obamacare

photo from:  https://moneypennydd.wordpress.com/2009/07/22/obamacare-increases-health-care-costs/

Much about ObamaCare has been written .  One of its negative consequences will be a reduction in the amount of money one can set aside for their Flexible Spending Account (FSA).  The most common variation of the FSA is the Health Spending Account (HSA).  According to Wikipedia:

A health savings account (HSA), is a tax-advantaged
medical savings account available to taxpayers who are enrolled in a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP). The funds contributed to the account are not
subject to federal income tax at the time of deposit. Unlike a flexible spending account (FSA),
funds roll over and accumulate year to year if not spent. HSAs are owned
by the individual, which differentiates them from the company-owned Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) that is an alternate tax-deductible
source of funds paired with HDHPs. HSA funds may currently be used to
pay for qualified medical expenses at any time
without federal tax liability or penalty.

The New York Times reported on this last week.  The most important points of this article point out:

  • THANKS to the sweeping new health law, your flexible spending plan is
    about to become a bit less flexible.  Flexible spending accounts have long been a valuable tool for
    budget-wise consumers. They let you use pretax dollars to pay for
    eligible out-of-pocket health care expenses. You agree to set aside a
    certain amount each year, usually through paycheck deductions, based on
    what you expect your health care needs to be. By using pretax dollars, you can reduce your overall cost for these
    items by about 20 percent.
  • An attraction had been the extremely generous list of eligible
    expenses — including deductibles and co-pays, eyeglasses and dental work, over-the-counter
    cold medicine, sunscreen and vitamins. But under the new law, starting
    Jan. 1, flex-spend users will no longer be able to submit claims for
    over- the-counter medicines unless they have been specifically directed
    to use them by a doctor.
    Another big flex-spend change ahead: starting in 2013 the annual limit
    that any employee may contribute to these plans will be restricted to
    $2,500. Many companies had allowed much more.
  • LOOK AHEAD. There are still about two-and-a-half years
    before the lower flex-spend maximum takes effect. If you know a big
    elective medical or dental procedure is in the offing — like LASIK surgery, braces or long-needed tooth
    implants or caps — you may want to schedule these treatments while you
    can still pay for a big chunk of the out-of-pocket expenses with pretax
    dollars.

The last point says it all.  By cutting HSA contributions to $2,500, it will not be possible to fully fund LASIK with pre-tax dollars!  Paying with these pre-tax dollars can save you at least 20% on the procedure.  Because of the new ObamaCare legislation, THE TIME TO GET LASIK IS NOW!!

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