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Getting to Know the HDHP & HSA

If you have never used a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) before, it may appear out of your comfort zone. Unfortunately, people often just see the higher deductible than the other plans and immediately dismiss it without looking further into the plan. The HDHP comes with a Health Savings Account (HSA) and actually boasts many benefits which may be a better plan for you and your family. Now that it's time to make elections for your 2020 benefits, take a moment to read why the HDHP could keep more money in your pocket while providing the same amount of coverage as you could receive in any of the other two health plans.

What is a HDHP & HSA?

HDHP

A HDHP is a type of health plan that gives you more control of your health care expenses. It is designed primarily for people who are relatively healthy and don't plan to make many trips to the doctors office besides basic preventative checkups. However, others can benefit from this type of plan as well. A person who chooses this type of plan will pay a lower premium than they would with the HRA or POS plans. However, since the premiums are lower, the deductible is higher than the other two plans. In order to help offset the higher deductible, this plan comes with an attached Health Savings Account (HSA) where you can contribute funds on a pre-tax basis to pay for your health expenses. Employees will also be eligible to receive cash contribution from Tulane pending completion of wellness activities.

Cut Costs with the HDHP

  1. Protect yourself with preventative care. Fend off serious medical conditions before they require expensive treatment with  preventative care. Preventative care is covered at 100% when you see an in-network provider. This means that services such as annual physical exams, immunizations, and screenings are provided at no cost.
  2. Make sure your doctor is in-network. Before you get care, verify that your health care provider is in-network. You pay less when you go to an in-network provider because you pay negotiated rates.
  3. Ask your doctor about generics. If you take a brand name drug, you understand how expensive they can be. Ask you doctor about switching to a generic. Generic drugs meet the same FDA standards, quality, strength, and purity as their brand-name counterpart, at a fraction of the cost.
  4. Switch to mail-order prescriptions. Ordering on-going prescriptions drugs through mail-order saves you a trip to the pharmacy and reduces your costs.

Highlights of a HDHP

  • You can use any doctor or hospital, but you'll pay less when you use in-network providers.
  • In-network preventative care is covered at 100% .
  • You do not need to select a a primary care physician and no not need a referral to see a specialist.
  • Once you reach the out-of pocket maximum, the plan pays 100% of eligible  expenses for the rest of the year.
  • The plan comes with a Health Savings Account (HSA) to help pay for eligible expenses and your annual deductible if you choose to use it.

To compare all three plans visit the Plan Comparison Tool & Provider Search page or for more information see guide. If you have questions about this plan, email the benefits team at 2020HealthPlans@tulane.edu.

HSA

A HSA is a tax-advantages account created for individuals who are covered under high-deductible health plans (HDHPs), intended to help people save for medical expenses that HDHPs do not cover. The funds in this account are triple-tax-advantaged since the money goes into the account tax-free, comes out tax free, and earns interest tax free. Contributions to this account are deducted from your paycheck on a pre-tax basis and available for use only when money is contributed. The funds will  roll over from year to year and grow over time, unlike FSAs where the unused money you contribute expires at the end of plan year. Your HSA is yours to keep even if you retire or leave Tulane. Also, the funds are available conveniently through a debit card as well.

Contributions

HSA vs. FSA

You cannot be enrolled in a HSA and Healthcare FSA at the same time but you may enroll in the Dependent Care FSA.

Starting January 1, 2020 Accrue Health will be administering the HSAs and FSAs for Tulane.

How Does a HDHP & HSA Function?

Health Plan Coverage - Preventative services are covered in full, while other services require employees to pay a deductible and coinsurance.

Employee Responsibility - Employees are responsible for paying the deductible up to a certain amount, as well as a percentage of cost, called coinsurance but are protected by an out-of-pocket maximum.

Funding Account - The employee funding account, which may be funded by the employee with tax-free dollars, Tulane, or both helps reduce out-of -pocket expenses for the employee.

Greater Control - Employees have more control over how their account dollars are spent with a wide range of qualified medical expenses (link).

 

Think of your HSA as a personal savings account for your health care expenses, with some impressive tax advantages

Paying for Care

Note: If your visit is for preventative care, remind your health care provider to code the visit correctly so that you're not charged for care. Also, you can fill prescriptions at a pharmacy or by mail order.

Eligbility & Limitations

All benefits eligible employees are able to enroll in the HDHP & HSA but please be aware of the following:

No other Insurance Allowed Except "Permitted" Insurance

  • To prevent people from obtaining benefits of an HSA while protecting themselves with other health insurance plans, the law restricts the other coverage you may have. Listed below are some of the exceptions:
    • Auto and Life Insurance
    • Accident Insurance
    • Insurance for a specific disease or illness
    • Insurance that pays for a fixed amount per day for hospitalization
    • For full list visit www.irs.gov
  • You have to be enrolled in the HDHP in order to open a HSA
  • You cannot be enrolled in both HSA and Healthcare FSA  at the same time but, you can enroll in the Dependent Care FSA.
  • You cannot be a dependent on another's tax return and contribute to a HSA.
  • Cannot be covered by Medicare and enrolled into a HDHP.

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