The House narrowly passed its Obamacare replacement measure this afternoon by a 217 to 213 vote. Now we await Senate action on the GOP bill.
That means there's plenty more debate to come before any flip from President Obama's Affordable Care Act (ACA) to the GOP's American Health Care Act (AHCA).
But both Democrats and Republicans do agree on one thing. The Upper Chamber's action won't be any time soon
So for now, we're still operating under Affordable Care Act rules, meaning everyone is supposed to get some form of a minimally acceptable medical insurance policy.
High deductibles pros and cons: For many, that coverage is via a high deductible health plan, or HDHP.
As the name indicates, this type of health coverage has higher deductibles than many traditional medical insurance policies. But the monthly premiums are much lower.
An HDHP is one with a deductible, for the 2017 calendar year, of at least $1,300 for an individual or $2,600 for a family. The plan's total yearly out-of-pocket in-network expenses — this includes the deductible amount for which it's named, as well as co-payments and co-insurance — can't be more than $6,550 for an individual or $13,100 for a family.
Help from an HSA: To help cover those larger than usual deductible and other out-of-pocket costs, HDHP owners can set up a Health Savings Account, or HSA. These plans offer medical as well as tax savings.
The amount you can contribute to an HSA is set each year by the Internal Revenue Service based on inflation. For 2017, a single person with an HDHP can put up to $3,400 into an HSA. If you're age 55 or older, you can put an additional $1,000 into your HSA.
A family with a high-deductible policy can contribute a maximum of $6,750.
2018 HSA inflation adjustments: Today the IRS announced the inflation-adjusted HSA contributions limits for 2018.
Next year, you can put up to $3,450 into an HSA — that's an additional $50 from this year's limit — if you're the only person with HDHP coverage. The $1,000 add-on for 55 or older plan owners remains.
The HSA contribution limit in 2018 for families with a high-deductible policy increases a bit more (by $150) to $6,900.
Plan increases, too: The IRS-announced tweaks to HSA contribution limits next year also includes changes to the deductible amounts that define high-deductible plans.
In 2018, an HDHP is one with an annual deductible that of at least $1,350 for self-only coverage; that's $50 more than this year. Families with this type of coverage will face a deductible of at least $2,700; that's an increase of $100 over 2017.
The annual out-of-pocket expenses for owners of an HDHP in 2018 must not exceed $6,650 for self-only coverage or $13,300 for a family policy.
As with any medical coverage, regardless of what federal law might be in place, you should shop carefully for the policy that fits your and your family's medical needs, as well as your bank account.
And, of course, keep your eye on Congress for what eventually happens with ACA and AHCA.
You also might find these items of interest:
- 5 ways to use up your FSA balance
- 4 Obamacare taxes the GOP vows to end
- Comparing tax-favored HSA, HRA & FSA medical options