All posts tagged Health care

Tax-Free Investing. The True Secret Behind Health Savings Accounts.

By Brad Beckstrom

Why would I waste a perfectly good Thursday morning writing about health insurance and health savings accounts? Well, politics has made paying for healthcare a national obsession.

There’s been a lot in the news recently about the spiraling costs of healthcare and Republican promises to cut the costs of health insurance for individuals and families. While no formal plan has been presented, one key component mentioned by both Republicans and Democrats is the Health Savings Account or HSA. The fact is, tax-advantaged HSAs have been around for years. In many ways they are also one of the best ways to save for retirement. I’ll explain why.

What is an HSA?

An HSA used in conjunction with a high deductible health insurance policy allows users to save and spend money tax-free to use for medical expenses. Contributions to an HSA can be made pre-tax directly from your paycheck or you can make contributions on your own that are 100% tax-deductible, up to $3300 for individuals and $6550 for families and, if you’re over 55, you can contribute $7550 per year. For example, a family in the 25% marginal tax bracket could save you over $1600 a year in taxes.

How does it work?

Once you have money in your account, you can then use it to pay for all types of medical expenses, including things like new glasses, prescription drugs, medical and dental visits, and any medical expenses not covered by your high deductible health plan. To be eligible, you need to have a health plan that qualifies as a high deductible plan. (Example a minimum deductible of $1300 for singles or $2600 for families). A high deductible plan means you will pay more out of pocket before meeting your deductible. The advantage is that the premiums on these plans are lower. Due to the high cost of health care, many employers are now offering only high deductible plans, or versions of it, as an option.  For entrepreneurs, these plans are also available through healthcare.gov and labeled as HSA or through most health insurance brokers at comparable rates. Read more…

Don’t Get Robbed Blind Buying Prescription Glasses.

My journey to find the perfect $44 pair of prescription shades.

Risky Business

Just got back from a walk and I am really enjoying my new $44 prescription Ray-Bans. The walk was short but the journey to find inexpensive prescription glasses has been a long one.

Over years I’ve been ripped off buying prescription glasses.. I don’t wear contacts, so you would think that would save me some money. Not really.  I need progressive lenses and have an astigmatism.

While my prescription is not that strong, decent lightweight progressive lenses are still pricey. In addition, since I don’t wear contacts, I need prescription sunglasses, which are another racket.

If you want a decent pair of prescription sunglasses, you need to buy them and then immediately replace the expensive tinted polarized lenses with your custom made prescription. Unfortunately, because they’re sunglasses, they often get smashed, bent, broken and sometimes lost. #firstworldproblems

I’ve got a decent track record with lost sunglasses, my wife SuperK does not.  Still, I’ve lost a couple of pairs of prescription sunglasses over the years, and busted one other pair.

Here are a few of the many comical ways I’ve been ripped off purchasing glasses. Read more…