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HSA Day - Real HSA Accountholders Share Their Stories

Oct 15, 2019 10:30:00 AM

October 15 is National HSA Awareness Day--a day to promote the power of health savings accounts. HSAs work for many different situations, regardless of age, health or family size. Today we wanted to share HSA stories from our own employees to show how real people came to see the power of an HSA.  

Tom Torre, Chief Executive Officer
Up until somewhat recently, I had always selected a more traditional health plan during open enrollment. This was largely driven by my personal situation. I had young children playing sports who were frequently injured and visiting the doctor. And our family was taking several expensive medications that were not covered until you met the deducible in an HSA plan. These two items drove up our medical expenses even with the premium taken into consideration, so I took the path of minimizing our current year healthcare spending.
Things changed in 2016. At the time the company that I was working for offered both an HSA eligible high deductible plan and a more traditional health plan with an HRA. I chose the plan with the HRA because I thought it better matched with our healthcare needs based on what I described above. I found the particular HRA to be less than satisfactory, largely driven by poor service from the administrator, so I decided to move to the HSA high deductible plan and give it a go.
Having now been in an HSA plan for several years, I would never go back to a more traditional health plan. The big reason, I like having the flexibility of using my HSA funds to pay current healthcare expenses or investing for future healthcare expenses depending on what makes sense at the moment, even if investing HSA funds for the future is the best long term financial decision.
Ray Hill, Vice President - Sales
Back in 2007, my employer at the time decided to install a qualified high-deductible health plan along with an HSA. The premium differential was significant so I started putting numbers together to review with my wife. Having five children that were very active in sports and other activities meant that we occasionally utilized our traditional PPO. Paying for a copay for most of the services seemed like an economical approach to healthcare. However, when I researched the number of times we went to the doctor outside of a few bumps and bruises, I was surprised by the low number of times we actually took the kids to the doctor outside of getting physicals to play sports. After reviewing everything with my wife, we made the switch in benefits in 2008 to move to HDHP and HSA. 
Almost 12 years later, we are still saving money by the reduced premiums of an HDHP compared to a traditional PPO. We are also saving money for retirement healthcare expenses now that our kids are "out of the house". Our decision to start using an HSA was one of the best financial decisions we've made for our family. 
Bob Warde, Content Creator

I became involved in the health savings account industry while working for a previous employer. I could see the benefits of HSAs, but wasn’t sure how to start. The HSA offered by the company I worked for did not have the benefit of the technology included with the Bend HSA, including the ability to begin benefiting from he account without funding it on a regular basis. What I did was compare my share of the monthly premium on the standard health plan to that of the HSA-compatible plan. The difference between the two premiums were the funds I used to fun my HSA.

As we became familiar with the account and how to benefit from it, we began to appreciate more greatly the many benefits. Some of this learning came by trial and error. I didn’t have the benefit of the Bend Advisor and the machine learning I have now with my Bend account. Eventually, as the benefits of the triple tax advantages became apparent, I switched some of my 401(k) contribution to the HSA so I could fund it to the maximum allowed by regulations. Today, I am able to invest and grow my account.

I do appreciate how my easier it would have been with the technology and tools offered by the Bend HSA, but am happy that I first enrolled in the HSA-compatible plan and use it to improve my financial future.

Joe Ingrando, Vice President - Sales

In 2006 I was selling 401ks and embracing the pretax concept of tax deferred compound interest. At the same time my wife and I were building our family. We had two sons within 3 years and medical bills were becoming the norm. I participated in an FSA and that worked in terms of getting started with another pretax deduction to offset some of those medical expenses. The daycare portion of the FSA was very valuable to us but really only scratched the surface.

As time marched on and my exposure to HSAs increased, I was given the option for an HDHP plan in 2013 with my new employer. My wife and I did our due diligence and decided to go with the HSA eligible high deductible plan. At this time we had our third son and of course medical expenses were continuing to rise fast and furious. We made a concerted effort to max out the HSA and money was coming in and going out. We were practicing the spender persona at the highest level. Due to our participation in the HSA and the flexibility it provided I was able to afford Lasik eye surgery, braces for the boys, and other unexpected medical expenses due to our accumulated savings.

We continued to max out the HSA plan and thankfully our medical expenses began to slow down. As a result we started to see our HSA balances grow and slowly started to invest. We now have a nice nest egg for the future and continue to max the HSA out knowing this will help add to our retirement savings. Knowing what I know now I would never go back to a traditional health plan. I have made it my mission to tell others my story encouraging them and business owners to get on the path to long term financial wellness either by participating in their companies HDHP and contributing to their HSA or adopting one for their employees. It truly is the only triple tax advantage benefit a company can offer its employees.

Itamar Romanini, Chief Revenue Officer
I use my HSA as a long term retirement vehicle, which I plan to use to pay for my healthcare expenses in retirement, but also for other needs as I accumulate eligible expenses that I have paid for out of pocket now, and have not reimbursed myself for.  Bend works great for me as it does most of the work in finding and categorizing my expenses paid out of pocket, organizing them and doing the record keeping for me.  Also, allowing me to attach receipts when needed and not really having to enter the expense information is very handy.  The mutual fund investment program works great for me, as it allows me to set a sweep amount, and the system just moved my cash to the mutual funds I selected, and I don’t have to do anything.  Bend’s system really makes my life easy with pre-tax contributions going in, sweeps to top investment funds, and automated finding and record keeping of my eligible expenses.

Lori Heling, Marketing Manager
I've had an HSA since I joined the workforce in 2004. As a young, single adult the lower premiums fit my limited budget. At the time I didn't have a lot of extra money to put into the account but my boss encouraged me to put what I could into the HSA because of the tax benefits. As a new college graduate, I barely understood taxes but trusted my boss and followed her advice. I was fortunate to have an employer who believed in HSAs and helped fund the account. I had a string of healthy years so my balance grew. And then I had a string of really bad medical years, needing MRIs, CT scans, X-rays and many trips to orthopedic surgeons. My HSA was quickly depleted. 

I continued on with an HSA, even when the money was going in as fast as it was coming out. Eventually, my medical bills tapered off and my balance slowly started to grow again. Then my life stage changed and we were now a couple looking to start a family. At the time, my employer did not fund the HSA and offered both an HDHP and a traditional health plan. I seriously considered moving to the traditional plan but then I did the math, the insurance company provided side by side comparisons for common medical procedures, like having a baby. All things considered, the HSA was the better option, actually saving me money. Like many others, my path to motherhood was not easy and came with unexpected challenges with expensive medical bills. The HSA still worked for me. When our bills were larger than our HSA balance, we worked with the hospitals to set up payment plans so we could still get the tax benefits of an HSA while keeping up with bills. 

It's been 15 years since I opened my first HSA. It has worked for me for every season of my life and as our needs have changed, so has our use of the HSA funds. 



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