There is a dark side to the Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) that practically nobody mentions, and today I’m going to speak from my personal experience with this instrument.
Dark Side of an HSA
If you live on a middle class salary and have a family with kids, an HSA has one huge disadvantage. It’s subtle and mostly affect those of us in the middle classes (for the rich this is a non-issue, and perhaps soon the poor too). The Dark Side of an HSA is that you as an adult, and especially if you are a parent, don’t get proper medical treatment on “non-major” problems for fear that you’ll run out of money in your HSA before the company takes over the payments after certain money amount thresholds. This fact makes you hold onto the money contributed to your HSA in case your children need the money instead. As was the case in my Son wounded article. Believe it or not, but the puncture wound that required stitches cost us over $2,000. It was just him lying in bed unattended (except for me and my daughter) for hours and then maybe a 20 minute stitch job on the puncture wound.
After 5 years of participating in an HSA, I now have a few medical problems that I can’t kick by myself over for not getting treatment. They are nagging injuries and in so non-life threatening, but not wanting to deplete all the money in the account, I wait for a year when one of my kids get a serious injury that I hope will never occur. It’s a strange, quite queer feeling to be waiting for something that with all your heart you hope never happens… It is my own self imposed version of hell, and a very dark side of an HSA Account.
Ironically, I was going to switch back to a PPO this year so I could take care of some of my problems, but my employer totally did away with that option and now the only option provided by my employer is an HSA account. Now I, as a member of the middle class, will receive less healthcare and yet at the same time more of my take home money will be spent (or saved) for my health. In many ways, it’s the middle classes that are feeling the pain of the new Healthcare programs. If I were a bit more wealthy, I’d be able to not worry about it, but with kids I am. You see, I always put my kids first because that’s what responsible parents do. And with both of my kids in very physical sports, I sit in limbo waiting from something that I hope never happens.
Perhaps I’m looking at this new HSA problem all wrong, perhaps this will push me into a higher income class out of desperation? I have to think that the odds are against me though. Anymore it seems like it become harder and harder to exist in the middle class.
Take a hard look at going the HSA route if you still have other options (which unfortunately, I doubt you’ll have if you are middle class and married with a family like me).