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Tricare Reserve Select and HSA or FSA

Old 02-26-2016, 07:53 PM
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Default Tricare Reserve Select and HSA or FSA

Can you contribute to either a Health Savings Account or Health Care Flexible Spending Account with your company while your primary insurance is Tricare Reserve Select?

I believe the answer is no to the HSA, and yes to a FSA, but I am having a hard time clarifying that research.

Thanks!
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Old 02-26-2016, 08:07 PM
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I believe you are correct. Im retired using tricare with the FSA. As I recall, can only use HSA if you get insurance thru Delta vice Tricare
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Old 02-27-2016, 07:49 AM
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+1. I used to run HR for a mid-sized company and was involved in our Healthcare negotiations. Typically, an HSA is tied to taking one of the company's medical plan options and is most often tied to a high-deductible, low premium option. An FSA may or may not be offered by the company medical plan but is an independent structure typically administered by a benefits provider vice a health care provider (HMO, etc.).

In my experience, you could not get an HSA unless you used the company's medical plan (doesn't mean you can't have TRICARE as well, but you need to be paying the company medical plan premium in order to qualify for the HSA). An FSA (if offered) doesn't require that, it is simply a pre-tax payroll deduction deposited into the FSA for your use...
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Old 02-27-2016, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Sputnik View Post
I believe you are correct. Im retired using tricare with the FSA. As I recall, can only use HSA if you get insurance thru Delta vice Tricare
+2. United Airlines. Retired, Tricare Prime Retiree.
I contribute to the FSA.
Anyone with a Tricare plan is NOT eligible for a HSA because Tricare is considered a 'Cadillac plan'. Even if you get your company's healthcare along with Tricare, you aren't eligible for HSA.

Bottom line: No one with Tricare can have a HSA.

Here's one online link that touches on Tricare not being eligible; it will be the same no matter who your employer is. http://www.depauw.edu/files/resource...ion-series.pdf

From the link:
What if I have Tricare benefits: Tricare does not currently offer an HSA qualified high deductible health plan. Therefore, if you are on Tricare you cannot have an HSA. Once Tricare offers and HSA qualified high deductible health plan, and you select it, you can have an HSA.


That should save you some time googling the topic.
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Old 02-27-2016, 07:15 PM
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Thank you all! Sounds like the HSA is "out" with TRS - that matches my research.

FSA sounds possible. I was worried that I would start putting $ aside and then lose it due to my claims not being approved.

Never used a FSA - any advice? Likes/dislikes? I understand the $ is use or lose.
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Old 02-29-2016, 01:21 PM
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Not an issue with claims approval for an FSA. At a previous employer, the way it worked was that you had a certain amount deducted per pay period. In my case I deducted $25/pay period. We were paid twice a month so that was $600 total.

On January 1st, $600 is put in your FSA account...even though the deductions haven't taken place. You get a Credit Card which you can use to pay for expenses, or you can file the claims on their website (our company used Discovery benefits).

So in theory on January 1st you could go and charge $600 worth of eyeglasses, empty the account and be done for the year.

In our case, my wife and kids all wear glasses. Company offered vision insurance which covered appointments for prescriptions, but minimal on glasses/lenses. We used the FSA to cover those.

You are correct -- it is "Use or Lose" so we kept it down to the $600 a year knowing our annual expenses were something hire than that but we would get the benefit of using the $600 as pre-tax. We never had an issue and failed to use the amount we put in.

As an aside, I left that company in April of 2014 and had already used the full $600 but obviously only had 4 of the 12 months paying in to equal $600. My HR officer informed me that there was not a payback and I didn't owe the difference (I didn't own HR at that company). I don't know whether Discovery Benefits ate it or my company did, but they did not come after me for the missing ~$400 I had spent but not paid yet. Of course, other plans may be different in this respect.

If I was advising someone (and i guess I am here), I would say to try to figure out what you spent on FSA-eligible expenses last year (you can find a list of what is eligible in your plan info or online). Take 75% of that (or what ever is a round number based on your payroll schedule) and make that your first year amount so that you are sure you don't leave money on the table. You can always up your FSA contribution next year if you find out that your calculations were grossly off.

Of note, you cannot use the FSA (or at least I couldn't) to pay your monthly retiree TRICARE premium...

Hope this is of use. Feel free to drop me a PM if you'd like to get into more specific details...
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Old 02-29-2016, 05:42 PM
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Dr Who -

Awesome reply - thank you!
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Old 03-01-2016, 04:02 AM
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My pleasure.
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