Alternatives to Flex Spending Account? | TigerDroppings.com

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ZereauxSum
LSU Fan
Lot 23E
Member since Nov 2008
9115 posts

Alternatives to Flex Spending Account?



My wife and I have pretty much had it with FSA. They request documentation for every single charge we make on the card and recently froze our account because there was a miscommunication about what documentation they needed for a partial co-pay of $9.75 for a pediatrics appointment.

Now with them lowering the max per plan year to $2500, I'm just not feeling like the pre-tax benefits are worth the hassle unless we are planning for one or two large medical expenditures. So, my plan is to set aside a couple grand for 2014 in a regular savings.

My question is there anything smarter/better that I can do? Are there any private alternatives?







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Catman88
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge, LA
Member since Dec 2004
40245 posts

re: Alternatives to Flex Spending Account?


I looked at the 5000 FSA for daycare use and punched the numbers. It saves me some money but I opted out of it because I didnt want the headache and the total savings vs the tax credit wasnt that much in the end.





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ZereauxSum
LSU Fan
Lot 23E
Member since Nov 2008
9115 posts

re: Alternatives to Flex Spending Account?


I never got the opportunity to use it for daycare. By the time the company I was with started offering it they were both in pre-k/elementary school. I can't imagine how much of a pain it would have been though because between the two of them they attended 4 different centers.





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foshizzle
LSU Fan
Washington DC metro
Member since Mar 2008
30360 posts

re: Alternatives to Flex Spending Account?


Flex dollars are the suck IMO. Go HSA and don't look back.





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ZereauxSum
LSU Fan
Lot 23E
Member since Nov 2008
9115 posts

re: Alternatives to Flex Spending Account?


quote:

Flex dollars are the suck IMO. Go HSA and don't look back.


Dumb question probably, but can I set one up outside of my employer? They couple the HSA with their high-deductible medical option, which I want no part of.






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CHSBears
Texas A&M Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Aug 2007
523 posts

re: Alternatives to Flex Spending Account?


The HSA must be coupled with a High Deductable Health Plan, federal regulations. The HSA with the HDHP works well for me and my family. I use it as a saving for retirement plan.


This post was edited on 3/25 at 11:36 am


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ZereauxSum
LSU Fan
Lot 23E
Member since Nov 2008
9115 posts

re: Alternatives to Flex Spending Account?


Damn. I figured there was a catch.

We looked into the HDHP with my current employer when i started a couple years ago but it didn't make sense at the time. The premiums for a family were still kind of high. I probably need to look into it with a private insurer.






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foshizzle
LSU Fan
Washington DC metro
Member since Mar 2008
30360 posts

re: Alternatives to Flex Spending Account?


quote:

They couple the HSA with their high-deductible medical option, which I want no part of.


Why not? They generally have a maximum out of pocket that is pretty reasonable. YMMV but my employer's plan is such that the amount I can save in the HSA exactly equals the amount I can with flexdollars, the difference being that HSA isn't "use it or lose it" and basically is a second IRA.






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Catman88
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge, LA
Member since Dec 2004
40245 posts

re: Alternatives to Flex Spending Account?


The use it or lose it crap is why I dont like the flex account. If I put 5k in to go towards that and my wife loses her job and stays home to watch the kid Im screwed.





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dewster
Maryland Fan
Member since Aug 2006
9182 posts

re: Alternatives to Flex Spending Account?


quote:

The HSA must be coupled with a High Deductable Health Plan, federal regulations. The HSA with the HDHP works well for me and my family. I use it as a saving for retirement plan.


How does an HSA work from a user's perpsective?

We get one, and I contribute very little to it....but I have never used it. Wondering if I should put in more.






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ZereauxSum
LSU Fan
Lot 23E
Member since Nov 2008
9115 posts

re: Alternatives to Flex Spending Account?


quote:

Why not?


IIRC, the premiums were not much lower than the low deductible option. That plus the high deductible plus the fact that we were making a lot of trips to the doctor (2 small kids and my wife has had minor-moderate medical issues for years) just made it seem unattractive at the time. I probably owe it to myself to take another look though since our reality is a little different now. Like you and Catman said, losing money at the end of the plan year is for the birds.

If I were single it would be a no-brainer. In the past 5 years the only visits I have made were for physicals.



This post was edited on 3/25 at 3:11 pm


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LSU316
LSU Fan
Frog City Baby!!!
Member since Nov 2007
10810 posts
 Online 

re: Alternatives to Flex Spending Account?


I think the "low" deductible plans are going to start seeing deductibles that come more into line with the HDHP's soon.

At my company the family ded on the "low" or PPO plan is 3K with 7500 OOP max on the HDHP it is 2500 ded w/ 5000 OOP max.....I was pretty shocked to see that when I started here as it was completely different at my last employer. Both plans are 80/20 after deductible with 100% coverage for preventative care no ded applies. The individual plan is where the difference in ded comes in but it still isn't much 1000 vs 1250 I think.






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CHSBears
Texas A&M Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Aug 2007
523 posts

re: Alternatives to Flex Spending Account?


I have contributed the maximum the last 4/5 years. The deductable with my employers plan is 2,000 a person and 4,000 a family and max out of pocket a year is 4,000. My plan has about 20/25 mutual funds to choose from and a interest account that adjusts quarterly (current 3%). With this plan, the administrator (bank) issues a VISA debit card for you to use. I use the debit card about once every six months for something like aspirin/naproxen just to make sure it still works.





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tiger91
LSU Fan
South of Lafayette
Member since Nov 2005
13409 posts

re: Alternatives to Flex Spending Account?


We put the max into ours $6250 I think for a family ... BCBS, individual policy.

We use it ONLY for BIG things ... braces, everyone needing eyeglasses/contacts at the same time. Husband had surgery in January so we used it for that. Ded is now met and we're covered 80/20 (our choice in plans to keep premiums low).

Basically it's for BIG things for us. Sort of an extra retirement account.

Isn't the amount you can put into it changing soon though??? Thanks Obama.






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CHSBears
Texas A&M Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Aug 2007
523 posts

re: Alternatives to Flex Spending Account?


Flex Spending Account amount was lower. I think HSA is still linked to increase in CPI, just like the increases in retirement accounts; 401k, 403b, defered comp and such.





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