries do manage a universal healthcare system, yet our set up doesn’t resemble anything like theirs. This has been a very half-way approach, it seems.

        Every online calculator that I found where I tried to calculate what I would have to pay shows my deductible going up about 4 times what I pay now and despite there supposedly being subsidies for up to 400% of the poverty level, and the fact that I am well within that window, the website kept telling me I didn’t actually qualify for any subsidy. If my current employer weren’t shielding me from this, I would almost certainly be paying the fine to be uninsured this year. It also adds to the very short list of big, important reasons to stay in a job I’m very unhappy with.

        1. First of all, most countries do have universal healthcare, unfortunately Tea Party folks made that impossible (keep your government hands of off my medicare), second the number of well honestly mostly Republican Governors that refused to set up their state exchanges or accept expanded medicaid made the numbers skew in such a way that the INSURANCE companies took advantage by arguing that they were only getting the sick and not the young therefore up goes the monthly bill. When the President said you could keep your insurance, he didn’t realize just how many insurance company’s were screwing their holders out of actual insurance. If everyone stopped complaining about the current state of Insurance company’s having you over their lap and pushed for the original idea of medicare for all (or whatever universal health care would have been called) Maybe we’d actually get politics out of it and provide healthcare for our citizens.

  8. These are still better deals than my employer provided insurance. I also have to wonder if the insurance company would be getting rid of your plan anyway and is using aca as an excuse. Given that it is likely that the extension legislation is going to pass, you will find out. Don’t you have a year grace period even without the additional extension (if you don’t that is your insurer’s choice and not bc of the aca)? During that time a lot is going to change.

    1. My plan doesn’t expire until next year…which I’m truly grateful for! I do hope that more insurers join the pool by next year. Right now its’ basically Anthem and one other that I haven’t heard of.

      At the same time, there are plenty of people in Indiana (and elsewhere) who are going to find themselves in a $10,000 deductible plan without the privilege of using an HSA. What if the few HSA plans available aren’t accepted by their doctor?

      All this does is limit options for people, especially people who are responsible and save for their expenses in an HSA. Why should I only have THREE choices to choose from? And, I pity the family who signs up for the non-HSA plans with a 10K or 12K deductible without realizing it (it took me a few weeks to notice it)

  9. This is one area I feel incredibly ignorant. My employer doesn’t require us to pay for our insurance (our pay is just lower than industry standards to compensate), so I haven’t had to deal with much yet. However, a few of my co-workers have started to get rejected by their regular doctors who are no longer accepting our Aetna insurance (which really confuses me).

    This break down, as you said, is absolutely tragic. I’ve been saying from the beginning that the US can’t function like Europe (or Canada) and I guess we’re finally seeing that’s true.

    1. I’m glad you have insurance through your employer!

    2. But I don’t think this is an issue of functioning like Canada or Europe. I have been watching from the outside looking in (Canadian here) and I don’t understand the way the US is trying to roll out affordable, universal healthcare. Canada functions in that we don’t choose a plan, or worry about deductibles – it is just covered from taxes. We can have additional coverage for prescription co-pays, etc, but otherwise it is just across the board. Yes we are paying for it via the taxes, and the higher your income the more you pay (yay marginal taxes), but there is no concern about deductibles being high, and resulting in potentially tiered care.

        1. Wait. “A dream come true”? What is the Canadian tax rate and cost of living? Why is health care rationed in Canada?Why do Canadians come to Univ. Of ND, Cleveland Clinic and other US hospitals for heart surgeries, hip /knee replacements, cancer treatment, diabetes care, infertility procedures, etc all paid out of pocket? How long are waiting lines in Canadian ED’s and who has priority? Why are there private health clinics and surgery centers in Canada? (And Mexico, other Socialist nations) Two tier health systems for the elites and elite nots.

          1. As someone who will pay almost $800 per month for a plan and still have a 10K deductible under the ACA, that really does sound like a dream come true. We don’t have any health problems…we rarely even have a cold. All we want is cheap insurance to protect us from an unforeseeable accident or sickness.

          2. Yes, taxes in Canada are higher, but we have no large deductibles or insurance companies to deal with here. I have no clue what you mean about rationing care. If I get sick, I go to my family doctor. If I’m super sick, I go to the outpatient clinic to get treatment the same day so I don’t have to wait. I don’t pay anything. If I break my arm, I go to the emergency room. I have to wait like 8 hours if it’s not life threatening/extremely painful, but I get seen at no additional out of pocket cost to myself. Also no cost or significant waiting periods for subsequent appointments. The same goes for pregnancies, etc.

            For chronic health issues, (hip/knee issues, stomach stapling surgery, etc) which are the ones that rich Canadians go out of the country to get care for, you tend to have to wait awhile for things like surgeries, tests and diagnostics. For issues that are chronic and don’t pose an immediate threat to your well being, yes, you have to wait your turn with everyone else, there’s no skipping the line because you’re rich. If you are really sick in Canada, you jump the line.

            The whole concept of having to deal with insurance companies just seems like an extra unnecessary step to me. Get rid of them, go directly to the health care providers, everyone pays for everyone through increased taxes, everyone gets coverage, no exceptions.

          3. I was visiting Canada when I had a miscarriage. I went into the hospital and they saw me all I had to do was give them my home address. They did an ultrasound of my abdomen to confirm the miscarriage and since I was in the middle of it they kept me overnight in the hospital. They let my husband stay I the room with me. They all treated me with compassion and humanity. About two months later I received a bill for $265. $265 to have a Doctor examine me, do an ultra sound and watch me overnight and they fed us, both of us. No waiting involved. It is about the health of the individual and the country and not about money.

          4. That would never happen in the U.S.! You would probably get a $5,000 bill =(

  10. Does Greg have access to a health plan at work? Have you considered taking your chances and paying the penalty and just paying for everything out of pocket and then if something looks really bad sign up for healthcare since you can’t be denied for a pre-existing condition? Personally I would do the out of pocket/pay the penalty route myself, but since I have a kid I don’t see it as an option and I am guess you feel the same too.

    1. The funeral industry is known for not having group plans because most of them are only run by a handful of people. In Greg’s case, most of his coworkers get insurance through their spouses or through the county coroner’s office. Greg may be able to start working for the county coroner at some point for insurance…but not yet.

      I don’t want to go the penalty route since I have kids. I feel an obligation to protect them and everything we’re worked for. If I didn’t have kids, I would seriously consider it.

  11. Tara @ Streets Ahead Living says:

    I’m confused, why doesn’t your state have your own exchange? Is that for political reasons? In our state of NY, premiums did go down significantly from what they were before but we do have our own exchange. I have great insurance through my job so I don’t have this issue but my dad is a contract employee in NY state so he’s had to use the exchange.

    1. My state didn’t do its own exchange. Why? Your guess is as good as mine!
      I don’t follow the news every day so I’m not sure why Indiana didn’t do its own exchange. I do know that a lot of states didn’t though.

    2. The drop in prices actually has nothing to do with having our own exchange.

      NY is unique in that we already had guaranteed issue, mandatory maternity coverage, and a number of other regulations that other states didn’t before Obamacare. We’re also unique in that medical underwriting is illegal, so everyone pays the same premiums regardless of age, gender, lifestyle, pre-existing conditions, etc. (Great for sick people, terrible for everyone else.)

      These types of laws price young, healthy people out of the market. So the individual mandate is actually the reason why our premiums dropped.

  12. Wow Holly, thanks for such an in depth post. It’s a shame you have to do it though. 🙂 I saw your comment over at Kim’s site yesterday and just had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. It seems like we’re a little better off here in Nebraska, but not by much at all. It just seems like the politicians worked together to make a law so ass-backwards, lie to us and then not communicate clearly what on earth we’re in for.

    We were watching the Bill Maher show last Friday night and they talked about your last point quite a bit. He said something that really resonated with me – that the whole “you can keep your plan” pledge is no different than the elder Bush saying “Read my lips…no new taxes”. You’re exactly right, this would be hysterical if it wasn’t so sad.

    1. Yep!

      Just make sure that your new plan is HSA compatible when you buy it. I thought it was so weird to see 8K, 10K, and 12K deductible plans where you couldn’t have an HSA. And you have to read the fine print to find it….it isn’t very obvious. I basically had to snoop around and make phone calls to get to the bottom of it.

  13. You mentioned Indiana….it’s amazing the reports on differences between how exchanges are working in “Republican” states and those in “Democrat” states. Because the state gets to decide how to roll out their end of the deal, I’m not surprised that your “Republican” state of Indiana is trashing the exchange. That’s not Republican bashing….it would be the same if you lived in a Democrat state and this was a Republican-guided program.

    1. Oh, I’m sure it has something to do with politics.

      But, tell me, who in their right mind would sign up for a plan with a 10K deductible without being able to use an HSA? What kind of insanity is that?

    2. Hi. Well, our “Republican” state of Ohio signed onto the exchange with Jarrett’s influence because along with signing onto ACA, Medicaid is expanded as a stipulation, with the “promise” to the Governor that Fed tax dollar will cover 90-100% of that funding. Caveat: Woopsie, state taxpayer, doesn’t say for how many years our Fed gov’t will pick up that tab.With the way the “shovel ready stimulus jobs” are going and our economy, along with those “promises” – my guess is it won’t be long before Federal government dumps on ACA states to foot the bill for increases Medicaid recipients.
      The governors who chose for their constituents not to go along with the exchanges, felt they were helping state to stay fiscally sound for its taxpayers benefit.

    3. You’re exactly right AverageJoe, I’m in Indiana too and from what I could tell leading up to the ACA it seemed like Indiana was going to turn this into a pissing contest. Unfortunately they tend to forget that it doesn’t affect them but it does certainly affect the average citizen.

      Friends and family in DE/MD have come up with some great prices with average and above average incomes and I don’t recall any of their governors acting like Pence and being 3 yr old toddler having a temper tantrum about it.. Sigh..

      1. Was it the Indiana politicians that lied to everyone? I guess I missed that part. I think it was the president who said several times we could keep our own plans and our doctors. Obama also said no new taxes for households making less than 250k.

        1. Each state gets to regulate it’s own insurance market under the ACA. Even with the Feds running the Exchanges in states that chose not to do a web site your state Insurance Department is responsible for the plans you can chose from. Healthcare.gov is only a “gateway” to you state insurance companies. So if you don’t like your rates ask you state Insurance Commission.

          My state has done it own Exchange and we have a pretty good Insurance Commission. I’ve had an HSA high deductible plan for years now. I believe it is the lowest cost plan in my state that would cover expenses if I got sick. I’ve had it so long that I am Grandfathered and I have been informed that my 2014 rate will be $502 per month. The letter from the carrier also reminded me that this plan is not subject to any rules of the ACA so should my health status change they can raise my rate. This happen to me 8 years ago when if had an outpatient surgery. My rate skyrocketed for 2 years. My agent suggested that I applies for the HSA high deductible and after an interview I was approved for the lowest rate.

          Shopping in our Exchange I find I can get a Bronze HSA PPO from the same carrier with both in network and out of network coverage and a lower deductible for $1 per day more. No subsidy involved. To have the peace of mind of not having my rate rise should my health change I’ll be buying Obamacare to start Jan 1. The guaranteed rate is the most important feature for me.

  14. First off, I’m sorry this is so frustrating for you. I would feel exactly the same way if I were in your situation.

    But I will say that I wouldn’t necessarily extrapolate your experience to that of the general public. I see your promise at the end, and I think a couple of things. First of all, the fact that your premiums are increasing doesn’t meant that it’s the same for everyone. You might not be the “typical” family he’s talking about. Second, I think it takes some time for these things to fall into place. I’m not arguing that it will definitely deliver in the future, just that it’s not necessarily reasonable to expect it to deliver immediately. There are a lot of kinks to work out and only time will tell if they are.

    Lastly, while I again understand the frustration about the HSA, and again I would feel the same way, I’m not sure I agree that it’s “corrupt” to not give tax breaks. I would like the guidelines to be clear and consistent, but I’m not sure why there should inherently be tax breaks involved in health insurance, no matter what the deductible or out-of-pocket costs.

    With all of that said, if promises were made that turn out over the long-term turn out to have been lies, there’s obviously something really wrong there. We’ll see how it all shakes out over the next several years.

    1. Honestly, your comment is part of what makes me mad about the whole thing. People who aren’t affected by any of this are quick to say “well, things are great for me” or “well, I know people that are benefiting from the ACA, etc.”

      Of course some people are benefiting, specifically people who are getting expanded Medicaid or heavily subsidized premiums.

      But, I’m extremely tired of people acting like I shouldn’t have the right to complain for some reason.

      Is it corrupt to only allow three plans that offer an HSA? Maybe, maybe not. I do think it’s crazy though that a family in Indiana only gets to choose between three plans that offer an HSA. Will more plans begin offering coverage in Indiana at a certain point? I hope so!

      1. I never said you don’t have the right to complain. You have every right to do so, and again I would feel the exact same way if I was in your situation. As a democracy we need people to voice their opinions (freedom of speech and all of that), so I fully support you doing so.

        My comment is just that I don’t think we can make big conclusions about it one way or the other based on either a single experience or on such a short time frame. The fact that I’m unaffected doesn’t mean it’s fine, and the fact that you’re negatively affected doesn’t mean it’s an atrocity. It may very well turn out to be one or the other, or somewhere in between. Only the entire population’s experience over an extended period of time will tell.

        And no, I don’t think it’s corrupt to only offer 3 HSAs. Until very recently they didn’t exist at all. It’s a tax break that would seem to disproportionately benefit people who are generally healthy and have enough money to be able to contribute. I very much like them as a financial tool, but it’s not like I think we should be requiring them in the Constitution or anything. It’s very similar to 401k’s and IRA’s. I would be upset to see them go, and I would argue that it would be a poor decision, but I wouldn’t say it was corrupt. There’s no requirement that the government give us tax breaks, and in general I think we have too many of them as is.

        1. HSAs are just a tool that encourages people to save for their healthcare. By limiting health plans that are HSA-eligible, we’re just taking away people’s incentive to save. And for people like me, its just limiting my options of choice since there is no way I would pick a plan with a 10K deductible without an HSA. Remember when the marketplace was supposed to offer all kinds of competition and choice for consumers? It certainly doesn’t appear that that is the case in Indiana (at lease so far).

          I do agree with you that results are varying from person to person and from state to state. It seems like the most benefits are being doled out to the people who earn the least while high earners are getting the short end of the stick. I actually think that’s the way it should be for the most part. The more you earn, the more you pay.
          My frustration doesn’t just come from that, though. Yesterday I read a news story about a woman whose subsidy was more than her premiums so she went ahead and upgraded to a plan with dental and vision. I have never had dental or vision in my life!

          1. I 100% agree with you on the value of HSAs. I’ve been wishing for years that I could get on a plan that would allow one, and I think they’re a really great tool. I would love to see the option more widely available to the general public. My only issue was with calling it corrupt that it’s not. Inept or short-sighted I could get behind, but I would still give it some time to work itself out.

            We’re also in agreement that to this point things have clearly not been handled as efficiently as they could have been. Part of the problem with offering benefits to people that need them is that you also give them to people who don’t. That’s frustrating, especially when you’re a normal person like yourself who makes decent money and watches her premiums more than double. That sucks, I get it. I have no idea whether Obamacare will turn out to be the right answer, or at least a better answer. I have plenty of my own doubts. In general though, I’m resistant to making quick judgments on something that hasn’t had a chance to really breathe.

          2. Actually, I would venture to say that the whole healthcare law is corrupt. It’s been widely reported that the health insurance companies played a huge role in writing the law in the first place. Have you seen the Frontline documentary about it? “Obama’s Deal?”
            Why are for-profit companies writing laws in this country? If you ask me, that really is the definition of corruption.

            I actually think (as well as many others) that the law will get worse as time goes by, not better. When young healthy people choose to pay the penalty instead of buy a plan, the whole thing will fall apart.

            Of course, I hope that I’m wrong and that it will magically all fix itself if we give it a year or two. But I also know that it’s easy to say “just give it time” when you haven’t been personally affected.

  15. According to the Obama administration these changes were not prompted by the new law. It’s the insurance company’s fault for allowing you to buy substandard plans in the first place.

    HSA plans do require far more administration, which may explain why some high deductible plans don’t include this feature.

    1. The cheap insurance ($377 per month) I still have is actually really good. It’s with Anthem…yes it does have an 11K deductible but it covers everything 100% after that. I don’t think its substandard at all. Sure, I would prefer a lower deductible…but I won’t get that through the exchange without paying triple what I’m paying now.

    2. Of course, we can all blindly accept the Obama Administration explanation for people ( abt. 4 million to date) currently struggling with insurance policy loss.
      I’m s h o c k e d Obama didn’t say that somehow, its Bush’s fault? So now, he’s using the Insurances fault HE WORKED with on ACA!
      Why isn’t anyone connecting the dots? “We must pass this bill, before we can know what’s in the bill.” – former Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi

      1. The thing is even the old system did not work for everone

  16. Wow! That sucks. The government is very sneaky. They always sell something and switch out for something else. So sad.

  17. Ugh. I was curious about this too, but this is my first time buying off the individual market, so I wasn’t sure if not being eligible for an HSA was “par for the course” when you’re not going through an employer.

    Related Question: We can still deduct medical costs over 7.5% of income, right? It’s still not as good as an HSA, but better than nothing.

    1. “For many years, this percentage has been 7.5%. Thus, for example, if your AGI was $100,000, you could deduct your medical expenses as an itemized deduction only if, and to the extent, they exceed $7,500.

      However, as a result of the Obamacare reforms, starting in 2013, the AGI percentage threshold has gone up to 10% (except for people 65 and over, who will be exempt from the increase until 2017). This will make it much more difficult to qualify for the deduction. For example, if your AGI is $100,000, you’ll be able to deduct medical expenses only if, and to the extent, they exceed $10,000.

      Example: Al is an employee whose AGI for 2013 is $100,000. He pays $10,100 out of his own pocket for health insurance and uninsured medical expenses for the year for himself and his wife. For Al to deduct any medical expenses, they need to exceed 10% of his AGI, which is $10,000 (10% × $100,000 = 10,000). Because he paid a total of $10,100 in medical expenses for the year, he can deduct only $100. The other $10,00 in medical expenses cannot be deducted.”

      1. Hmm. I wonder if it has to do with the fact that Obamacare caps premiums at 9.5% of your income. So anything you pay above that “affordable” level would be deductible, right? (meaning individual premiums would be taxable but your out-of-pocket expenses wouldn’t)

        1. Hey Sarah,

          Unfortunately, the 9.5% rule only applies to people under 400% of federal poverty limit. Since we make over the limit, that rule doesn’t apply to us and we have no protection in terms of the percentage of our income we can be required to pay.


          “For households with income between 100 percent and 133 percent of the poverty level, for example, insurance premiums are capped at 2 percent of household income. From there, the cap gradually rises until it tops out at 9.5 percent of income for households making between 300 percent and 400 percent of the poverty level. For households with incomes over 400 percent of FPL—even just $1 over, according to the IRS—there is no cap on the percentage of their income they can be made to pay for their Obamacare-mandated health-insurance premiums. “

        2. So, basically:

          People who make over 94K get no subsidies and no protection in terms of how much they can pay either.

          1. True, but your new premiums ($738/month) are still well below 9.5% of AGI even without a cap. You could pay more than that if you went with a richer plan, but you had the choice not to.

            On the other hand, someone below 400% of the FPL is pretty much required to pay 9.5% of their income towards health insurance premiums since the subsidies tend to put them right at that level (and no lower).

            Another thing I found out while perusing the exchange plans is that, even if you’re eligible for a couple hundred dollars in subsidies, you aren’t allowed to apply them to a catastrophic plan (only Bronze and above). Booo.

          2. Actually, I am staying on my current plan until it expires. I haven’t signed up or “made the choice not to” yet. And the point isn’t even what’s available NOW. It’s the fact that we have no protection in terms of percentage in the future, you know for the rest of my life. If it all goes to hell five or ten years from now, I don’t have a percentage I can point to that I am only required to pay. I have no protection now or in the future.

            “On the other hand, someone below 400% of the FPL is pretty much required to pay 9.5% of their income towards health insurance premiums since the subsidies tend to put them right at that level (and no lower).”

            Actually, that is not at all true. Many people getting subsidies are getting free or almost-free insurance that costs nowhere near 9.5% of their income. That may get truer as people get closer to the 400% of federal poverty limit level, though.

            I know very little about the catastrophic plans. I stopped reading when I read that they were only available for people under 30 (I’m not!) =)

          3. I definitely understand the concern about future prices rising. That’s going to be a major issue if the government can’t convince enough young/healthy people to buy their own policies.

            As for the subsidy issue, I can see where you’re coming from. My guess is that the people who get “free or almost-free insurance” are either getting it through Medicaid, or fall under the 2% cap you mentioned above. Beyond that point, the federal subsidies are a flat amount that allow you to buy a Silver plan for exactly 9.5% of AGI. You could get a Bronze plan for less than that, or a Gold plan for more than that… but even the cheaper options will cost at least 8% of your income.

            In our case, even if we take the full subsidy, a Bronze plan will cost $333 per month which is 8.5% of our AGI. (We’re at roughly 300% of the FPL.)

          4. The point is, at least you know that it can only take a certain percentage of your income. I don’t have that protection. If I make a penny over 94Kish, I am literally at the mercy of the law deciding how much I should pay. And with the subsidy levels set up how they are, I have very little faith in any sense of fairness.

            Besides that fact, am I the only one that thinks the entire thing is way too overly complicated? I honestly cannot believe that people think this is “the best we can do.” After all, we are still at the mercy of private insurance, we’re still locked to our jobs, and we’re still paying more than anyone else in the world.

          5. Oh, it’s definitely way too complicated! Haha. These days, I don’t think our government is even capable of simplicity. 😛

  18. Thanks for sharing your experience. I don’t think the media highlights these stories enough. While I think the intention of Obamacare was good, they really need to make some reforms to it. Well they can’t even get the website to run…so that might be the priority. Will Greg have health insurance at his new job?

    1. He might in the future. Right now we’ve chosen to stay with our $377 per month plan until it expires!

  19. More than anything I’m amazed at how none of the people at the exchanges or the healthcare website or the insurance companies seem able to give you a concrete answer to your questions. Isn’t that their job?

    1. Yes.

      In their defense, the whole thing is incredibly complicated. It’s very frustrating for them too, I’m sure. I can’t imagine if it was my job to explain this thing to people. I’m not a stupid person but it really is hard to nail down all of the intricate details of this mess!

  20. That is outrageous! I currently have an HDHP that I signed up for recently which is a really low premium. This make me concerned that my premium will go up in the next couple of years. The only thing we can do is vote for people who can make a real change. Vote people…VOTE!

    1. Who for?

      I don’t think I can vote for a Republican or Democrat ever again! =/

  21. Jennifer @ Budgeting in Baby says:

    That is ridiculous! This makes me even more fearful of checking out coverage for myself. Currently, I am covered by my parents’ plan. If their premiums increase then my younger brother and I will have to cover the increase. However, before I just blindly cover the increase I will definitely be checking out the available plans. Thank you for this post, its a reminder to ask my parents if the premiums are increasing.
    Hopefully with time better plans will be available (a girl can hope).

    1. Lucky you!
      Hopefully it will be worked out by the time you have to buy your own coverage!

  22. One of the reasons we’re terrified to move to the US is the insurance issue. I mean this is absurd. It should all be SIMPLE and CLEAR. I mean, you need to know what you’d have to pay for if you had to pay it. Not have 10 plans, with deductibles, copay and whatever they can invent. Not to mention one of the most expensive health services worldwide. Uff…

  23. But wait, I’m really confused now, I could have swore I heard the president say not to long ago, “If you like your health-care plan, you will be able to keep your health-care plan, period.”

    The thing that bothers me the most is that I am having a hard time believing anything I hear about the ACA. Which means that we have to become our own investigators of the truth and what plans are actually best for our family. Good for you for digging up the truth, even though the truth REALLY hurts our wallets.

  24. I’ve enjoyed your posts on the ACA, because we’re feeling the same exact way. Angry and mislead! Thankfully we have insurance through my husbands employer, but even that has been affected. We have one option too. Our monthly premium went down a few cents, but our deductibles are huge! The actual coverage is a joke. Good thing we don’t want another kid, we’d never be able to afford it with the maternity option covering like 60% of delivery, and all office visits are OOP. Sigh. This “Affordable” Care Act is a mess. I don’t think insurance needs an overhaul, I think the costs of care need the overhaul.

    1. Yeah, I agree. Something is definitely wrong when healthcare costs this much.

  25. Holly,

    Every time I get into a debate with C, our new roommate about this plan, I point him to your blog posts on the subject. I have little to add as it’s such a crap situation for you and your family.

    There is a part of me that, being a supporter of our president and the idea of expanding health coverage, just wants to believe that you are an outlier example. I don’t want to think you’re representative….but maybe you are.

    1. I may be an outlier to a certain extent. First of all, I’m in Indiana which is choosing not to cooperate with the plan. Second of all, we make more than 400% of the federal poverty line which means that we don’t get subsidies (which is fine) or any of the other protections or reassurances that people who earn less do.

      But, I know that I’m not just this one case of a person getting the shaft. There are plenty of self-employed people in Indiana making over 94K as a family. Remember, that’s less than 50K per spouse. It’s not like we’re talking about super high incomes here.

  26. I’ll take it one step further and point out something that I’ve always wondered about, and that’s why every single health insurance plan sold can’t use an HSA. Why does it only have to be high deductible?

    I think the answer for that question and for yours is the tax implications, namely that the government loses out on collecting taxes for HSA contributions. The more plans that are HSA eligible, the more people contribute, and the less taxable revenue they have.

    I’m a Republican, but I actually was in (hesitant) support of Obamacare, until the past few weeks when it seems like what was promised is a big difference from what’s being delivered. Unfortunately, if things don’t get better, this will be a failure that will be his legacy.

    1. Well, whatever the answer is….it’s craziness! I’ll make sure to report back when the healthcare.gov people get back to me in 2-5 business days.

  27. I haven’t seen too many comments with people who have had a positive experience so I figured I’d throw my hat in ring. I’m not sure I completely agree with the premise but it is quite popular in our area. We live in Georgia and the median family income for our town of 100k is about 34k. Almost everyone in our town qualifies for some type of subsidy. In our case, the options are much better than Indiana and our premiums have gone from appx ~$750 for open market @3k deductible, 90/10 co until 6k HSA eligible to about $350 for the same coverage through ACA (subsidized based on our income). I would expect the average family in our town has seen a 50% reduction in their heath care cost (mostly due to subsidies).

    I think it will be interesting to see how this all plays out and I think it will actually make a large impact on where people choose to live. It would make people consider not moving to a state like Indiana if the premiums are extremely high and the options are limited.

    1. I agree. Indiana has always been known for its low cost of living. If healthcare doesn’t get sorted it, there is a good chance that could change.

  28. All I am going to say is that this is the stuff that happens when you have a two party system controlling the government. I can’t say that over time this new healthcare law is going to be good or bad. We can’t say only being a month and half in.

    When government steps in to control something, it gets complicated and bloated.

  29. The discovery that our politicians lie to retain power is always a painful realization. Sorry to hear about the HSA.

    It’s interesting because I’ve found ACA in California to be very affordable. It all comes down to the amount of competition each state has. Maybe there’s not so much competition in Indiana, hence the high prices?

    1. There is very little competition in Indiana at the present time. Basically Anthem is competing against Anthem and one other company I’ve never heard of.

      I did hear that Humana is going to offer ACA plans here as well. And apparently a few other companies may/may not. I think it’s too early to tell!

      1. If just move to the sunshine state. It’s nice out here and the healthcare options are cheaper and plentiful. A lot more fit people out here too, so lifespans might be longer.

  30. I feel for you. It would have been really nice if you Greg had a good deal through work. Even if you can afford the price hike, it is still money that could have been used elsewhere. We have ours through our jobs but I just signed up on the website to see how much I would be charged but it’s broken…lol

  31. Holly, thanks for posting this. We are also somewhat insulated from this at the present time do to our employer-sponsored insurance plans, but it is eye opening to see the ramifications that this law has for folks. We are considering making some career changes in the near future, and this has let me know that we need to be seriously looking into this well in advance of making those changes! Insurance coverage could be a big factor. Thanks again!

  32. Sorry to hear that your experience with it has been so crummy. I’ve been fortunate that the changes to our employer plan actually saved me money due to them being eligible for an HSA. Of course, even if the prices were to increase, I’d probably be okay with it just for the peace of mind. I’m one of those folks with a pre-existing condition so knowing an insurance company can’t flip me the bird and tell me to get off their plan is a nice thought.

    1. Oh me too, I had spinal fusion in my early 20’s. I no longer have to put it on applications since it’s been over a decade but I always worried that I would have complications and they wouldn’t want to cover me.

      IMO that’s the one good thing about this law, the pre-existing coverage. But they could’ve accomplished that part without all of the other garbage that came with it =/

  33. Sadly, you are not typical. I would bet money that if you asked 100 random people if they knew what a HSA was, about 20% would, and I bet not even 10% could tell you the difference between a HSA and a flex plan. Even supposedly smart people have no clue about health care. If the people who work there don’t know, how can an average citizen? I think a big part of the problem is fear and confusion, which will eventually get sorted out, but mandating anything seems to get people up in arms.

    I do think things will get better before the end of next year when all these plans are going to get cancelled. Obama was on the news today saying he was sorry about the people who wouldn’t get to keep their insurance, but blamed it on the insurance companies. No politician can promise anything from the private sector. That has been proven time and time again. All in all, I think if Obamacare stays, it will be a good thing if we retire early. It just means a few years of paying more until then.

    1. And working longer because we won’t be able to save quite as much!

  34. What a stinker this legislation is shaping up to be! I’m sorry to read this and hope you find something more in line with your financial goals!

  35. BTW, OBama came out and apologized about folks losing their existing health care plan yesterday and is going to help rectify the issue. Hope everybody feels better.

    1. Whew….are you serious? That solves everything!!!

        1. Problem solved! My apologies for alarming everyone!

  36. Yeah, Obamacare, from the man who’s original pitch was, ‘change you can believe in.´
    I still can’t believe voters thought his administration would be able to push through this ACA and make the change as proposed. I still say the only way ACA can work, meaning cost effective, is to get transparent pricing of services to consumers who can make informed healthcare decisions.

    Case in point…I recently got my flu shot at CVS paid for by our plan at $22. My wife, while at the Dr’ s office got a flu shot, the plan paid $24 for the vaccine, $15 for dispensing, $1.80 for the needle. Now why should the plan pay the higher cost? It now raises the plan costs to other consumers (or at least prevents the cost from declining). We need competition!

    Holly, sorry to hear your family plan is going higher.

    1. Oh, don’t get me started.

      We had high deductible plans when we had both of our kids and the doctor’s office/hospital basically laughed at us when we asked how much it would cost. I totally understood that they couldn’t give us specifics since we may require more/different care…but they wouldn’t even give us a list of services or prices!

      Same thing for when I did physical therapy after my first child was born and I was having back pain. I couldn’t get a single physical therapy office to give me any pricing. (My health insurance plan didn’t cover physical therapy). I NEEDED to do it though so I just went ahead with it and hoped for the best. When I told the physical therapist about my situation, he only charged me for every other appointment…to be nice. I’m glad he did because each 45 minute appointment cost around $100. Of course, I didn’t find that out until I started getting bills a month or so later.

      I agree its silly about the flu shot costs. There really is no transparency or rhyme or reason about anything. I hate dealing with the U.S. healthcare system altogether and I am so thankful that we’re all healthy. I haven’t been to the doctor since I had my youngest 2 1/2 years ago and my husband hasn’t been since he had a vasectomy shortly after that. My kids go once a year for a well visit.
      That’s why its so frustrating to have our premiums double in the near future. We use almost zero healthcare. We’re basically just paying for everybody else.

  37. I have never seen anybody complain about everything as much as you do! It is unreal.

  38. It doesn’t make sense to me why more plans wouldn’t have an HSA with them. What stinks about this is that it is mainly the young, healthy upper middle class who are paying the majority of this new tax. This issue has been acknowledged by the current administration so we will just have to see what they do.

  39. Even though I’m covered by my employer now, I did notice that there were no HSA plans offered in CA. Unfortunately, HSA’s really haven’t caught on as much as they should have – I have no idea why.

    I agree that a lot of the statements were misleading but I could have told you your premiums were gonna go way up. Insurance is simple math. Any time you bring in a bunch of people with pre-existing conditions who didn’t have insurance before, everyone else’s premiums are gonna go up in the short run to account for the added risk. I think in the long run it may be beneficial but we’ll really have to wait and see – there was a good NPR Planet Money podcast on one of the good things the ACA has done 🙂


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  44. I’m going through this process right now – trying to find a plan that is HSA compatible and low-monthly cost after gathering the courage to declare family emancipation and retire from my job (and employer-provided healthcare) this year.

    I think these plans are misreading things and haven’t incorporated guidance correctly. I believe the qualification criteria provided by the IRS are based on a combination of deductibles and out-of-pocket maximum only, based on everything I’ve read (and I have really, really tried to read everything, irs.gov is fine reading as far as I’m concerned).

    This guidance in particular seems pertinent – I think some HDHP plans were concerned about compatibility because they are compelled to provide preventive services now, but the IRS specifically said “don’t worry about that”. http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/n-13-57.pdf

    What I find interesting is that the IRS is providing that guidance to the taxpayer as far as I can tell. The burden’s on us to apply the criteria and affirm (via our sworn signature on your tax form) that the plan is an HDHP that meets IRS guidelines, so we you can take the deductions etc.

    Now that a few months have passed on this topic, has any one else learned anything authoritative and new vs search aggregator type “knowledge” like that from ehealthinsurance or the exchange lower-level folks (which is inexpert in my opinion unfortunately)

    1. Mike- Be careful applying your own criteria. I ended up speaking with someone from healthcare.gov who told me that many of the high-deductible plans DO NOT qualify for an HSA, even with incredibly high deductibles like 8K or 10K. They told me that other criteria was involved in determining HSA eligibility, and that they weren’t sure how to explain the additional terms that have to be met.

      If you go to a site like ehealthinsurance.com and look at plans, you can use the filters to see which plans are HSA eligible and which ones are not. I just filled out my info for a plan in Indiana, and only 7 of the 30 plans available to me are HSA eligible.

      The healthcare.gov site does not offer those filters, unfortunately, leaving us to figure it out for ourselves. However, plans that someone has deemed ineligible for HSAs cant have one, although I’m not 100% sure how they will ever keep track of any of that. Feel free to reply or email me with any questions.

      1. Thanks for the speedy reply – I was wondering if healthcare.gov got back to you. It’s a shame they aren’t specific about it – the devil is in these exact details. I’m certainly trying to be careful and not cavalier and I will note that anyone applying their own criteria is of course embedding a possible future tax audit / liability risk, so I wouldn’t advise anyone to just blaze trail recklessly here.

        However, 223(c)(2) is the law, and it’s here for the US Code http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/26/223 (scroll down for (2)(c)) as well as here for the IRS advice (along with the link I posted above with ACA-specific guidance) http://www.irs.gov/publications/p969/ar02.html#en_US_2013_publink1000204025

        I’m not sold on my interpretation 100% partially because it appears the family max is supposed to be exactly equal to 200% of individual max out of pocket, and I see most HSA compatible plans do exactly that, but some that are HSA-compatible do not (family a bit higher than 200%). Unsure what’s at work here.

        So the lack of concrete guidance (reference to actual authoritative code, that is) is pretty annoying – especially when detailed plan docs outlining benefits / costs etc for non-HSA-compatible plans really do seem to line up exactly with all IRS guidance I can find.

        I consider this not to be an ACA problem though, honestly. The HSA legislation is almost completely separate as far as I can tell…

        1. Yeah, it is extremely frustrating that there are no concrete answers. I mean, I really did try! I contacted all kinds of people and the bottom line I kept hearing was “You can only have an HSA if the plan you select says that you can.”

          I actually do blame the HSA issue on the ACA. The architects have saddled us all with ski-high deductibles. The least they could do was make sure that high deductible plans were all HSA-compatible. I have a sneaking suspicion that a lot of people will get a super high deductible plan and only realize that it is not HSA-compatible after the fact.

          1. I can see your point there on finger-pointing but I’d note that if you ascribe fault for errors of omission it heads into ideological territory really quickly. This at least doesn’t look overt – like they just obviously left something out. They probably didn’t even consider it. Completely agree that as long as they were dictating minimum coverages that were painful they could have at the same time said by decree that it must be HSA compatible if the deductibles are above the HSA amounts.

            Free market wise they appear to have settled on the same amounts (with very small variation) for the deductibles and out-of-pocket max whether it’s HSA-compatible or not so this shouldn’t have altered the total availability much, but would have opened up our HSA choices a lot.

            By the way – final post on the topic from me so I’ll include what I consider the best HSA article out there, courtesy of the Mad Fientist in case folks hadn’t seen it: http://www.madfientist.com/ultimate-retirement-account/

            Good stuff. Good luck, all

        2. Why not just get an HSA and contribute and claim the deduction. Why do you need permission from your health insurance company? Sure, some plans facilitate the HSA and actually pay to set it up and maintain it for you but you can do that on your own too.

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  54. This is exactly what I am running into! We are self-employeed…

    I selected our health plan 6 years ago based on our needs which included using an HSA qualified plan to help offset our medical expenses. My existing plan is being dissolved because it is not obamacare qualified. So I am therefore being forced into obamacare. Um what happened to if you like your plan you can keep it?

    I just checked HealthCare.gov for the 2015 rates, the only HSA qualified plan will cost us nearly $250 more per month than we are currently paying! And with a much higher deductible.

    We don’t qualify for a subsidy. We don’t qualify for anything but getting ripped off! We are not rich! We have 3 kids we are just trying to live in this world and make a living. Obamacare takes our choice away. It decides that i need to pay for someone elses problem instead of save for my retirement! Where do they think I am going to come up with another $250?

    1. Yep! Just don’t expect any sympathy. If you make more then 400% FPL than everyone things you’re filthy stinking rich!

      1. Here is a way to determine if someone is filthy stinking rich, do they pay for their child’s college education without the need for a student loan? If so, yes, I would consider them filthy rich.

        Otherwise, if their kids have to take out student loans, um then you can be sure they are not filthy stinking rich. They are middle class and with the cost of a college education these days their children are doomed to be middle class and ripped off by our government.

        MY kids take out student loans. And I get to foot the bill for other people’s healthcare subsidies too.

        1. Oh, I agree with you 1000%. Making 400 FPL does not make you rich. All I’m saying is that no one wants to hear that argument because THEY think you’re rich if you make more than 400% of FPL. They don’t realize that a family of 4 making 94K still has bills to pay and college to pay for, etc.

          This law is basically asking me to take a $500 per month pay cut and still have a plan with a $12,000 deductible. It’s nothing but wealth redistribution.

          1. 🙂

            Loving your blogs!!! You are right up my alley.

          2. Thanks!

            Serious question: Have you checked out healthcare sharing ministries? That’s what we’re doing starting January 1st.

          3. I have looked into them. This may seem dumb but I was concerned about not getting a ‘tax break’ on the money I would be spending on it. I thought I had read it wasn’t eligible.

            BUT in the grand scheme of things, I really want to stick it to Obamacare so I may take a better look at their options.

            Which one are you using? I have looked at several.

  55. Sam Houston says:

    I truly believe Health Care reforms were started with good intention, but the has swayed so much off-course that it seems like in few years we will have to reform the Healthcare reform itself as we got now. In my opinion, the single biggest failure of this reform is that it has kept the insurance companies in the driving seat. Can someone please explain why the carrier gets to decide if a plan is HSA compatible or not ? I am now shopping around and Blue Cross of Texas has offered me two plans that are 100% identical except one is HSA compatible and the other is not. And the one that is compatible costs $910 per month while the other costs $632! So Blue Cross is charging a whopping $322 per month just to certify a plan to be HSA! If this is not corruption, I don’t know what is.

    1. Just fight back by getting a private HSA and contribute and deduct and tell the IRS to jump in a lake. IRS says high deductible plan, you have one, so viola! If I remember right, on taxes you just state whether you have a qualifying health plan or not. So, if you have reason to believe that you have a qualifying plan then you do.

  56. I found the answer. This thread is old but maybe someone still cares. Under IRS rules there isn’t just a minimum deductible that qualifies as “high,” there is also a maximum for out of pocket expenses that qualifies for HSA! Can you believe that!??! A maximum “high” deductible that once you go above disqualifies you for an HSA! Holy cow, what a scam! Totally a secret killer for HSA’s and a total ploy to increase tax revenue. I’m so pissed. This is crazy. The politics behind this goes thus: you can’t tweak this maximum, even if it makes sense on principle because any bill to do so would receive a fiscal “score” from OMB. If a bill has a score then certain procedural rules apply and it most likely won’t pass. Washington is so strangled by the deficit, which in turn leads to the budget control act, which then means politically nothing that isn’t revenue neutral will pass.

    1. Yes Josh. I still care! And I still have a health care sharing ministry because Obamacare is too expensive.

  57. I’m not sure that’s the answer, Josh. I’m looking for a plan in North Carolina and there are several plans with deductibles over the minimum and maximum deductible and out-of-pocket expenses under the maximum that still don’t qualify as HSA’s. I’m trying to find out what the secret is and have spoken to the insurance company and the NC Commissioner of Insurance’s office, who regulate policies in the state, to find out what the problem is. Hopefully I’ll find out and will share it.

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