Sign up for our FREE Monthly Email Newsletter
In addition to keeping in the financial know, you may be interested in checking your credit score and report.
¹The credit scores provided under the offers described here use the Equifax Credit Score, which is a proprietary credit model developed by Equifax. The Equifax Credit Score and 3-Bureau scores are each based on the Equifax Credit Score model, but calculated using the information in your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit files. The Equifax Credit Score is intended for your own educational use. It is also commercially available to third parties along with numerous other credit scores and models in the marketplace. Please keep in mind third parties are likely to use a different score when evaluating your creditworthiness. Also, third parties will take into consideration items other than your credit score or information found in your credit file, such as your income.
²The Automatic Fraud Alert feature is made available to consumers by Equifax Information Services LLC and fulfilled on its behalf by Equifax Consumer Services LLC.
³Equifax Credit Report Control™ is only available while you have a current subscription to Equifax Complete Premier. Locking your credit file with Equifax Credit Report Control will prevent access to your Equifax credit file by certain third parties, such as credit grantors or other companies and agencies. Credit Report Control will not prevent access to your credit file at any other credit reporting agency, and will not prevent access to your Equifax credit file by companies like Equifax Personal Solutions which provide you with access to your credit report or credit score or monitor your credit file; Federal, state and local government agencies; companies reviewing your application for employment; companies that have a current account or relationship with you, and collection agencies acting on behalf of those whom you owe; for fraud detection and prevention purposes; and companies that wish to make pre-approved offers of credit or insurance to you. To opt out of such pre-approved offers, visit www.optoutprescreen.com/.
4We will require you to provide your payment information when you sign up and we will immediately charge your card $4.95. After that, we will charge the card $19.95 for each month you continue your subscription. You may cancel at any time; however, we do not provide partial month refunds.
Equifax® is a registered trademark and Equifax Complete™ Premier is a trademark of Equifax, Inc. © 2014, Equifax Inc., Atlanta, Georgia. All rights reserved.
Whether you agree with it or not, the government has got involved with the insurance industry. If you’re wondering who will pay for your insurance, how to get coverage, or what will happen to your premium, you’re not alone.
High-deductible health plans (HDHPs) are supposed to help minimize your monthly premiums. However, the out-of-pocket expenses are greater, due to the high deductible, compared to the co-pay fee at the time of a physician office visit ($25 or $50, or $500 or more for a hospital visit).
Not all HDHPs are created equal. Your insurance agent can review with you different plan options to help you save money with lower premiums. You should establish a deductible that fits your needs and financial capabilities.
Two types of savings accounts can be established with an HDHP: a health reimbursement account (HRA) and a health savings account (HSA). An HRA is an employer-funded plan, owned by the employer and not portable to the employee. In other words, should you leave your employer, you can’t take your HRA with you.
An HSA is owned by the individual. Each plan has different IRS tax benefits, which should be weighed when choosing one. And if you change jobs or get laid off, you can take your HSA account with you.
The money deposited into an HSA or HRA is above the premium paid to the insurance company. These contributions are considered “triple tax-free,” because the deposits are tax-deductible, the money grows tax-deferred, and the withdrawals are tax-free. The money in your HSA or HRA is intended to pay for medical expenses not covered by your HDHP.
You can establish a savings account with any bank or credit union, or with the insurance company that holds your HDHP. However, it is very important that you tell them specifically that it’s an account for an HDHP according to the Internal Revenue Code specific to either an HRA (IRC 105[h]) or an HSA (IRC 223).
How much tax-free money can you put aside?
The 2011 contribution limits remain unchanged from 2010:
Benefits of an HSA
Benefits of an HRA
Drawbacks of an HSA or HRA
When choosing an HRA or HSA, consider how the account will be maintained. If you have an HSA, make sure you keep all your receipts and do careful bookkeeping to track your deposits and expenditures.
If you’re an employer trying to set up an HRA, choose a trusted plan administrator to service the plan for you and your employees. Check with your accountant to see if it makes sense for your finances to have this type of plan for your business, and ask your insurance agent for the extensive list of qualified and ineligible medical expenses that can be paid for by your HSA or HRA savings account.
Linda Rey is a licensed insurance agent at Rey Insurance with a broad spectrum of expertise in life, accident, health, property and casualty insurance as well as retirement planning and college funding strategies.
Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.