Your Weekly HSA News – October 25, 2021

Read the latest news about Health Savings Accounts and consumer-driven health care.
News from Washington
Under Pressure, Democrats Cut Back Spending Package
Democratic lawmakers are swiftly cutting back their spending on the Build Back Better agenda after President Biden made clear to progressive lawmakers that the package will spend far less than they had hoped on key priorities. Progressive and centrist Democrats alike say a new reality is setting in after weeks of stalemate over the shape and size of the social spending bill.
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Democrats Jostle Over Health Care Priorities for Scaled-Back Package
Jockeying is intensifying over a range of competing health care priorities as Democrats shrink their social spending package in an attempt to shore up enough support to advance the legislation. With the overall size of President Biden’s Build Back Better package shrinking, Democrats are searching for ways to fit in all of the health care priorities, leading to tensions in the party over the differing initiatives.
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Reps. Schneider, Wenstrup Introduce Bipartisan Primary and Virtual Care Affordability Act
Representatives Brad Schneider (D-IL) and Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) introduced legislation to improve the affordability of primary care and telehealth for individuals with HSA-qualified plans. Congress authorized first dollar coverage of telehealth services for HSA-qualified plans, but this provision is set to expire on December 31, 2021. The bill would extend the telehealth provision through December 31, 2023 and also give HSA-qualified plans the flexibility to waive the deductible for primary care services.
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HSA Compliance Corner
CAA Surprise Billing Rules Preserve HSA Eligibility
How do the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 surprise billing provisions address HDHP status and HSA eligibility? For plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2022, the CAA’s new surprise billing protection rules include provisions to ensure the plan payments do not cause plans to lose HDHP status or individuals to lose HSA eligibility.
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HSA Industry News
Voya Selected as New HSA Provider for ABA Retirement Funds Program
Voya Financial announced that it has been selected as the new HSA provider for the ABA Retirement Funds Program. The new Voya HSA administration solution is available to all Program clients as of October 1, 2021.
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HSA Best Practices
Understanding and Communicating About HSAs
A panel at the virtual 2021 PLANSPONSOR HSA Review conference detailed how health savings accounts can be beneficial as both long- and short-term savings vehicles. Understanding how HSAs work is key to being able to communicate about them to employees and avoid misconceptions.
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How HSAs, FSAs, and HRAs Can Work Together
Health FSAs and HRAs can create HSA eligibility issues when individuals are enrolled in HSA-qualified high deductible health plans. This does not mean that all FSA and HRA programs are problematic with HSAs. In fact, the IRS allows certain types of FSAs and HRAs to be compatible with an HSA.
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Integrating a Limited-Purpose Health FSA into Your HSA Program
A growing number of companies are introducing Limited-Purpose Health FSAs to their new or existing HSA program. A Limited-Purpose Health FSA is a low-cost addition to the benefits menu that may appeal to employees who want to fund an HSA and achieve other financial goals. Learn why employers should consider adding a Limited Purpose Health FSA to their benefits offering.
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The HSA Market
Transamerica Offers Individual Coverage HRAs
Transamerica has announced the expansion of its workplace-focused benefit solutions with the introduction of individual coverage HRAs. Willis Towers Watson has found ICHRAs are starting to attract more interest from U.S. employers, particularly wholesale and retail employers and those in education and the public sector.
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UnitedHealthcare, Optum Collaborate on New Virtual-First Plan Design
UnitedHealthcare has unveiled a new virtual-first plan design called NavigateNOW, which was developed in collaboration with its sister company, Optum. The plan will launch for select employers in nine markets later this year. The new product aims to offer a simpler and more convenient experience to its members, despite premiums that are 15% less than traditional plans.
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HSAs & Retirement
Are You Missing Out on This Top-Tier Retirement Savings Opportunity?
There are several tax-advantaged accounts available that can help you save for retirement. A health savings account is one of the best options available. While an HSA may not sound like a retirement account, it can be used as one. And it has some significant benefits, compared with other options such as a 401(k) or an IRA.
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This Retirement Savings Plan Is Off the Table for Me — but You Should Take Advantage of It
Many people don’t think of HSAs as retirement plans, and technically, they’re not. These accounts are designed to help savers cover the cost of medical expenses. But because HSA funds never expire, they can be carried all the way into retirement. And it’s this very option that makes these plans so valuable.
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Well-Funded HSAs Are a Retirement ‘Superpower’
Retirement plan advisers and their clients are warming to the idea that health savings accounts can be beneficial as both long- and short-term savings vehicles. Having an HSA going into retirement is ‘incredibly powerful,’ experts say, because money is being saved and spent as efficiently as possible. But there are still many misconceptions about HSAs.
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Medicare: What They Don’t Tell You
If you’re one of millions rounding the bend toward 65 in the next decade or so, getting up to speed now on Medicare rules will help you avoid costly mistakes. Here are tips for deciphering five of those rules.
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Financially Burdened Seniors Struggle to Cover Healthcare Costs
Healthcare costs continue to be a barrier for seniors, with over one in four facing high out-of-pocket costs and lacking emergency funds to pay for healthcare services, according to a new survey. 28% of seniors said they would take from retirement or non-retirement funds to pay for a major healthcare issue, while 22% would use a credit card. Only 2% said they had an HSA to assist with healthcare costs.
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The Problem of ‘Narrow Framing,’ and Its Impact on Retirement
As American workers’ financial lives have become increasingly complicated, workers have to decide whether to fund their 401(k), HSA, emergency savings account, or other priorities. Shlomo Benartzi, professor emeritus at UCLA, says the retirement plan services industry must put more time, attention and resources into supporting customers in this decisionmaking process.
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Maximizing Your HSA
What to Know About HSAs as Open Enrollment Approaches
With open enrollment fast approaching, employees will soon be taking a closer look at the benefits offered by their companies. The pandemic has highlighted a need for programs that can help employees save and prepare for unexpected financial needs, and HSAs are one way to do that.
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How to Invest With Your HSA, and Why
Think of your HSA as a home for your medical money. Just like a brokerage account or an IRA, you’ll need to put money into the account before you buy investments. Then, after you fund the account, you can start investing. Investing your money through an HSA will likely allow it to grow faster than by saving alone.
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Avoid Making This Common Mistake With Your Health Savings Account
HSAs can be sneaky-good retirement savings vehicles, but only a mere 9% of account holders actually invest their funds, according to recent research. And yet by doing so, you can rapidly grow the funds in your account, with the added bonus of being able to spend that money penalty-free on anything after the age of 65, not just healthcare expenses.
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Debunking 10 Common HSA Myths
These days, the HSA is almost a household name. But just because the HSA is common doesn’t mean it’s well-understood. To help you shore up your health savings know-how, let’s bust 10 HSA myths.
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The Best Health Savings Account for Investors
Morningstar has a couple of best practices for HSAs as an investment account. The first being offering an investment menu that includes core asset classes. Another is including investment strategies that earn Morningstar medals, which improves the quality of investments available. The next one is not requiring investors to keep money in their spending account before investing.
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Consumer-Driven Health Care
Worried About Healthcare Bills? 3 Accounts Worth Saving In
It’s no secret that healthcare can be expensive. So it’s not surprising that 22% of respondents in a recent survey by the National Endowment for Financial Education said they’re worried about covering their medical costs. If you have similar concerns, here are three accounts to consider saving in for healthcare.
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Even With More Transparency, Hospitals Still Charge Wildly Different Amounts for the Same Procedure
For years, patients have complained they often do not know how much hospitals charge for healthcare services until they are billed, unlike other commercial products such as gasoline, clothes or housing. But published hospital prices show wide variations in prices — up to eight times — for the same care, demonstrating to advocates that price transparency can help consumers shop for the best prices.
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Amazon Expanding Virtual Care Service to 5 Additional Cities This Year
Amazon continues to eye the employer market with its Amazon Care service and plans to expand to five major cities this year, an executive at the online retail giant said this week. The company plans to roll out its hybrid care model, which combines virtual care services as well as in-home care, to Dallas, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston and Los Angeles.
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The Future of Primary Care Benefits Is Virtual
While telehealth services were available before, the pandemic resulted in a 50% increase in virtual visits during the first quarter of 2020, compared with the same period in 2019. Originally, telehealth was a necessity to ensure social distancing during the peak of the pandemic. Now, these programs have evolved to provide a more personalized and vital option for employers to offer.
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