Basics

HSA Headlines - Where the health care debate is heading

As the last days of summer slide through, Congress coming back in session and open enrollment season in full swing, there's about to be plenty of big health care headlines coming down off the wire in the coming weeks.

In last week's post, we examined the massive growth of HSA enrollment, assets and more. While those numbers were certainly promising, some HSA user behaviors still continue on. We'll dive into that and where we think the national health care debate could be heading this fall.

Investing HSA Savings is Key to Building Accounts - Rebecca Moore, PlanSponsor

PlanSponsor took a deeper dive into the Devenir numbers we examined last week, and while there was positive news across the board, users are not taking full advantage of HSA investing potential from the get-go when opening their accounts. While HSA investments have increased 35% year-over-year from June 2018-19, seasonality of when employees make contributions is an unexpected curveball.

It turns out that when employees open up an HSA investment account during the fall open enrollment season, most will leave them unfunded until the following spring. This accounts for a majority of the 15% of unfunded accounts that Devenir found in its survey. This suggests that additional HSA education is needed on the employee level to help workers get these accounts funded sooner so they can start building wealth.

The two big healthcare fights coming up this fall - Dylan Scott, Vox

While Medicare-for-All certainly isn't passing anytime soon, there are a number of healthcare-specific bills that could see a vote in the coming months - and a lot of public debate in the media. The first is a drug pricing plan from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), which would direct the federal government to negotiate prices of certain expensive drugs with little or no competition — and, crucially, that would also become the price in the private market, not just the Medicare drug coverage price.

This would certainly set up a battle with the pharmaceutical industry, but drug pricing reform has broad, bipartisan support, so this plan could see some action in the fall.

Finally, surprise medical bills and how Congress can act to reduce American's healthcare costs. A number of different proposals are on the table, but most center on how much insurers should charge and what a patient's liability is when visiting an out-of-network hospitals or provider during an emergency and are then hit with massive bills. But with major pushback expected from the industry at large, this one is gearing up for a big health care fight in Congress.

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HSA Headlines is a weekly roundup of the latest, most relevant news and conversations about your health savings. It appears every Friday, exclusively on the HSA Learning Center. And for more about your physical and financial well-being, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Accounts

HSA Headlines - HSA assets grow to $60+ billion

It's that time of year again! One of the biggest surveys in the industry has just arrived and it's big news for HSA users and HSA watchers: the 2019 Mid-Year Devenir HSA Research Report. This survey includes the top 100 HSA providers nationwide and took place during July 2019, so this is a very recent picture of the state of the current HSA market.

This week, we're going to eschew the traditional HSA Headlines structure and hone in on the key data points in the survey, which are sure to give personal finance writers plenty to fill up columns about in the months ahead.

HSA assets exceed $60 billion

This is the big headline and one that shows that despite a brief slowdown in HSA numbers in the past report, HSA users are slowly but surely building up their assets in preparation for retirement or to cover expected/unexpected health expenditures as they arise. Overall, these assets are up 20% year-over-year.

Total HSAs surpass 26 million accounts

Brokers, benefits managers and human resources heroes are putting in the time to educate consumers about HSAs! Total HSA enrollment is up 12% year-over-year to now encompass more than 26 million accounts.

HSA investments are up

More people are exploring the investment potential of HSAs and it's paying off! The report found that HSA investment assets have reached $13.3 billion, and have jumped a remarkable 35% since last year. Also while we're on the subject of investing, 2019 marked the first time that more than 1 million HSA investment accounts were open, which makes up about 4% of all HSA accounts.

HSA contributions are growing

Finally, a good economy can result in a lot of extra HSA contributions and 2019 appears to be no exception. In the first six months of 2019 alone, HSA users contributed $22 billion to their accounts, which is up 12% from the same time in 2018.

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HSA Headlines is a weekly roundup of the latest, most relevant news and conversations about your health savings. It appears every Friday, exclusively on the HSA Learning Center. And for more about your physical and financial well-being, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Basics

HSA Headlines - Is it time for you to have a long-term HSA strategy?

With September just a few days away, we're about to kick off open enrollment season. While this news will probably elicit a few eye rolls from working professionals, for us, it's like a big holiday. (Hey, it's what we do…)

Expect plenty of content on this subject in the coming weeks, but for today, we're focusing on that magic HSA moment when you've saved enough to cover your deductible, as well as a long-term picture of just how much health care costs have outpaced pay over the past decade. Let's dive into the headlines!

HSAs: Moving from spending to saving to strategizing - Emily Payne, BenefitsPro

HSAs have only been around since 2003 and were slow to be adopted by a large amount of working professionals with 76% of those having been opened since 2015 (EBRI). Paying down a deductible is a key facet of having an HDHP with an HSA, but many studies have shown that plans that have large deductibles can deter people from seeking care. But does that change when account balances grow to the size that yearly deductibles can be easily covered?

According to data from the Employee Benefit Research Institute, those who had HSA balances of $3,000 or above were more likely to spend their funds on services such as imaging, emergency visits, outpatient and primary care.

Generally, over time, the higher the account balance, the more HSA users spend. And this is a key point - when an HSA user gets to the point that they no longer have to worry over a deductible, it will completely change their approach.

Which brings us to long-term strategy. The right combination of spending/saving is a key topic for benefits professionals, but communicating long-term saving can be difficult with immediate health needs to cover. Using the deductible as a savings threshold to open up bigger conversations about long-term investing and health care savings could be a new tactic for brokers and benefits pros alike to better assist HSA users.

Healthcare costs increased twice as fast as workers wages over last decade - Alison Rodriguez, AJMC

To illustrate what everyone is preparing for by saving all of those HSA funds, the Peterson-Kaiser Health System Tracker recently released data that illustrated the scope of the ever-growing cost of health care. There are plenty of great data points here, but the one that may be the most illuminating is how health care costs compared to the growth of employee wages.

The hard numbers: families contribute 67% more to their health benefits than they did a decade ago, while employers contribute 51% more in premium contributions. But here's the kicker: wages have only increased 26% between 2008-2018.

Those are hard numbers for any family to overcome, which further illustrates just how important HSAs can be in helping cover these costs and reduce taxable income to improve financial bottom lines.

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HSA Headlines is a weekly roundup of the latest, most relevant news and conversations about your health savings. It appears every Friday, exclusively on the HSA Learning Center. And for more about your physical and financial well-being, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Living Well

HSA Headlines - New incentives to spend (and save) with your HSA

While most Americans are gearing up for Labor Day weekend and getting everything lined up for their kids to head back to school, those of us in the employee benefits world have a close eye on open enrollment, which is just around the corner!

With that in mind, you'll see a fair amount of trend pieces on health care and enrollment trends in coming weeks, so stay tuned to this column for all the stories that could affect your health savings account (HSA)! Let's check out this week's headlines:

Telehealth is here to stay, so why won't employees sign up? - Walecia Konrad, Employee Benefit News

Telehealth has been hailed as the future of health care, and for good reason! The ability to be able to consult with a doctor or specialist about a health issue from the comfort of your home or through a smartphone/tablet is a major time-saver and can encourage individuals/families to practice more preventive care practices. In fact, the 2018 Kaiser Family Foundation Employee Health Benefit Survey found that 75% of employers offer this benefit, but it's been slow to be embraced by employees.

As much as telehealth has grown in recent years, public awareness is still low. According to a J.D. Power survey, only 9.6% of Americans have used telehealth services of all types, including those provided by employers. Many employees are either unaware that this benefit exists, or what telehealth is in the first place. So while it may be the next big thing in medicine, telehealth still has an uphill climb to become a more visible option in corporate benefits packages.

This new company gives a bonus for saving on healthcare - Amanda Schiavo, Employee Benefit Adviser

HSA users know how to shop around for health care and save on medical necessities, but what if you got even more rewards for doing so? A new health care guidance and engagement company, HealthJoy, has completed a pilot program with employers with a smartphone app that suggests cost-effective alternatives to traditional medical services. If employees opt for the less expensive service, they are eligible for financial rewards.

This is a great tactic for employers who offer HSAs that are tethered to high-deductible health plans (HDHPs), which can have a bit of a learning curve for some employees. Programs like HealthJoy aim to help both employer/employee make more informed health care choices, and rewards are typically paid out as HSA/payroll contributions or gift cards. It's certainly an interesting idea and one that bears watching as health costs continue to soar nationwide.

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HSA Headlines is a weekly roundup of the latest, most relevant news and conversations about your health savings. It appears every Friday, exclusively on the HSA Learning Center. And for more about your physical and financial well-being, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Living Well

HSA Headlines - Are you making a huge (but common) health care mistake?

For millions of health savings account (HSA) users, these accounts combine the ability to save money on payroll taxes, cover expected medical expenses and roll over whatever is left toward covering qualifying medical expenses in retirement. But if you aren't factoring a few preventive measures into each year's "expected expenses," you may be spending more of your HSA funds than you should.

This week, we're taking a look at new research from Lively and some unique insights into health care consumer behavior that could help you and your family save hundreds, if not thousands in medical costs annually.

Almost 50 percent of Americans are making this healthcare mistake - Maurie Backman, The Motley Fool

When was the last time you had a physical exam? If you can't remember (or if you're triggered like I am from my mom having asked so many times), you know that it's probably time to practice a bit of preventive care. But according to Lively's 2019 Wellness & Wealth report, only 54% of those surveyed will visit a doctor this year solely for preventive care services like a physical exam or regular checkup.

On the surface this makes sense. Going to the doctor means taking time off from work, most likely paying a copayment and hearing some not-so-subtle hints that there's a lot you could be doing to improve your health! But ignoring a less serious health issue could lead you with a far larger bill down the line. After all, paying $25 to cover a copayment to get a cough checked out is a far better solution than possibly having to shell out up to $1,000 to pay for a hospital room visit when you contract pneumonia.

HSA users already have an advanced lesson on what it means to budget for health care expenses, and has open enrollment approaches for many this fall and you start to weigh how much you'll spend on health care in the coming year, give preventive care expenses a second thought. It will give you the cushion necessary to cover an extra copayment or two over the course of the year if you come down with an illness, or to visit a specialist if a more advanced medical issue pops up.

And if you don't happen to spend it in the coming year, remember, any unspent HSA funds will carry over for as long as you have the account open. This way, you can keep your rainy day fund on-hand for when you really need to bite the bullet and make that much-needed doctor's appointment!

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HSA Headlines is a weekly roundup of the latest, most relevant news and conversations about your health savings. It appears every Friday, exclusively on the HSA Learning Center. And for more about your physical and financial well-being, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Retirement

HSA Headlines - Seniors may soon get an HSA helping hand

The retirement potential of HSAs is a topic that we harp on plenty in this column, with millions of Americans being able to withdraw their HSA funds with no tax penalty when they reach Medicare eligibility at age 65. But the catch? Today, if you are enrolled in Medicare, you can't continue contributing to an HSA.

For this week's edition of HSA Headlines, we'll examine how lawmakers are trying to work around this provision to give seniors more options to contribute to their accounts and continue to cover health expenses tax-free throughout their retirement years.

A New Bill Could Make Health Savings Accounts More Accessible to Older Workers - Maurie Backman, The Motley Fool

To contribute to an HSA, you have to be enrolled in a high-deductible health plan (HDHP), which allows you to make contributions to your account ($3,550 for individuals and $7,100 for families for 2020). Medicare has no such plans on offer, so seniors who continue working past age 65 who take advantage of Medicare enrollment will soon find out that even though they have the means to continue contributing to their HSAs, they are prohibited from doing so thanks to current HSA plan rules.

But that may be about to change with the introduction of the Health Savings for Seniors Act. On July 18, 2019, Reps. Ami Bera (D-CA) and Jason Smith (R-MO) introduced the bill, H.R. 3796, which would allow individuals enrolled in Medicare to maintain eligibility for HSA contributions.

That is already a major, welcome change for American seniors and one that if passed, would be a fairly seamless transition for those approaching Medicare eligibility. The bill allows working seniors to enroll in Medicare and still be HSA eligible on their employer-sponsored, HSA-qualified health plan coverage.

So this won't change any rules for Medicare, the waiver for non-medical expenses above age 65 still applies, and anyone who is enrolled in either traditional fee-for-service or Medicare Advantage plans (including Medicare Advantage MSA), will be HSA eligible.

With people working longer into their golden years, it was time for HSAs to catch up with the times and that's exactly what this bill tries to solve in a bipartisan manner. We'll keep you posted on the progress of this bill in the coming months!

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HSA Headlines is a weekly roundup of the latest, most relevant news and conversations about your health savings. It appears every Friday, exclusively on the HSA Learning Center. And for more about your physical and financial well-being, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Accounts

HSA Headlines - How HSAs can impact bigger insurance decisions

In the middle of July, most people are thinking about their next beach trip or weekend destination, but for those true heroes working in human resources, mid-July is their time to begin prepping open enrollment info to help you and everyone you work with find the ideal benefits for 2020.

So this week, we'll take a closer look at some key topics you should be thinking about heading into open enrollment, whether you're an HSA user or someone on the fence about enrolling.

Think twice before buying private dental insurance - Donna Rosato, Consumer Reports

Not all benefits packages are created equal, and if your company doesn't offer a dental plan or if you're self-employed, there's a wide world of dental plans out there to shop for. But, only 1 in 4 Americans have dental insurance, and many have found a way around these expenses through consumer-directed health care accounts. Dental insurance works much like traditional health insurance, with typically 100% of preventive care like regular cleanings, but many people choose to opt out of it to save money.

If you are enrolled in a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) with an HSA, your tax-advantaged funds will cover a huge range of dental services, such as regular cleanings and dental surgery, as long as the reason for these procedures is not cosmetic in nature. HSAs can be a great option for those who wish to pay as they go for dental expenses, or to save up an emergency fund for dental emergencies. So if you're skipping dental enrollment this year or have been shopping around, an HSA is a great alternative.

Can I take an HSA withdrawal for non-medical reasons?" - Maurie Backman, The Motley Fool

Finally this week, The Motley Fool covered what is perhaps the greatest benefit of an HSA: the ability to withdraw those funds for non-medical expenses (once you've reached age 65). HSAs already provide a triple-tax benefit for qualifying medical expenses (no taxes on qualifying withdrawals, or interest earned and contributions are tax-deductible), but if you use these funds for non-medical reasons before age 65, you'll incur a 20% tax penalty on that amount.

After age 65, that penalty is waived, and you can continue to cover health expenses tax-free, while also being able to withdraw funds for any reason. Non-medical expenses are simply taxed as income. So as you approach retirement years, keep these tax penalties in mind. If you need to dip into your 401(k) or IRA, their 10% penalty may be a better option than raiding your HSA at twenty.

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HSA Headlines is a weekly roundup of the latest, most relevant news and conversations about your health savings. It appears every Friday, exclusively on the HSA Learning Center. And for more about your physical and financial well-being, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Accounts

HSA Headlines: Are you happy with your benefits options?

The ever-rising cost of health care has been a common topic on this blog, but new research shows that we may have been underestimating what your benefits goals should be. For this week's HSA Headlines, we'll examine this and what workers are saying about what needs to change for the better in the employee benefits world.

One-third of employers say 'expanding benefit options' is the biggest healthcare priority - Riia O'Donnell, HR Dive

Benefits packages can make or break a potential hire's decision to take a job, and more than ever, employers are taking cues from their existing employees to improve their offerings. And having a lot of health care options on offer is a key priority for employers as we head for open enrollment season this fall.

According to a new Willis Towers Watson survey, 31% of employers say their top health care priority for 2019 is to 'expand benefit options.'

Another big priority for employers in 2019 is helping employees better navigate those expanded benefits choices. 74% reported that they will implement new measures to help workers navigate their benefits over the next three years, while more than 50% are prioritizing training to educate staff on their benefits.

Electing benefits can still be an arduous experience, but it sounds like employers have gotten the message and will provide a welcome helping hand in the near future!

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HSA Headlines is a weekly roundup of the latest, most relevant news and conversations about your health savings. It appears every Friday, exclusively on the HSA Learning Center. And for more about your physical and financial well-being, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Accounts

HSA Headlines: Are HSA users spending more than they should?

The idea behind the creation of HSAs was simple: give people more options in choosing where to spend their health care dollars, and that would in turn create a smarter consumer who shops around and searches for the best deal. But best laid plans and real world realities often diverge in curious ways, and HSAs are no exception.

This week, we'll take a look at some interesting data relating to HSA account holder spending, as well as a new merger in the HSA industry that could change the landscape of these accounts.

HSAs Provide a Sweet Tax Break, But Some May Increase Healthcare Spending - Howard Gleckman, Forbes

The Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) is always a great source of compelling information about consumer attitudes and behaviors in benefit use, and it turns out a significant segment of the HSA population is using their windfall of HSA savings to overspend. This is peculiar, as some studies have shown that they under-spend their accounts when having to cover a larger deductible, but this EBRI study shows the opposite side of the equation.

It turns out, the EBRI research found that individuals who manage to save up large HSA balances are more likely to use them. And we're talking big expenses here: visiting hospital emergency rooms, primary care doctors and specialists, physical therapy, imaging tests and more. In so many words, instead of reducing spending, some HSA users were treating their large HSA balances like free money.

Studies like these show that user behavior can be a tricky thing, and while consumer education can show people the way, having a big reserve to cover health expenses can be a tempting proposition.

HealthEquity to Acquire WageWorks Accelerating Market-Wide Transition to HSAs - Globe Newswire

Finally for this week, a major piece of news that is expected to shake up the HSA market for the foreseeable future. HealthEquity, one of the largest, non-bank HSA providers in the country, has agreed to purchase WageWorks, another leading HSA provider and administrator of other consumer-directed health care benefits, such as flexible spending accounts (FSAs), commuter benefits and more.

The deal is expected to be completed by the end of the year after regulatory review and other closing conditions. But this is a huge development for the larger consumer-directed health care industry that gives HealthEquity a huge slice of the ever-growing HSA population. We'll be watching this one closely as it develops over the course of late 2019.

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HSA Headlines is a weekly roundup of the latest, most relevant news and conversations about your health savings. It appears every Friday, exclusively on the HSA Learning Center. And for more about your physical and financial well-being, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Retirement

HSA Headlines - 6/21/19 - Has HSA growth leveled out?

Over the past decade, one of the biggest stories in the health & benefits world was the runaway growth of HSAs, which by the end of 2018 exceeded 25 million accounts (Devenir). But has the HSA trend finally tailed off?

In this week's edition of HSA Headlines, we'll take a look at new enrollment numbers for HSAs that could give benefit managers pause, as well as overlooked aspects of HSAs that, if communicated effectively, could bolster enrollment in the future.

What's happening with HSA growth? - Emily Payne, BenefitsPro

In recent years, 3% year-over-year growth was par for the course with HSA enrollment numbers, but according to new research from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), the percentage of individuals with an HDHP (with no HSA) dropped for the first time since 2015, while those with a CDHP (with an HSA) grew at just under 3%.

That doesn't seem...that bad? While admittedly the industry is taking stock of these new changes, the same research did point out some promising signs for HSAs. 17% of HSA users opened their accounts in the last year, while another 26% did so in the past 1-2 years. That groundswell of new users should bode well for the HSAs future and could help us get back to the days of 3% growth!

Some Plan Sponsors May Need a Nudge About HSA Rollovers - Investment News

To be clear, we're not talking about how HSA funds roll over at the end of each plan year. Even though that's a pretty great feature! This HSA rollover refers to when you leave a job, and you take your HSA with you and continue to contribute to it throughout your career.

But it turns out that employers need to do more to make employees aware of this fact. A new survey conducted by the Plan Sponsor Council of America found that only 19% of employees ask new employees whether they'd like to move their HSA from their previous job into their new company's plan. That's a huge problem.

Portability of HSAs is one of their best features, but if employees are unaware of that fact, they could potentially have a handful of scattered HSAs in different accounts at their previous employers, as opposed to a single account where all of their health savings is kept. This is a key piece of information that needs to be more effectively communicated at all levels of the HSA life cycle, especially open enrollment communications.

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HSA Headlines is a weekly roundup of the latest, most relevant news and conversations about your health savings. It appears every Friday, exclusively on the HSA Learning Center. And for more about your physical and financial well-being, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Retirement

HSA Headlines - 6/14/19 - How much has Gen-Z saved for retirement so far?

They may be the newest generation in the American workforce, but Gen-Z is already building a reputation for being hard workers and savvy savers when it comes to planning out their future.

For this week's HSA Headlines, we take a closer look at how well this generation is faring in the retirement savings game, as well as some interesting trends about HSA spending that is giving benefit managers pause as they put together their open enrollment materials this fall.

Here's how much money Americans in their 20s have saved in their 401(k)s - Kathleen Elkins, CNBC

Last week, we revisited the age-old question of whether to enroll in an HSA or a 401(k), and this week we're taking a closer look at the savings trends on these top retirement accounts. CNBC obtained data from Fidelity Investments, the country's largest retirement plan provider, to break out how each generation's savings trends.

First off, average balance. Even though they have just started working, Gen-Z has put away an impressive amount of money. The average 401(k) balance of those 20-29 is $11,800, while those 30-39 is $42,400. Perhaps most surprising is how much Gen-Z is saving out of the gate. The average savings rate for each paycheck is 7%, which is not that far off from those in their 30s who average a 7.8% contribution.

Whether it's an HSA or a 401(k), it sounds like Gen-Z has gotten the message and are doing what it takes to plan ahead for retirement.

Employees Not Using HSAs to Invest for Retirement is a Problem - Stephen Miller, SHRM

We talk a lot in this column about the retirement potential of HSAs, but according to a series of studies, communication efforts from benefit managers and brokers are still not being heeded to a large extent.

An EBRI study from early 2019 found that while more than half see their HSAs as long-term savings vehicles, only 7% are actually investing their funds in mutual funds, stocks and bonds. But a new side effect of large balances is also emerging - some HSA users see their large balances as "free money for health care," and as such may use their HSA funds first to spend down their yearly deductibles, or pursue medical treatments that are unnecessary.

The fact is, HSAs have only been around since 2003, and every study that is released provides new windows into consumer behavior and spending trends. We're always learning something new and there's a lot of trial and error still out there on the plan provider and participant level. So start doing it right and invest those funds, people!

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HSA Headlines is a weekly roundup of the latest, most relevant news and conversations about your health savings. It appears every Friday, exclusively on the HSA Learning Center. And for more about your physical and financial well-being, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Retirement

HSA Headlines - 6/7/19 - 401(k) or HSA? The retirement confusion continues

HSAs can cover thousands of eligible medical products and services, but most talk about these accounts turns to their retirement potential. After all, being able to cover healthcare expenses in the here and now while carrying over that savings for retirement is the key benefit of an HSA, but there are still plenty of retirement savings options out there that can give working professionals pause when electing benefits.

With the recent news of expanded HSA contribution limits, this week we're playing the long game with a bigger focus on retirement and making the right choice with the options available to working professionals.

Should you fund your HSA at the expense of your 401(k)? - Clark D. Randall, MarketWatch

Getting off on the right foot in retirement planning starts from the moment that most professionals enter the workforce, and while 401(k)s have held sway for decades, HSAs are giving some pause when electing benefits.

In a recent MarketWatch piece, financial planner Clark D. Randall outlined the most common retirement plan options (401(k)s, traditional/Roth IRAs) and advises that a combination of 401(k) savings AND HSA funds is the best path to a safe retirement.

Randall makes the great point that while 401(k)s are great savings vehicles, distributing those funds is another matter entirely as they are taxed at 15%. As opposed to seeing a 401(k) as a total retirement savings solution, Randall suggests funding both - using the HSA now to cover immediate health expenses, while saving the remainder for retirement health expenses.

In this way, account holders won't have to pay excessive on taxes on qualified 401(k) distributions at retirement, which hurts even more if this is a medical expense, as an HSA withdrawal for a qualified medical expense would be tax-free. And you still get to keep those sweet HSA tax deductions each year. These decisions are completely contingent on your financial situation, but this is one path forward that could be beneficial for some professionals.

A definitive guide to retirement health care costs - Meredith C. Carroll, The Week

While we're on the subject of retirement, The Week released a very handy guide to retirement healthcare expenses, and what individuals and families should expect when it's time to leave the working world.

The oft-cited number from Fidelity Investments 2019 analysis is that a couple retiring at age 65 should set aside at least $280,000 for retirement health expenses. That's certainly a lot to prepare for.

But the fact is, there is no single figure that will perfectly match your health needs, so creating a broad strategy that covers the essentials is a good step forward. If you are well into your career, this guide could be helpful to allow you to re-assess how much you've saved, and figure out some unique ways to save on healthcare expenditures before you've reached "Medicare age."

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HSA Headlines is a weekly roundup of the latest, most relevant news and conversations about your health savings. It appears every Friday, exclusively on the HSA Learning Center. And for more about your physical and financial well-being, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

HSA Headlines - 5/31/19 - New 2020 HSA contribution limits and the rise of health care wearables

There are few events on the calendar that get us as excited as the release of new HSA contribution limits, but this week marks the one time each year that the IRS adjusts contribution amounts for individuals and families to adjust to yearly inflation. Talk about better than Christmas morning!

Aside from this banner news, this week we'll also cover some interesting trends on health care outcomes and wearables, the latter of which have been subject of eligibility debates for years. Without further ado, here are the headlines!

2020 HSA limits rise modestly, IRS says - Stephen Miller, SHRM

Drumroll please! For those approaching open enrollment this fall or thinking of starting an HSA in 2020, limits are rising. For 2020, the HSA contribution limit for individual health plan enrollment will be $3,550, and those enrolled as two person or family can contribute up to $7,100. So a $50 increase for individual enrollment, $100 increase for family.

Additionally, some other metrics for HSA users to make note of. First, catch-up contributions which are possible at/after age 55 will still be $1,000 for 2020, and there has also been an increase in HDHP deductible limits.

Minimum deductibles will be $1,400 (individual, up $50 from 2019) and $2,800 (families, up $100 from 2019), while maximum out-of-pocket amounts increased to $6,900 (self-only, up $150 from 2019) and $13,800 (families, up $300 from 2019).

The healthcare benefits of combining wearables with AI - Moni Miyashita and Michael Brady, Harvard Business Review

We covered the possibility of fitness trackers becoming HSA-eligible in fall 2018, but because products/services that are eligible have to be able to treat a medical condition, fitness trackers were still seen as "general health" products and outside the bounds of becoming eligible.

But devices like these do more than just track steps, they can provide a great window into a person's health through diagnostic abilities like blood pressure monitors, heart rate and more. And in the United Kingdom, their National Health Service is using them to better improve long-term health outcomes.

The NHS instituted a pilot program for multiple hospitals in southeastern England called their Hospital at Home Team (HAHT). Patients who are eligible are sent home with a Wi-Fi-enabled arm band and charger, and patients securely transmit health data using a cellular network. This allows the HAHT team to check in regularly with patients about their ongoing treatment or symptoms, and be alerted in the case of major emergencies.

The program thus far has reported incredible results. The need for home visits has dropped more than 20%, as well as reducing hospital readmission and emergency room visit rates. Perhaps the most impressive metric is long-term adherence for treatment. The industry average is about half of patients will stick with their plans, the NHS program reported 96% of users stuck with their treatments.

While this may not be the same as making fitness trackers HSA-eligible, it shows the amazing development of health-centric wearables and their potential future as necessary aids in medical treatment.

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HSA Headlines is a weekly roundup of the latest, most relevant news and conversations about your health savings. It appears every Friday, exclusively on the HSA Learning Center. And for more about your physical and financial well-being, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.