health spending acccount?

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MistyLaird
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Date Joined Nov 2017
Total Posts : 20
   Posted 1/1/2018 8:22 PM (GMT -7)   
Since insurance usually doesn't cover the treatment protocols, do a lot of people use health spending accounts? Is there any link to how to possibly navigate this? Just getting started, so don't have a good idea of what the monthly cost for buhners protocol is...or anything really, on the financial side.

Would it (health spending account) cover the igenix of any other testing?

Any advice or guidance on the financial side of lyme and co would be greatly appreciated!!

astroman
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Date Joined Mar 2014
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   Posted 1/1/2018 9:42 PM (GMT -7)   
I think you would have to call them. Never hurts to ask.

Its your money tucked away, but I believe there are guidelines determining what you can use it for as in conventional medical treatments vs non-conventional.

Supplements / herbs are typically considered non-conventional.

Girlie
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Date Joined May 2014
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   Posted 1/1/2018 10:41 PM (GMT -7)   
What are health spending accounts?
Moderator, Lyme Forum
Symp started April/2013; Buhner's Lyme May 15-July24/14; Igenex pos. July 3/14
Doxy: July 4-Aug.24/14;Zithro July26-Aug24/14; Amox + Proben. Aug. 29/14;
added biaxin Sept. 26/14
Disc. amox,added Ceftin Nov. 20th.;
Disc. biaxin added Buhner bart herbs Dec/14;Jan/15 pulsing Tinda (w/ Ceftin);
Abx/herb break Apr-July/15; July-mino; Aug. added Rif;
Nov./15 mino - to biaxi

LymeSick 🌟
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Date Joined Aug 2017
Total Posts : 165
   Posted 1/2/2018 12:07 AM (GMT -7)   
I think it's a Canadian thing, isn't it where an employer puts money in an account for you?

Girlie
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Date Joined May 2014
Total Posts : 28710
   Posted 1/2/2018 12:43 AM (GMT -7)   
LymeSick 🌟 said...
I think it's a Canadian thing, isn't it where an employer puts money in an account for you?


I was going to ask if it's an American thing lol.

I'm Canadian and haven't heard of it.
Moderator, Lyme Forum
Symp started April/2013; Buhner's Lyme May 15-July24/14; Igenex pos. July 3/14
Doxy: July 4-Aug.24/14;Zithro July26-Aug24/14; Amox + Proben. Aug. 29/14;
added biaxin Sept. 26/14
Disc. amox,added Ceftin Nov. 20th.;
Disc. biaxin added Buhner bart herbs Dec/14;Jan/15 pulsing Tinda (w/ Ceftin);
Abx/herb break Apr-July/15; July-mino; Aug. added Rif;
Nov./15 mino - to biaxi

Razzle
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Date Joined Aug 2007
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   Posted 1/2/2018 5:50 AM (GMT -7)   
See https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p969.pdf for info. There are a variety of these types of accounts, and I'm not sure which you are talking about.

Yes, there are restrictions on what you can spend the money on, although I think some are more strict than others. Mostly, medical supplies (bandages, crutches, special medical pillows, etc.) and doctor/dentist visits are covered; not sure about naturopathic, chiropractic, acupuncture, etc.

You may need to contact your Human Resources representative if your health spending account is through work, as there may be specific guidelines they impose in addition to the IRS guidelines.
-Razzle

Chronic Lyme, Bart., Gluten & Sulfite Sensitivity, Many Food/Inhalant/Medication/Chemical Allergies & Intolerances, Asthma, Gut dysmotility & non-specific inflammation, Lupus, Osteoporosis, etc.; G-Tube; TPN-dependent
Meds: Essential Oils, Homeopathy, etc.

astroman
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Date Joined Mar 2014
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   Posted 1/2/2018 7:50 AM (GMT -7)   
In laymans terms, its an American employee pre-tax income health savings account. At one time most big employers offered this. Its a non income taxed (not taxed by your employer) amount put away into an account to be used for co-pays or conventional medical expenses over he cost of insurance.

At one time- the down side was if you dont use it in that year, you lose it!. I think maybe now it gets pulled back out, taxed and goes back to you in your regular pay check.

The only thing you save is its not taxed as income tax if you use it on health care.

Post Edited (astroman) : 1/2/2018 8:50:54 AM (GMT-7)


MistyLaird
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Date Joined Nov 2017
Total Posts : 20
   Posted 1/2/2018 8:06 AM (GMT -7)   
Its American tax free savings account, astroman described it perfectly. A lot of employers are heavily promoting it now as a way to "supplement" insurance (that is inadequate). I have used it in the past for dental work I knew I would be having, to make sure I didn't lose the balance.

I was just wondering if anyone had experience using it to cover some of the lyme treatment expenses and if there were special hoops to jump through to use it correctly. You actually get a separate debit card that is linked to the savings account. But it is possible for them to retro deny a charge (or at least it was)...anyway, it was just a random thought. The savings of taxes on $1500 isn't significant, but the habit of putting that money away and to use can be helpful in budgeting treatment.

Would anyone be able to share what they think the cost is monthly for Buhner's herbal protocol?
I know it varies by supplier, and individual treatments etc. I am working on a spreadsheet to calculate the cost at full dosage, but it is going to take me a couple days.

tonyaraven
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Date Joined May 2017
Total Posts : 233
   Posted 1/2/2018 8:12 AM (GMT -7)   
I looked into this because we have horrible insurance and I was told that it does cover naturopathic doctors and some of the testing, dentists, chiropractor, not sure about supplements. The info I got is you can open an account at the bank and each year you can put a certain amount in your health savings account to use that will not be taxed. This is the information I got, not sure if it's totally correct but I'm definitely going look into it more. We've spent thousands and thousands of dollars over the last few years. The first year we spent 10,000 just searching for a diagnosis going from one doctor to the next. How I wish things could change in the medical world!

astroman
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   Posted 1/2/2018 8:53 AM (GMT -7)   
MistyLaird said...
Its American tax free savings account, astroman described it perfectly. A lot of employers are heavily promoting it now as a way to "supplement" insurance (that is inadequate). I have used it in the past for dental work I knew I would be having, to make sure I didn't lose the balance.

I was just wondering if anyone had experience using it to cover some of the lyme treatment expenses and if there were special hoops to jump through to use it correctly. You actually get a separate debit card that is linked to the savings account. But it is possible for them to retro deny a charge (or at least it was)...anyway, it was just a random thought. The savings of taxes on $1500 isn't significant, but the habit of putting that money away and to use can be helpful in budgeting treatment.

Would anyone be able to share what they think the cost is monthly for Buhner's herbal protocol?
I know it varies by supplier, and individual treatments etc. I am working on a spreadsheet to calculate the cost at full dosage, but it is going to take me a couple days.


If you dont use it all in that year, what happens to it nowdays? Lose it all, or taxed and then distributed back to you as part of your normal income?

PeteZa
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Date Joined Jul 2015
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   Posted 1/2/2018 9:18 AM (GMT -7)   
Misty, I did Buhner and Beyond Balance. I kept all my amber bottles and recycled them with my acupuncturist. I was curious about how much money I had spent on those tinctures. Here is my calculation:

I took tinctures from Sept 28, 2015 until June 27, 2016 and my cost was close to $3,000. This does not include any supplements or vitamins.

MistyLaird
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2017
Total Posts : 20
   Posted 1/2/2018 9:34 AM (GMT -7)   
Thank you PeteZa!

Astroman - I am not sure, I didn't sign p for it this past year. But I am talking to my HR benefits person later today, to get info on the "managed" portion we have. I will find out what I can about the general rules that apply to all and approval process (for charges).

Rikky1
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Date Joined Jun 2015
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   Posted 1/2/2018 11:20 AM (GMT -7)   
An HSA is no different than a traditional medical plan except for who pays what and when. HSA premiums are also much cheaper because the kick in by your insurance company is higher.

For example say HSA premiums are $500 a month for a family whereas a traditional plan is $2000 a month. For HSA you have to spend $5000 out of your own pocket before they'll reimburse you whereas a Traditional Plan may be $600 before you hit the same deductible.

With that said whatever an insurance company will pay for will be the same rules as the HSA. At least that's how my plan works at my employer and several others I know.

tonyaraven
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Date Joined May 2017
Total Posts : 233
   Posted 1/2/2018 12:09 PM (GMT -7)   
Does it have to be done through an employer? I thought one could put money in an account that is used just for health expenses? We have to get individual insurance because my husband is self employed.

Girlie
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Date Joined May 2014
Total Posts : 28710
   Posted 1/2/2018 12:42 PM (GMT -7)   
Well we do have a tax free savings account option in canada ...where the interest earned isn't taxed.
Not limited to health spending though.
Moderator, Lyme Forum
Symp started April/2013; Buhner's Lyme May 15-July24/14; Igenex pos. July 3/14
Doxy: July 4-Aug.24/14;Zithro July26-Aug24/14; Amox + Proben. Aug. 29/14;
added biaxin Sept. 26/14
Disc. amox,added Ceftin Nov. 20th.;
Disc. biaxin added Buhner bart herbs Dec/14;Jan/15 pulsing Tinda (w/ Ceftin);
Abx/herb break Apr-July/15; July-mino; Aug. added Rif;
Nov./15 mino - to biaxi

astroman
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Date Joined Mar 2014
Total Posts : 4196
   Posted 1/2/2018 1:11 PM (GMT -7)   
Girlie said...
Well we do have a tax free savings account option in canada ...where the interest earned isn't taxed.
Not limited to health spending though.


Girlie- American HSA is non taxed income from work, (part of your paycheck if not self employed) otherwise all work income is taxed..

Most peoples money was taxed income before it goes into any savings account.

If you regularly have over a certain amount of money appearing into a savings account with out a paper trail, IRS can audit to find where that money is coming from so they can tax it or throw you in jail if from illegal activity.

Girlie
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Date Joined May 2014
Total Posts : 28710
   Posted 1/2/2018 1:23 PM (GMT -7)   
astroman said...
Girlie said...
Well we do have a tax free savings account option in canada ...where the interest earned isn't taxed.
Not limited to health spending though.


Girlie- American HSA is non taxed income from work, (part of your paycheck if not self employed) otherwise all work income is taxed..

Most peoples money was taxed income before it goes into any savings account.

If you regularly have over a certain amount of money appearing into a savings account with out a paper trail, IRS can audit to find where that money is coming from so they can tax it or throw you in jail if from illegal activity.


Okay, I see - it doesn't get taxed in the first place... we don't have that...
Sounds like a good deal.
So, how do they keep track of whether or not it was used for health spending?
Moderator, Lyme Forum
Symp started April/2013; Buhner's Lyme May 15-July24/14; Igenex pos. July 3/14
Doxy: July 4-Aug.24/14;Zithro July26-Aug24/14; Amox + Proben. Aug. 29/14;
added biaxin Sept. 26/14
Disc. amox,added Ceftin Nov. 20th.;
Disc. biaxin added Buhner bart herbs Dec/14;Jan/15 pulsing Tinda (w/ Ceftin);
Abx/herb break Apr-July/15; July-mino; Aug. added Rif;
Nov./15 mino - to biaxi

notsosicklygirl
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Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 15665
   Posted 1/2/2018 1:27 PM (GMT -7)   
I think people might be confusing a FSA and an HSA. HSA is health saving saccount. FSA is a flexible spending account.

FSA is a pretax account that you opt into. You can do this in addition to an HSA or traditional health insurance. You can choose the amount you wish to put in, I have done between $300 and $1200 in the past, depending on how many health expenses I think I will incur. The FSA can be used for a lot of things, Copays, coinsurance, rx, teeth whitening, glasses, OTC items like Advil or bandages. Pretty much anything health related, but you have to save receipts and once in a while they will request proof of the expense. Usually the full amount is available to you on the 1st of the year, but you pay it out over each paycheck. At the end of the year, you can rollover a portion usually. For us it used to be ZERO but now it's $500. That depends on your particular plan.

An HSA is part of a health insurance plan. Usually it's a cheaper plan with more out of pocket expenses. With an HSA, your employer will give you an amount in an account to help cover the out of pocket costs. For example, let's say it's $100 a month premium (much cheaper than traditional plans), then there's $2000 deductible, the employer may give you $1500 in the HSA to help with the deductible. If you do not use it for that, you can use it for other medical expenses. I have not had one of these plans but I believe the full amount rolls over. If you get $1500 a year, you could quickly have it add up to $3000, then $4500, if you're healthy and you don't use it, but for people like us, with chronic health issues, these plans tend to come up short. They benefit the corporations and health insurance companies, not the individuals, and that is why they exist.

That's my whackadoo interpretation. I have an FSA and traditional insurance without HSA.
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MistyLaird
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Date Joined Nov 2017
Total Posts : 20
   Posted 1/2/2018 2:10 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks notsosickly....the FSA was exactly what I had in the past, but it had an actual debit card, and I think you only had to submit receipts if you bought things that didn't obviously show as health related. I did save mine, but only had to show a couple, or call in about the charge. I think you could do a lot of it online if there were questions.

1000Daisies
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   Posted 1/2/2018 4:49 PM (GMT -7)   
Interesting. I don't agree with some of the previous comments. I have had both FSA and HSA.

FSA (Flexible Spending Account) - pretax
You can put in money through your job/wages (pretax) up to a limit. I believe we submitted a form with receipt.
However, whatever you don't use, you lose by the end of the year. It was terrible. How can you "plan" for most of your medical expenses? Well, let's see... this year I'm going to foresee breaking a leg and maybe having an appendectomy? (Yes, I realize you can plan for some things, but with medical, I'd argue there is a lot that you can't foresee.) I am personally not a fan.

HSA (Health Savings Account) - pretax
I don't agree that it only helps the employer/corporations/insurance companies. I guess it would depend how your company offers it to you?
HSA has been very positive for us. You put in money pre-tax. BUT you don't lose the money by end of year if you don't use it (it just continues to grow instead). So, in that regard, it's much better than FSA where you risk losing your money if you don't use by year-end.
You can use for doctor's bills that aren't fully covered by insurance. It does not cover herbals/supplements/etc.
But I find the HSA very strange. There doesn't seem to be any checks-and-balances to make sure people are using it legit. I find that very strange. It's important to keep your receipts in case you were ever audited.

notsosicklygirl
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   Posted 1/2/2018 6:04 PM (GMT -7)   
I notice companies are offering HSAs to save themselves money these days. There used to be fantastic traditional plans where employees paid a reasonable amount out of their check and everything was covered. Now all the plans have such high premiums, and the deductibles and coinsurance are too high, they are unaffordable.

I guess ultimately it doesn't matter if you have an HSA, it just matters if you can afford what you have. I used to really shy away from the HSA because, with chronic illness, the expenses can get quite high, but now that all the traditional plans have high expenses as well, you can probably do okay with the HSA, especially considering some of companies subsidize the costs by putting money in an account.

I've heard other people say they have used the HSA money for expenses unrelated to health. I have only used an FSA, and ours has rollover, so it works for me. With the FSA, i usually put enough to pay for a good part of the deductible, but this year I didn't bother since last year I barely used my health insurance. Hopefully nothing terrible happens. I agree, you can not really plan for health expenses, but in reality, the max is what it is. Worst case you have to pay out the max. Might as well have an HSA to help toward the max & pay the lower premiums, plus it rolls over, so if you don't use it, you will have more when you need it. I just prefer the old traditional plans (that don't seem to exist anymore) where you don't need to worry about budgeting and everything is covered within the cost of the premium.
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Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime; give a man religion and he will die praying for a fish

gfields
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   Posted 1/2/2018 6:41 PM (GMT -7)   
I have a health spending account through work. They give you a credit card, and allow you to spend pre-tax dollars on it. You can contribute a certain amount per week. I have actually not used the credit card yet. I'm not sure how much I have on it.

1000Daisies
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   Posted 1/2/2018 7:26 PM (GMT -7)   
PP: I've heard other people say they have used the HSA money for expenses unrelated to health.

Per the IRS regulations, then you would be subjected to taxes (plus a possible additional 20% tax). (go to page 8, paragraph 2 of link below)
I'm not sure why anybody would do this???


PP: I have only used an FSA, and ours has rollover, so it works for me.

Not sure how yours has rollover. Per IRS, FSA are generally use-it-or-lose-it, with the limited exception of a carryover or $500 max rollover. I've never personally seen anybody who was able to rollover their FSA.
/www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p969.pdf (go to page 17)
How does your company legally allow rollover (assuming it allows rollover over $500)?


PP: Might as well have an HSA to help toward the max & pay the lower premiums, plus it rolls over, so if you don't use it, you will have more when you need it.

Your company ties your HSA to your medical insurance premiums? Can you explain please?


PP: I just prefer the old traditional plans (that don't seem to exist anymore) where you don't need to worry about budgeting and everything is covered within the cost of the premium.

Oh, the good old days. Long gone. Medical insurance is so broken.


I still feel that a HSA is a safer alternative to FSA because you can't lose your money. I don't know why they even offer FSA anymore.

Post Edited (1000Daisies) : 1/2/2018 7:39:28 PM (GMT-7)


1000Daisies
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   Posted 1/2/2018 7:38 PM (GMT -7)   
Rikky1 said...
An HSA is no different than a traditional medical plan except for who pays what and when. HSA premiums are also much cheaper because the kick in by your insurance company is higher.

For example say HSA premiums are $500 a month for a family whereas a traditional plan is $2000 a month. For HSA you have to spend $5000 out of your own pocket before they'll reimburse you whereas a Traditional Plan may be $600 before you hit the same deductible.

With that said whatever an insurance company will pay for will be the same rules as the HSA. At least that's how my plan works at my employer and several others I know.


I haven't seen a HSA used as a traditional medical plan. I don't understand this....

This sounds more like a HRA? Are you possibly referring to that instead of a HSA?

notsosicklygirl
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Date Joined Dec 2008
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   Posted 1/2/2018 8:33 PM (GMT -7)   
I think you can have both HSA and FSA. Our FSA has a $500 rollover and that works OK for me at the moment. I don't know what HRA is.

I don't know a ton about HSA plans. I guess they are all different, just like any PPO or HMO plan? I just know the company i used to work for gave us the option of an HSA plan and the costs were all higher, aside from the premium, that was lower. I didn't mean you could use the HSA money for the premium though, I meant if you don't use it year after year, the account will grow and you can use it for deductibles, copays and coinsurance.

The people I knew who used the HSA for expenses other than health were doing it against the policy rules. I have no idea how that works, or what happened with it. I've never done it myself smile As I said, I've never had an HSA. I've only had the FSA and I've had to provide receipts on that a few times for expenses that were clearly health related.

it seems like many of us have a bit of confusion about HSA plans. The one I was offered, it was basically a very watered down version of my PPO plan, but with low premiums, high deductibles, high out of pocket costs, and the company for which I was employed gave about $1000 in an account to use to cover costs. That money rolled over. This is great for healthy people, but not so great for people who are definitely going to use the $1000 and then some.

I guess the question is, can you get an HSA in addition to any PPO or HMO plan? Or is the HSA an adjunct to certain plans? That's what I don't understand. If you can opt for the HSA over the FSA, I understand the benefit and it would make sense, but the only place i was offered an HSA, it wasn't an equal plan to the more expensive PPO plan that had a higher premium and much lower out of pocket costs. I opted for the more expensive plan without the HSA in that case.
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Currently: no meds 6/15 Step 1 J-pouch Surgery Complete 9/15 Step 2 Complete 11/15 Step 3 Complete
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Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime; give a man religion and he will die praying for a fish
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