Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee
kevin_standlee

To Tell The Tooth

By the way, I had a routine dental exam this morning. They found the beginnings of a cavity on a tooth, so in a couple of weeks I get to come back for a very minor filling. It's so minor, my dentist says, that he won't even need to do anesthetic to do it, as it's on the surface of the tooth. Better to catch these things earlier than later, I reckon. Pity that I've spent all of the money in my Healthcare Spending Account (HCSA) for 2007, though, as the co-payment will be out of pocket. Obviously $2000/year to cover copayments, deductibles, and such is not enough, so I reckon I'll up it to $2200 for next year.

For those not familiar with such things, HCSA is an account into which you pledge a certain amount of money annually. That money comes pre-tax out of your paycheck and goes into the special account. The good thing is that you get to draw on the entire amount on January 1, but you just pay a certain amount each paycheck. (In my case, 1/50 of the pledge amount each week -- I get slightly larger paychecks the last two or three weeks of each year.) It's all pre-tax money, so you're effectively getting a 20% or so discount on everything. You can spend it not only on co-payments and deductibles, but also on certain non-prescription items that ordinary insurance doesn't cover. But you have to spend it all in the calendar year to which it is pledged. If you don't spend it, you forfeit the remainder.

The HCSA is a good thing, but the use-it-or-lose-it nature of the program makes one leery of putting in too much money, lest you be obliged to go on a spending spree in December to soak up reamining funds in the account before they vanish. So far I've never got that far and have ended up having to pay out of pocket during the last quarter or so.
Tags: medical
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