Weekly HSA News – August 29, 2022

News from Washington
Red Wave Hits Breaker: GOP Midterm Worries Rise
Republican worries of a midterm flop are growing heading into the critical post-Labor Day campaign season, with analysts who had previously predicted massive GOP gains shifting their forecasts toward Democrats. RealClearPolitics averages of polls measuring whether voters would prefer Republican or Democratic control of Congress show the GOP slipping from a 4.8-point advantage in late April to less than a point as of August 26.   Read More
DOL Likely Inching Close to a Full Fiduciary Rule, Analysts Say
Virtually the only thing left for the Department of Labor to do with its fiduciary definition rewrite is to essentially make all first-time advice fiduciary, analysts agreed during a recent webinar. If it happens, that change would be significant and basically return the DOL to its initial 2016 fiduciary rule. As it stands, the DOL’s package known as the investment advice rule makes rollover advice fiduciary.   Read More
The IRS Could Be on the Verge of Changing the Way Americans File Their Taxes
The Inflation Reduction Act signed into law by President Biden provided $80 billion in funding for the IRS, including $15 million to deliver a report on a free, government-run tax e-filing system. But the agency has only about a year to figure out how much an online filing system would cost, the design of the system and how taxpayers would feel about using one.   Read More
HSA Compliance Corner
Can Your Insurer Disqualify You from Opening & Funding an HSA? Possibly!
Your insurer should know the rules about designing an HSA-qualified plan, and they almost always do. But there are some instances in which the law changes quickly or there is ambiguity in interpretation of regulations. Insurers do the best that they can to follow regulatory guidance in building and administering their plans. But sometimes that guidance is vague, and they may not get it right every time. Be sure you know what to look for when you purchase your coverage.   Read More
HSA Industry News
Amazon’s Use of HSAs Opening Doors for New Solutions to Out-of-Pocket Expenses
Amazon’s recent announcement that it will be accepting HSA cards for medical supplies sold on its e-commerce site marked a big step for the company’s evolving role in the healthcare space and may also push more consumers to take an interest in HSAs. Experts say retail-meets-healthcare platforms such as this one represent the growing collaboration of private insurance plans and consumers in paying for out-of-pocket expenses.   Read More
The HSA Market
Health Prices Rising Much Faster in the Private Sector Than Medicare
Economy-wide inflation has outpaced health care inflation over the last year — an anomaly, since medical prices typically rise faster. Health care prices overall may be lagging inflation, but there’s a widening divergence between what’s being paid in Medicare and the private sector, according to a new analysis.   Read More
Cancer Is Now the Biggest Driver of Employers’ Healthcare Costs, Survey Shows
Cancer has overtaken musculoskeletal conditions as the biggest driver of employer health costs, according to a new survey of large employers. Thirteen percent of the employers surveyed said they have seen more late-stage cancers among their employees, and 44% anticipate similar increases coming down the pike.   Read More
Maximizing Your HSA
Recession Resistant Benefits: How HSAs Can Help
In one way or another, we are all bracing for a recession after two consecutive quarters of decline in economic activity. While the impact of a recession can be far-reaching, for those with and supporting Health Savings Accounts, there might be a glimmer of hope. Here’s how HSAs provide a recession-resistant benefits approach for individuals, employers and brokers/consultants.   Read More
Can Your HSA Help Reduce the Taxes on Your Social Security Benefits? Yes!
Imagine your retirement income is $42,000 and you have an extra $1,462 to spend on what’s important to you. That additional spending power is yours not because you saved more for retirement, but rather because of your allocation of savings between a tax-deferred retirement account and a Health Savings Account while you were you were working.   Read More
4 Surprising Things You Can Pay For Tax-Free With an HSA
Most people think an HSA can only be used to pay for medical visits. But here are four surprising things your pay with an HSA. As long as you use the money in the HSA to pay for medical or health-related services, then all withdrawals are tax-free and tax-deductible when applicable. And as long as the money sits in the HSA it is never taxed.   Read More
Consumer-Driven Health Care
Open Enrollment Cheat Sheet: The Pros and Cons of FSA, HSA, and HRA Pre-Tax Benefits
Choosing the right health insurance plan can feel like a gamble. But with the right insight and guidance, it doesn’t have to be. What can be especially daunting is choosing the right accompanying health benefits accounts, which can seem like a stream of indecipherable acronyms. The three main types of pre-tax health plan accounts are flexible spending accounts, health savings accounts and health reimbursement accounts.   Read More
Frustrated Pharmacists Are Opting Out of the Insurance System, Saving Some Customers Hundreds of Dollars a Month
Freedom Pharmacy is one of a small but growing number of “cash” or “self-pay” pharmacies, sometimes able to save customers hundreds of dollars on a single medication. By opting out of the insurance system altogether, cash pharmacy owners are able to avoid many of the fees and rules that inflate medication prices. Consumers say they are reaping the benefits.   Read More