Your Weekly HSA News – October 4, 2021

Read the latest news about Health Savings Accounts and consumer-driven health care.
News from Washington
No Deal: House Delays Infrastructure Vote
After a long day of meetings between Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and the warring centrist and progressive factions of the caucus, as well as with White House staff, Democrats opted to delay a vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill planned for September 30 rather than allow an embarrassing public failure on the House floor.
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Biden Leaves Meeting Saying ‘It Doesn’t Matter’ When Bill Is Passed
President Biden told reporters On October 1 there was no rush to pass his economic agenda after meeting with the House Democratic caucus amid tensions over how to proceed on a Senate-passed infrastructure bill and a larger reconciliation package. “We’re gonna get this done,” Biden said as he departed the caucus meeting.
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Pelosi Sets End-of-October Deadline for Infrastructure Vote
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) set a new deadline of Oct. 31 for the House to pass the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill. In a “Dear Colleague” letter released on October 2, Pelosi said that “more time was needed” to pass the infrastructure bill along with the larger, $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package after scrambling over the past two days to get enough votes.
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Manchin Throws Down Gauntlet with Progressives
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) announcement on September 30 that he won’t support any reconciliation bill costing more than $1.5 trillion served as a rude awakening to Democratic progressives who thought he could support a number much closer to the $3.5 trillion goal set by the Senate- and House-passed budgets.
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Biden Signs Bill to Avert Shutdown
President Biden signed a stopgap bill on September 30 that will keep the government funded through early December, narrowly averting a government shutdown. The House and Senate each passed the continuing resolution earlier that day. The bill funds government operations through December 3, 2021.
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HSA Studies & Analysis
AHIP: More Employers and Health Insurance Providers Covering Chronic Disease Prevention Services
A new survey conducted by AHIP and the Smarter Health Care Coalition found that most health insurance providers and many large employers have taken advantage of new regulatory flexibility to cover more chronic disease prevention services on a pre-deductible basis. The survey, which assessed health insurance provider uptake and changes in the benefit design for HSA-qualified plans, also noted that diabetes and heart disease are the two most commonly targeted conditions for reducing or eliminating cost sharing.
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HSA Compliance Corner
Reminders About Upcoming Changes to Healthcare Spending Related to the COVID-19 Pandemic
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, enacted on March 27, 2020, provides pre-deductible coverage flexibility to high-deductible health plans for telehealth services. But that flexibility expires on December 31, 2021. On March 11, 2020, the IRS issued a notice allowing HDHPs to cover testing for, and treatment of, COVID-19 without a deductible or with a deductible below the applicable HDHP minimum deductible. This flexibility remains available until further notice from the IRS.
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HSA Contribution Limits and Other Requirements
It’s that time of year when workers are asked to pick their health benefit options for 2022 during an open enrollment period. If your employer offers an HSA as part of its benefits package, don’t dismiss it out of hand just because you’re not familiar with how they work. There are, however, a few HSA limitations and requirements that are adjusted for inflation each year. They apply to the amount you can contribute to an HSA for the year, the minimum deductible for your health insurance plan, and your annual out-of-pocket expenses. If you or your health plan are not in compliance with the restrictions in place for any particular year, then you can say goodbye to the HSA tax savings for that year.
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HSA Industry News
WEX Announces HSA Day 2021, Partners with HR and Personal Finance Influencers
WEX has announced its plans for its third annual National HSA Awareness Day 2021 on October 15, 2021. HSA Day will be presented virtually and will focus on supporting human resource departments with the education, tools, and resources they need to support employees’ healthcare and retirement-planning needs with HSAs. On HSA Day, “Benefits Buzz,” a weekly podcast from WEX’s Health division, will feature three special guests that will share their insight and experience on how HSAs can address the challenges HR teams face.
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The HSA Market
Americans Increasingly Using Social Media for Help With Financial Decisions
Social media is influencing how some Americans make financial decisions, according to a new survey. While financial services providers’ online tools are the most trusted resource for information (63%), 20% of those surveyed say social media content is also a go-to resource. One-third say they trust social media content to help them make financial decisions, and 32% say they trust social media influencers and celebrities’ financial advice.
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Saving for Health Care: Consumers Just Aren’t Getting It
According to recent data from Bend Financial, one in seven Americans have no plan for their future health care needs, and those that do are most likely underestimating how much those expenses will be. That’s not to say they don’t have tools at their disposal, including 401(k)s, retirement planning tools, health savings accounts and cost-estimator services. Unfortunately, many Americans say they have no clue how these tools work and find the pile of paperwork (or digital forms) and flood of information overwhelming.
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HSAs & Retirement
The Power of Health Savings Accounts for Retirement Planning
The number of HSAs is soaring, but most account holders fail to take full advantage of the retirement planning power of HSAs. Anyone who’s eligible for an HSA should make maximum contributions to the account. It’s best to fully fund an HSA before contributing to a 401(k) or IRA and invest the HSA the same as the rest of your retirement portfolio. The strategy will maximize the life of your retirement nest egg.
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Convergence of Retirement and Benefits Is Just Beginning
What companies spend on health insurance, retirement plans and other benefit programs all impact their bottom line. Yet until recently, those different benefits were viewed as existing on their own. In recent years, benefits consultants and retirement plan advisors have talked up the idea of convergence. One area that proponents of convergence are excited about is HSAs and the role they can play to both handle medical costs and retirement readiness.
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Maximizing Your HSA
Can You Save Too Much in a Health Savings Account?
Can you overdo your HSA contributions–put more in the account than you’re likely to spend on healthcare costs? The short answer is that it’s unlikely, largely because HSAs have generous withdrawal features. In a worst-case scenario where your HSA account balance exceeds your expected healthcare costs, you have two key ways to get your money out sooner without negating the tax benefits of the HSA.
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Savers Are Finally Waking Up to the Power of HSA Investing to Cover Their Medical Bills
It’s common to view an HSA as a short-term savings account or a way to save for retirement, given that withdrawals can be used for non-medical expenses after age 65 (as long as you’re willing to pay income tax on them). But you can typically also use an HSA to invest and earn returns in the stock market.
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Breaking Down the Benefits of HSAs to Both Employee and Employer
Historically, employees have utilized HSAs as a valuable tool in managing current medical expenses. But, because HSAs are not forfeited at year-end like other types of medical savings arrangements such as a health flexible spending arrangement, HSAs are increasingly being viewed as a vehicle for building long-term savings that can be used to cover healthcare costs in retirement.
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Consumer-Driven Health Care
10 Ways to Save on Prescription Drugs
Whether you need a prescription filled immediately for a sudden bout of the flu or you take drugs for a chronic condition, you can still find ways to save on prescriptions. Here are a few tips on how to keep your prescription drug costs low.
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