These days, people with traditional health insurance consider themselves fortunate, especially since millions of Americans aren't so lucky. Many constantly scramble to make sure they have even a minimum amount of coverage for themselves and their families.
High deductible insurance policies have become more popular in recent years, largely because the monthly premiums are lower. But the downside is that a high deductible (defined by the Internal Revenue Services as $1,250 or more) can create a different kind of pressure on the family budget.
That's where Health Savings Accounts come in. A Health Savings Account, or HSA, is a specific kind of account that allows you to set aside pre-tax money to use for medical expenses.
For example, in 2014, an individual with self-only coverage is able to contribute up to $3,300 to a Health Savings Account; an individual with family coverage can kick in $6,550, according to the IRS's rules for Health Savings Accounts. (Check with a tax professional to be sure which rules apply to your personal situation.)
Using these accounts and others as a safeguard for your financial health may be a great idea. According to The Fragile Middle Class: Americans in Debt (Sullivan TA, Warren E, Westbrook JL. New Haven CT: Yale University Press; 2000), 62.1 percent of personal bankruptcies are medically related, with medically bankrupt families having an average of $17,943 in expenses. And insurance isn't enough to protect most families from the expenses incurred during a major illness. Three-quarters of the people in the study with a medically related bankruptcy had health insurance.
A Back-Up Plan for Your Back-Up Plan
Given those numbers, having adequate savings is just smart preventive medicine. So while a Health Savings Account is a great way to start building a safety net, you may need a “back-up for your back-up” when you consider the caps on the amounts you can contribute to HSAs. Although a money market account is not a health savings account, it can be a good tool for building up your savings to supplement your HSA.
With an Ally Bank Money Market Account, you can open and fund your account with any amount and get a variable rate that's consistently among the most competitive in the country according to rates published by MyBankTracker. Unlike many banks, we won't charge monthly maintenance fees or ATM fees and we'll even reimburse any ATM fees charged by other banks nationwide. You'll also get free standard checks and a debit card you can use to make up to six withdrawals per statement cycle.
Learn more at Allybank.com or call our 24/7 customer care line at 877-247-ALLY (2559).