Healthcare Business DEMYSTIFIED

de mys ti fy - to make less mysterious, clarify

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the difference between an HSA and a FSA?
A: An HSA is a Health Savings Account.  It is an account that is set up in conjunction with a high deductible health plan.  If your employer offers a high deductible plan (usually $2500 or more per year), or you purchase a high deductible health plan on the open market, then you are eligible to open an HSA.  Your employer will most likely offer the option of an HSA if they have a high deductible plan.  The HSA is a savings account that is yours.  The balance rolls over every year and as it grows, can be invested in mutual funds if you so desire.  The money in the account is contributed by you, pre-tax, on a yearly basis and can only be used for health related expenses.  The FSA, or Flexible Spending Account, is similar to the HSA in that it is money that you contribute to an account, pre-tax, to be used for health related expenses.  The difference is that the money needs to be used within the plan year or you forfeit it and start over the beginning of the new plan year.  It can be used with any health plan your employer offers.  It is important to estimate your anticipated expenses for the year with a FSA so that you do not put in too much money and end up losing it at the end of the plan year if you do not have sufficient medical expenses.


Q: Why does my doctor's office ask for my insurance card every time I come in for an appointment?
A: Your doctor's office will most likely ask for your insurance card every time you come in for a visit to verify that they have the correct information on file for your insurance company.  Insurance companies will often issue new cards to their members and sometimes the ID or Plan Number can change.  Always present the most recent insurance card you have so that there are no descrepencies.  They most likely will also ask about your address and phone number.  They want to be able to get in touch with you about lab results and prescriptions after your visit and if they have an old phone number it is impossible to contact you.  The same holds true with your address.  They may need to send your test results to you.  The insurance company also uses your address as a cross check and will want it to match their records.  It is a minor inconvenience to present your insurance card each time.  Keep it in your wallet or purse and replace it when the new card arrives.  It will save you and your doctor's office time and energy in the long run and make the process easier for everyone.