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Making retirement healthier

By Jennie L. Phipps ·
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Posted: 2 pm ET

Health savings account can be a retirement planning boon. If you don't have health insurance at work and you're not old enough to qualify for Medicare, take a look at high-deductible health insurance plans that include a health savings account.

Generally, the premiums on these are as modest as health insurance premiums get for people who are middle-aged and older. Of course, you have to meet the high deductible every year, but thanks to health care reform, these policies include some preventive care that's available at no extra cost whether you meet the deductible or not.

The money you contribute to an HSA is:

  • Tax-deductible. Contributions to the HSA are 100 percent deductible -- just like an IRA.
  • Tax-free. Withdrawals to pay qualified medical expenses, including dental and vision, are never taxed.
  • Tax-deferred. Interest earnings accumulate tax-deferred, and if used to pay qualified medical expenses, are tax-free indefinitely. In retirement, you can use this savings to pay for a Medicare supplement.
  • Yours to keep. Unlike a flexible spending account, or FSA, unused money in your HSA isn't forfeited at the end of the year.

Now -- before you have to file your 2010 taxes -- is a good time to explore the HSA option. You can count contributions to your HSA through April 18, the tax filing deadline, toward your 2010 taxes. HSA contributions are tax deductible up to $3,050 for individuals and up to $6,150 for families. If you are 55 or older, you can make an extra $1,000 contribution.

Here's some advice from for picking the best plan for you.

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1 Comment
Jon Tereszkiewicz
March 23, 2011 at 11:52 am

It makes me incredibly angry that no one is addressing the truth as to why Social Security is in such dire straits.
Our politicians in Washington have stolen billions of dollars of our Social Security and they have spent it all.
These politicians should be held responsible for stealing from us and damaging Social Security so badly. The people in the United States need to get angry and make the politicians repair the system that the politicians have destroyed.
It is their fault, not ours!