What is an HSA?


What is an HSA?

A Health Savings Account (HSA) is a savings account just like any other savings account that you would open up at a bank. What is special about this specific type of savings account is that it is tax-deductible. This just means that if you deposit money in this account, there will be no federal income tax on the money at the time the deposit was made. They also roll over every year not spent. The money in this savings account is used to cover qualified medical expenses. What counts as “qualified” will depend on both federal regulations and the institution from which you obtained the HSA.

These savings accounts operate fairly similar to their sister savings account, the IRA (Individual Retirement Account). You are saving money tax-free, but instead of using them for retirement, you are using them to pay for medical expenses. Hence, you will probably be dipping into your HSA throughout the years while an IRA is left alone until retirement. However, if you having extra money in your HSA at the time of retirement, you may withdraw money and use it for non-medical purposes.

Can I open an HSA?

The basic requirements to opening an HSA are 1) Be a United States tax-payer and 2) Be enrolled in an HDHP.  Some other requirements are not being on Medicare and no being claimed as a dependent on your tax returns.

HSAs are savings accounts used by individuals that have a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP). A deductible is the payment made by an individual before the insurance company covers the medical costs. People with a high deductible will probably want to take advantage of every opportunity to keep costs to a minimum. An HSA allows the individual to save money tax-free in order to provide assistance with paying medical bills.

Where can I open an HSA?

Any bank will give an option to open up an HSA. Some banks will outsource their HSAs to other institutions who specialize in these types of accounts. Opening an HSA is a pretty simple process and can be done online. Get in touch with us at (920) 268-1888 with any questions. If you are interested in setting up an HSA we can help you!

Why is Having Health Insurance Important?

Woman thinking stock photo

Health Insurance?

Insurance is all about risk, chance and possibility. This of course varies for every person. Someone could go his or her entire life paying for health insurance and not have any major health complication that would have made that monthly premium worth it. However, another person could have many different unfortunate medical confrontations that made his or her insurance more than worth it.

These are the factors that insurance companies have to ponder carefully. It is also why actuaries get paid good money to make risk assessments on clients. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which is also known as Obamacare, nobody can be denied with preexisting conditions and everyone must have health insurance either through work or purchased on their own.

This, like everything, has two sides. It plays an advantageous role for those who have been previously denied insurance due to their health complications. It also drives a lot of business to health insurance companies and allows them to open new markets and diversify plans. On the other hand, because of all the high risk patients being accepted,  the cost of premiums and minimum amounts to pay in a deductible have gone up for those who are low risk and healthy. This unfortunately affects a lot of young people who are also burdened by student loan debt.

Political ideologies aside, there is no one vastly superior way to distribute healthcare. There are many ways that work in theory. Ideally, we would have a system that would allow healthy competition at national and local levels while maintaining affordability in both the care itself and the cost of drugs. Whether this is done by government regulation or implementing a universal healthcare system is up for the people to decide. Either way, I think everyone can agree that quality healthcare and affordable medicine should be the common vision shared by all.

So why is health insurance important?

We need insurance because when it comes to our health, we don’t want to take chances. We may be healthy today, but we don’t know what tomorrow brings. We need insurance for the peace of mind it brings and the assurance that if we need to go to the doctor or the ER, we are able to do so.

Whether we end up using it or not is beside the point. Having insurance is like going to a restaurant and when the check comes realizing that you forgot your wallet, but you find a $20 bill in your coat pocket that you had forgotten you had placed there.  There are no guarantees in life and there is not much more important in your life than your health. Having insurance is in a way, an investment in yourself.

Our current system mandates that everyone be required to have health insurance. I think we can all agree that having health insurance is important. Whether the government should tell us it is important is up to you to decide.  Just make sure to ask yourself, what would benefit not only yourself, but everyone? And how can we implement a system that keeps healthcare costs down as well as drugs? There are no easy answers to these questions, but informed and insightful conversations that respect others’ opinions will propel us towards solutions that work for everyone.

What does Health Insurance Brokerage mean?



What is a Brokerage?

We find brokerages in many different areas of business.  We usually find them in the insurance and financial industries.  A brokerage simply acts as a middleman between sellers and buyers. Sellers don’t always know how to connect with potential buyers and buyers don’t always know where to look. Thus, we have an intermediate group that connect the two.

So, What is a Health Insurance Brokerage?

A health insurance brokerage is an intermediary between health insurance companies (also called health insurance carriers) and people who need health insurance.  Here at Cliff Consulting Group we have contracts with all major carriers.  This means we can sell insurance to consumers on their behalf.  We, therefore, connect consumers to carriers and vise-versa.

The advantage of using a health insurance broker is that we can look at all the plans for all the carriers that we are contracted with and choose the best one for you.  If we put you on a plan, but later we find a better plan with a different carrier, no problem!  We can switch you to that better plan.  We do this all at no cost to you!  That’s right, you don’t pay us any money!

In contrast, an individual insurance company who is marketing to you can only put you on one of its own plans. There is no shopping around different companies.  You only have the options that the individual insurance company provides you.  You could also shop around yourself, but chances are you are not too familiar with the intricacies of the health insurance industry. Also, the healthcare.gov site is not always the easiest to navigate. We have licensed agents that are experienced in the industry. We know the industry and how to get you the best plan. Why wouldn’t you want someone experienced helping you get the best health insurance plan for you? Especially, when it’s free! So get started now!

How does a Brokerage make money?

There might be one lingering question in your mind, how does a brokerage make money if we don’t pay them? That’s a great question. A brokerage is usually a commission based company. This means that a brokerage gets paid a percentage of a sale by the seller. The buyer usually only pays the seller. However, typically in the situation of a financial brokerage (for example, selling stocks) there is a fee for each transaction. Some health insurance brokerages may follow a similar practice by charging a fee for consultation.

Cliff Consulting Group does NOT charge anything to the consumer. We only receive commission payment from our contracted carriers for connecting you with them. You pay us nothing. It isn’t often that you see a professional helping you make an important buying decision for free, so take advantage of the opportunity!