Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)

If you have an Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) Plan, you can only see doctors that are in the plan’s network.  To find out which doctors are in the network, you can call and ask your insurance provider, look it up online or call the doctor you want and ask them if they are in the HMO network.  If you want to see a specialist (a doctor for a specific problem like your back), you will need to be referred by your primary doctor.  You will not be able to go to a specialist directly.

Although HMOs are more restrictive than other health insurance plans, they are typically suitable for us millennials.  Since we’re young and (mostly) healthy, we can benefit from HMOs low premiums and co-payments as well as the lack of deductibles.

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Second Nature Finance Workshop

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A few weeks ago, I lead a workshop on retirement planning at a local church.  It was the first time I gave an “official” finance presentation in front of a group of people.  The experience was awesome, especially since everyone there was very attentive and eager to learn.  If you’re interested, you can click here for a copy of my powerpoint.  They also recorded the entire thing but I haven’t figured out how to play it.  Even when I do figure it out, I’m not quite sure if I’m going to post it since I might feel self-conscious.  We shall see.

Happy Friday!

Health Savings Account (HSA)

Health Savings Accounts is like a savings accounts for your medical expenses.  You and/or your employer puts money into the account and whenever you have a qualified medical expense, you can either use your HSA debit card to pay for the expenses directly or you can pay out-of-pocket and get reimbursed.  The money that you don’t use in your HSA just keeps accumulating and the account stays with you forever, even when you switch employers.  In order to qualify for a HSA, you have to be enrolled in an HSA high-deductible health plan.  If you’re employer gives you the option of opening a HSA, you’re most likely eligible.

The good thing about HSAs is that it can reduce your taxes similar to the way Traditional IRAs do.  The amount you contribute to your HSA will reduce your gross income (report on line 25 of your 1040) dollar for dollar up to the max.  The max for a single person in 2014 is $3,300.  Another advantage to HSAs is that once you reach age 65, you can use the money for anything (not just qualified medical expenses) without having to pay a penalty.