Financial Planning with Health Insurance in Mind

September 11, 2018
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How much might health care cost you someday?

 “Financially speaking, what would be the worst thing that could happen to you?” If you ask a hundred people in their forties that question, you may get a dozen different answers. Some may say “my business going under” or “losing my house.” Some might say “a divorce,” “a lawsuit,” or “being laid off.” But how many would say “a severe illness?”  A catastrophic illness seems like a remote possibility to many; distant, decades away. As a result, that possibility may be overlooked in our financial planning.

The healthiest of us may need to save the most for health care. This may seem paradoxical, but think about what many people in their eighties or nineties experience: years of declining health and mobility, and accompanying high health care expenses.

The more you earn, the more you may pay for essential health benefits. Take the case of Medicare premiums. Most Medicare beneficiaries who are single filers with modified adjusted gross incomes of $85,000 or less are paying monthly Part B premiums of $104.90-$121.80 this year. In contrast, single filers with MAGIs between $85,001-107,000 are paying Part B premiums of $170.50 a month. That premium jumps to $243.60 for a single filer with MAGI greater than $107,000, and extremely high-earning individuals pay more than that. Pre-retirees should be mindful of this, and the fact that Medicare does not pay for long term care or dental careYour income level may also affect how much you pay for health coverage before you retire.

So looking ahead, is a Health Savings Account a good idea? For the future, it may be. An HSA must be used in conjunction with high-deductible health plans, but even with that requirement, these accounts can give pre-retirees a nice, dedicated savings vehicle to plan for future health care expenses. An HSA may become an important part of a long-run financial strategy.

The annual contribution limit on an HSA is currently $3,350 for individuals, $6,750 for families. Contributions are 100% tax-deductible. (You can even make $1,000 catch-up contributions beginning in the year you turn 55, as long as you are not a Medicare recipient.) You can also optionally invest the money within the account. An HSA is tax-advantaged: assets get tax-free growth, and withdrawals are tax-free if you use the money to pay for qualified health expenses. An HSA can also have another nice feature: once you turn 65, you may use withdrawals from them for non-medical purposes, though such withdrawals will be taxable. If you enroll in Medicare, you can no longer contribute to an HSA – so it is vital to fund these accounts for some years before retiring.

It is only prudent to factor potential health care costs into your financial plan. Some healthy pre-retirees may assume that they will need only a five-figure rather than six-figure sum to address them. That assumption may be flawed and can be wise to consider all options into your final plan.

At HFG Wealth Management, we embrace a method of financial planning known as Financial Life Planning™. We believe this is a financially effective and personally rewarding approach to creating a practical, lasting financial plan. As financial professionals using the life planning approach, our purpose is to assist individuals and families in creating a long-term vision that is consistent with their core values. At HFG we recognize that life events and life transitions can impact your financial responsibilities and your vision of the future. We are here to provide you with tips and strategies to get you started and help you reach your financial and life goals at every stage. For more information, please visit www.hfgwm.com or call 832.585.0110.

“The information contain herein is general in nature and may not be suitable for everyone. We encourage you to give us a call, to discuss your specific situation and to help determine the appropriate course of action.”

 

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Copyright © 2018. HFG Wealth Management, LLC. Investment advisory services offered through HFG Wealth Management, LLC – An independent Registered Investment Advisory firm registered with the SEC. Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values. Therefore, any information presented here should only be relied upon when coordinated with individual professional advice. [ more disclosures ]