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For many of us, the end of the calendar year does not just mean it’s the holiday season — it’s also open enrollment time for health insurance. Whether you are signing up on marketplace, in your workplace, or independently — this is when many of us look ahead to determine what kind of healthcare coverage we will want to choose going into 2023.

Navigating healthcare coverage choices and terminology can be challenging. After all, most of us only worry about this stuff once a year, wait for our insurance card, and forget about it. But to help you get acclimated to this year’s enrollment, let’s review some terms, so you make good choices and get the most bang for your buck.

You’ll see the acronyms HSA and FSA come up frequently as you troll through healthcare information. There is a significant difference between the two.

What is an HSA?

Heathcare.gov describes an HSA as a type of savings account that lets you set aside money on a pre-tax basis to pay for qualified medical expenses. The untaxed funds in the Health Savings Account can be used to pay for qualified medical expenses like deductibles, copayments, coinsurance, and some other expenses — resulting in lower out-of-pocket healthcare costs.

But here’s something important to note — HSAs can be used ONLY with high-deductible health plans, which is the choice for about 30 million Americans right now.

When to Use an HSA

Here’s an example of when you would use your HSA. Let’s say you break your arm. Ouch. To correct the injury, you need surgery. Even though your health insurance may cover the bulk of the surgery, your patient responsibility or co-pay might be several hundred dollars. You can use the money you tucked away in your HSA to pay that deductible.

There are some dos and don’ts when it comes to using your HSA funds. Let’s unpack one. If you travel internationally, either through work or leisure, you can use your HSA to pay for treatment in a foreign country as well as any prescribed drug you purchase and consume in another country if the drug is legal in both the other country and the United States.

There are many stipulations regarding the use of an HSA. It’s best to check what counts as a qualified medical expense based on criteria set by the IRS. If you use your HSA for an expense other than eligible medical expenses, you can subject yourself to significant IRS penalties after being flagged for an audit.

What Is an FSA?

An FSA, or Flexible Spending Account, is similar to an HSA. If you have a health plan through a job, you can use a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) to pay for copayments, deductibles, some drugs, and some other healthcare costs.

A Flexible Spending Account is a special account you put money into that you use to pay for certain out-of-pocket health care costs without paying taxes on that money.

Sometimes an employer will make contributions to your FSA, although it’s not required, or money can be taken from your paycheck and put into the FSA.

FSA vs. HSA

Here are two very important differences between these two savings plans.

  1. Generally, you must use the money in an FSA within the plan year. An HSA, on the other hand, has no “use it or lose it” provision. HSA money is there for you to use well into the future.
  2. You own the money in your HSA. Your employer owns the money in your FSA.

Utilizing Health Accounts at Any Lab Test Now®

One of the medical expenses you can pay for with both an HSA and FSA is diagnostic lab work from Any Lab Test Now®. We have thousands of tests available to you, providing comprehensive health screenings that allow you to focus on your family’s health.

At Any Lab Test Now®, we provide clear, concise, and understandable results. You also have the option to glean additional information with our DialCare service. This allows you to consult with our provider about your results. The clarity you receive from a medical professional can affect the way you handle your health and can be lifesaving.

Remember, at Any Lab Test Now®, the lab tests we provide are confidential, affordable, and convenient. You own the results, and you choose how to proceed with them, whether that means consulting with your provider for further details or perhaps the results give you the peace of mind you were seeking.

Obtaining lab testing through blood tests is a very precise indicator of your health. It tracks your overall well-being, can detect issues with organs, or how well you are managing a disease. It is an important look at your overall wellness.

Stay on top of your family’s health by utilizing our diagnostic lab testing, which can be paid for using your FSA or HSA. Call now to schedule an appointment at a location near you.