Open Season No Brainer

MrMagoo

Member
I would like to remind everyone of what I consider an Open Season No Brainer every year.

Flexible Spending Accounts are a huge tax savings and it literally costs you nothing in the end.

I saved almost $800.00 in Federal Taxes this year by contributing to the Flexible Spending health care account.

They also offer an account for child care expenses.

HERE IS THE BASICS ON HOW IT WORKS

You pick an amount per year you want to have put in to your Flexible Spending Account (FSA) they divide that into an equal deduction all 26 pay periods. There is a minimum amount you can put in, not sure on that number, and a maximum amount, last year was around $2600.00.

The money comes out of your pay check pre-tax, example = you make $52,000 per year but put $2000 in an FSA you pay tax on $50,000

This money, in the FSA Health Care account can be used for Dental Expenses, Vision Expenses- Eye Exam, Glasses, Contacts, Lasic Surgery, etc, Medical Appointments, Co Pays, Psychiatrist Care, Anxiety Treatment, Chiropractic Care, Prescription Medicines and Co Pays
( Not sure about Medical Marijuana for you Colorado and California Residents)

When you have a covered expense you pay it and they reimburse you out of your account.

Last year they went to a program where if they work directly with your health care provider, you don't even need to submit paper work and they can automatically deposit the reimbursement into your bank account. I wasn't sure if I liked this idea at first but it worked well and I was pleasantly surprised.

They will even reimburse you even if you have a larger expense early in the year and you haven't had that much deducted from your pay yet.

No I am not a shill for the FSA, I am a Rural Carrier who has saved more than a whole years salary in taxes by taking advantage of this program over the years.

I believe this is only available to career employees, but I'm not sure.

I don't know anyone who would not benefit from an FSA, I suppose if you were uber healthy, never went to the Dentist and had perfect vision then maybe it wouldn't. But I don't know anyone that fits that description at the Post Office.
 

DB.Cooper

Well-known member
Now for the flip side... devil's advocate here... I've had them in the past "deny" claims to my own $$$ money, and had to fight with them much like it was a denied insurance claim... one year they gave me like a debit/credit card to use, and it was always getting "denied" or "declined" at the pharmacy when I'd try to pick up a prescription...

The USPS *really* pushes these FSA's... why??? Because peeps end up leaving $$$ money in them that they never get out for one reason or another... so anyways... get ready to receive *numerous* mailings telling you how great these things are...

Used properly, they can save you some tax $$$ money, no doubt... they can also be a hassle... some peeps love them... but I've seen some that hate them as well... just sayin'... :unsure:
 

MrMagoo

Member
I never used the debit card, I heard that was problematic.

So that is the only thing you and I will agree on about this DB Cooper, Don't bother with the debit card, if they even still offer that.

Up until last year I submitted paper claims and only ever had one denied, my fault did not provide proper documentation.

Last year after linking my FSA to my Health Care Provider I only had to submit for Vision and Dental because they are not include in my Health Care Plan.

That brings up another point...

I have looked at the Dental and Vision Plans and chose not to participate.

The Dental Plans, in some cases require you to be with them up to 3 years to cover a crown. With 3 years of payments to them you could have paid for the crown yourself. Do the math people, don't be sheep.

On the Vision side it is insurance, they don't make money by paying out more than they receive. So again do the math, what would you spend in a worst case situation. Are you ahead after paying all the premiums? Not Likely, and in some cases only certain Eye Doctors are participating.

With the FSA you are covered for any Hospital, Doctor, Eye Doctor, Dentist, Chiropractor, Psychiatrist, Pharmacy etc. and no waisted payments to cover a Premium. The money is all yours. Just don't put in more than you think you will use for the year. You can carry over funds for the first 3 months of the next year if you don't use them. I did do this one year without any problem
 

DB.Cooper

Well-known member
I'm still torn over the Vision and Dental plans... I guess maybe I should do the math... :unsure:

What frustrates me with them is... when I look at what the eob's knock the payments to the providers down to, I think, geezy, if I could get away with paying the provider as little as the insurance companies pay them, I probably wouldn't need insurance... but peeps without insurance pay MUCH more to the providers than do the insurance companies... so, I dunno, maybe it's a necessary evil... :devilish:
 

MrMagoo

Member
When the USPS goes private,or Amazon buys us, we would lose all union representation, annual days, thrift savings, health care, holidays, current step and pay levels, and any perks or benefits we get now.
We could gain hourly pay, but Amazon does pay some of their "drivers", we would no longer be carriers, by the route, like "evaluation ". One of our benefits would be the Amazon pee jug.

Kind of veered off the topic there Rt2mailman.

Any actual thoughts or experiences with an FSA Account ?

Or any actual thoughts on reducing your overall Tax obligations
 

zoomer

New member
I have a High Deductible plan and use a HSA. They put in money every month to my HSA that covers half of my deductible. The money you put in a HSA is tax deductible all withdraws for medical are tax free and the money is yours and rolls over every year. In my opinion much better than FSA. I have had this for several years and would never go back to a regular plan.
 

Rt2mailman

Well-known member
Sorry Mr. Magoo, that was meant for another thread, I was wondering where it went. I don't see well this early on Sunday mornings, but I guess you understand that. I'll delete it.
Health savings accounts are good for some doctor oriented people ,but I don't want any government agencies knowing that much about me and my family.
 

MrMagoo

Member
I have a High Deductible plan and use a HSA. They put in money every month to my HSA that covers half of my deductible. The money you put in a HSA is tax deductible all withdraws for medical are tax free and the money is yours and rolls over every year. In my opinion much better than FSA. I have had this for several years and would never go back to a regular plan.

Totally agree zoomer.

I wish the HSA Accounts were available when I started.

They may not be the best bet for the 50's to 60's year old carrier age group but all younger carriers should very seriously consider them.
It could be a wise financial decision.
Thanks for adding to the discussion.


Rt2mailman:

no problem, wrong thread happens.
FSA is not only for Doctor Oriented people.
It is in my opinion about the tax savings.
If you have an idea what you might spend the next year, why not reduce your tax liability.
If you ever use a popular search engine, BIG BROTHER KNOWS EVERYTHING ABOUT YOU ALLREADY
Sadly privacy no longer exists, ASK TUCKER CARLSON
 
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charlie

Active member
If you are in your last 3 years.....You know......just waiting to retire....
Think twice about starting one or stopping one if you have it..
Why? Because it reduces your gross income for retirement purposes... You want your high 3 to be as high as possible. This reduces it...
Just food for thought...
 

DB.Cooper

Well-known member
If you are in your last 3 years.....You know......just waiting to retire....
Think twice about starting one or stopping one if you have it..
Why? Because it reduces your gross income for retirement purposes... You want your high 3 to be as high as possible. This reduces it...
Just food for thought...
What about IRA contributions and TSP contributions??? Do they reduce anything (retirement-wise), other than your taxable income??? :unsure:
Puzzling that even the FSA's reduced your high-3 amount... :oops:
 
charlie said: If you are in your last 3 years.....You know......just waiting to retire....
Think twice about starting one or stopping one if you have it..
Why? Because it reduces your gross income for retirement purposes... You want your high 3 to be as high as possible. This reduces it...

Your annuity is based on the highest consecutive 36 months of base salary. DACA 5 and Christmas overtime don't count. TSP, FSA etc dont matter.
 

MrMagoo

Member
Thank you going--gone
I just checked my W-2 from last year and the earnings ( line 1 ) was thousands lower than the social Security and Medicare Wages ( line 2 & 3 ) so I then immediately thought - is the over 55 catch up provision that allows you to put more tax free into your TSP a bad idea.
But I do remember Dave the retirement guy referring to the Base salary as the figure used not gross income.
Charlie you are scaring the old folks.
 

MNPostman

New member
I have a High Deductible plan and use a HSA. They put in money every month to my HSA that covers half of my deductible. The money you put in a HSA is tax deductible all withdraws for medical are tax free and the money is yours and rolls over every year. In my opinion much better than FSA. I have had this for several years and would never go back to a regular plan.
I just went regular 10 months ago, and had heck of a time picking out my health insurance plan(so many options). Every carrier around my area used and suggested BlueCross plan.
I put in a lot of research and ended up going with GEHA HDHP HSA plan. So far I am loving it and would recommend it. Comes with some dental and some vision, and one of the cheaper plans you can get. Also reason I went with the GEHA plan, its one of the few
hSA plans where u DON'T have to join another union to get the plan.

Just wondering those who went with a HSA plan, which one you chose?
Also with an HSA plan, I believe you can cash out from your account, though will be taxed high if cashing out. Wondering if anyone has done this or knows more about this?
 
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martian

New member
I am 60 and chose the GEHA HDHP HSA plan. This is my third year and I already have $8,000+ saved. I chose it to have savings to reimburse my medical expenses once I retire. My understanding is you can reimburse yourself for the Medicare withholding from social security and employer-based insurance but not a Medigap policy premium. My current plan is continue for at least one more year and then will consider switching to a more conventional policy.

I believe the tax situation is similar to an early withdrawal from an IRA, but it is 20% + it is added to your taxable income. There is no 20% penalty once you reach age 65.
 
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