WPS Health Insurance Blog

Clowns vs. HDHPs

Posted by Ryan Kanable

Oct 31, 2016 8:01:24 AM

Clown_shoes.jpgThere’s no doubt about it, if you ask me—clowns are creepy. Over the past few months, they’ve been popping up in unsettling places around America. Along isolated country roads. In dark alleys. Hanging out in cemeteries. Social media sites have been filled with scary clown pictures. Twitter hashtags for #scaryclown, #killerclown, #creepyclown, and more have been all the rage. And Ronald McDonald is laying low.

Just in time for Halloween, clowns are creeping us out. But I encourage you to be strong. Be brave. To take on clowns, you simply need to be ready. One thing you can do to prepare for any clown encounter is make sure you have a good health plan (there are other things you may want to do to prepare, but this is a health insurance blog, you know?). For the purpose of this blog, let’s say you are prepared with a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) from WPS.

If you injure your ankle running from a crazy clown, does your HDHP cover your doctor visit? Do you know if you can use money from your health savings account (HSA) to pay for an X-ray of your ankle? Gasp! What about crutches? And does your pain medication qualify for HSA money? If the clowns don’t get you, the hospital bill will!

All of a sudden, the clowns don’t seem so scary. The uncertainty surrounding your health plan, however, gives you chills. Let’s break things down.

If you injure your ankle, you’ll want to seek medical treatment from an in-network health care provider, if possible. Your regular doctor is the best choice, but sometimes you may need urgent care or even an emergency room. WPS offers a Choosing the Right Care page to help you make your decision. Your doctor visit is covered according to the terms of your policy.

HSA money can be used to pay for an X-ray of your ankle. The HSA is, in fact, a powerful tool for paying your medical bills. According to the IRS, the money you put into your HSA is tax-deductible. The contributions remain in your HSA until you use them—there’s no “use it or lose it” risk like you’d have with a flexible spending account (FSA). Any interest your assets in the HSA earn are tax-free. The only requirement for keeping the money free from taxes is to spend it on qualified medical expenses, which include the services described in IRS Publication 502.

You know those crutches that were mentioned above? They’re included in the list, so your HSA funds can be used to pay for them.

Your pain medication, however, can only be paid for with HSA money if it’s prescribed by a doctor. Over-the-counter medications don’t qualify.

Now that we’ve taken the terror out of your health plan, you should be better able to focus better on your surroundings, so you don’t accidentally run into a scary, creepy clown. I’m hoping that the clown craze ends soon and that Ronald McDonald can come out of hiding.

Be safe this Halloween! And if you need a health plan, HDHP or a traditional copay plan during open enrollment, check out our plans page.

 

Coverage provided under a WPS HDHP plan is subject to the terms, conditions, and provisions of the plan you choose. Expenses eligible for reimbursement and tax benefits under an HSA are subject to federal regulations and limitations. ©2016 Wisconsin Physicians Service Insurance Corporation. All rights reserved. 30352-021-1610

Topics: health insurance