Do you have an HSA but aren’t sure how to use it to get the most benefit? Are you not quite sure what it even is?

HSA stands for Health Savings Account. It works like a regular savings account but for health care costs. The money that goes into and out of the account is controlled by the person who opened it, not their employer or insurance company. It is meant as a way to allow the person with the account more control over their health care spending.

There are several reasons someone might open an HSA. Because you own the account, it will remain unaffected by any changes in your employment. The funds do not have to be used by a certain date. The money that goes in stays there until you take it out for a medical expense. It also cannot be taxed, as long as you use it for health care purchases. If circumstances arise and you do need money from the account for non-medical expenses, you can take it out, but it will be taxed.

However, not everyone qualifies for one of these accounts. You must be under 65 years of age and carry a high-deductible insurance plan. Also note that having coverage for things like vision or dental care does not affect your eligibility to start an HSA.

Use Your HSA

The trade-off for possible out-of-pocket expenses now is definite protection against future health care costs. For example, the kind of person who would benefit most from an HSA is young and healthy with enough cash on hand to cover unforeseen medical costs. If they remain in good health when they are young, the money will already be set aside for them when they are older and more likely to need it. Because they directly control the money in the account, they can shop around for the best deal on their purchase. In addition, the HSA will contain funds from your contributions as well as money saved by not paying taxes on it, all of which have a financial benefit.

Checkups to maintain your eye health are a great way for you to use your HSA funds. There are many treatable eye conditions which, if left unnoticed or untreated, can lead to permanent vision loss. Even if you currently have good eye health and vision, you should still get your vision tested and visit an ophthalmologist at least once every two years. As eyesight can deteriorate gradually, you may not notice a change until an exam detects it. And a licensed ophthalmologist can perform other tests, such as dilation, which can lead to a diagnosis of serious problems early on so they can be treated. If you do need vision correction, glasses, contacts (as well as accompanying items like solution), and even laser eye surgery, you will be happy to know that all are allowable expenses for you to use your HSA funds.

An HSA provides a way to take control of your health care spending – just don’t forget to actually get that health care. Spending a little on routine checkups now will help safeguard you from larger and more costly conditions later.

When you use your HSA money for eye care, you are investing in a better future for yourself. Vision is priceless; use your health savings account to protect one of your most valuable assets.

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