pregnancy financial planning

Pregnancy & Financial Planning: Finding the Right Fiscal Plan For You
December 9th, 2017

210 Seconds

It’s open enrollment season – that time of the year when most of us spend 3.5 minutes making the most important financial decisions that may determine our financial wellness profile for the coming 12 months.

For employees in their 20’s & 30’s, those 210 seconds are generally not spent engaged in “active thought”. Most active thinking is along the lines of “where’s the box to check for ‘no changes to my benefit enrollment options’”.

pregnancy financial planning

If you are enrolled in a Qualified High Deductible Health Plan (QHDHP), there is one topic that may be worth denoting 5 seconds of active thought towards: health savings accounts, or HSAs.   If you have a QHDHP, it means you are a candidate for owning an HSA.

An HSA is a tax-perfect account as long as you play by the rules and spend the money on qualified healthcare expenses. Expenditures can be made now or 38 years down the road. Young, healthy, and child-free employees should most definitely do their homework on HSA benefits. Ask your benefits department whether your plan is qualified for an HSA.

$275,000

Why should you can about a savings account that you may spend in 38 years on dentures or Depends? For starters, Fidelity Investments estimates that a 65 year-old a couple retiring today needs $275,000 to fund their future healthcare costs.

pregnancy financial planning

That’s the average amount. The scary thing is, this estimate is probably fairly accurate and not the result of some un-scientific marketing ploy
masquerading as client education.

To ponder how high this number will be 30 years from now is an exercise in futility. If healthcare inflation continues to grow faster than overall inflation, it will likely comprise over 40% of all retirement spending. It is fair to say that healthcare is ripe for change and increased competition — the result will hopefully mean lower prices in the future, but for now we are all virtually slaves to the system. Regardless, funding an HSA today still makes sense given the tax benefits.

Is an HSA Appropriate for Expecting Moms?

As a general rule of thumb, HSAs are perfect for those who are healthy and don’t plan on utilizing the healthcare system a lot in the coming year. One must “run the numbers” and compare plan premiums and maximum out-of-pocket costs for lower deductible vs. high deductible plans.

pregnancy financial planning

For families with expecting mothers, high deductible plans may not make the most sense — pregnancy complications are common and mom needs to have confidence in her physician and delivery facility regardless of cost (of course to the extent she is pursuing the costly “conventional” route). In fact, the plot to the right illustrates the increase in spending for females and in their 20’s and 30’s — check out age “zero” (newborns)!

So why pen a blog for a terrible demographic for HSAs in expecting moms? In short, it’s a good time to observe the system given how much interaction expecting mothers will have with it pre and post-birth.

If you are pregnant now, our advice is to become aware how price insensitive “the system” is as you go to your appointments — become an active thinker now with respect to the lack of healthcare price transparency. In fact, to the extent you are curious to see what a broken industry looks like, ask weird questions like “Do you have a cash discount for this service” or “how do your prices compare to other maternity units in the area?” You will receive laughs and some will look at you like you are trying to mess with them. It is almost guaranteed no maternal medical facility or unit will have any answer — if they do, let us know so as they should be nominated for a Nobel Prize.

If you are expecting in 2018 and have been enrolled in a high deductible plan for 2017, you may save money by going with a lower deductible plan with higher premiums for 2018. In case you are on the lookout for a new job at a company that offers great benefits for working mothers check out Wellable’s article on the Top 3 Benefits for Working Mothers.

Post-Birth

Healthcare costs for females tend to decline post-childbirth. Then it may be the time to start inquiring about high deductible options. In addition to young and healthy employees, families with high incomes (in excess of $150K) are very wise to consider an HSA. Higher income families can pay out-of-pocket and let their HSA investments grow.

One last note: most current HSA owners are not even aware that their savings can be invested in financial assets like stocks and bonds through mutual funds. The vast majority of HSA assets sit in banking accounts. In many cases, this is a hugely missed retirement planning opportunity.   Maxing out an HSA contribution while investing in a diversified mix of mutual funds (HealthyHive’s focus, but not the focus of this blog) essentially creates a “Healthcare 401(k)” that will come in handy down the road.

 

pregnancy financial planning

Blog Post by: Carl Hall (Founder, HealthyHive.com)

 

This submission is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as tax, medical, or investment advice.

 


About HealthyHive

HealthyHive supports investment advisors, asset managers, and financial planners by helping to educate their clients on the advantages of using HSAs as a retirement savings vehicle. The company’s offering comprises investment-based HSAs integrated with financial wellness decision tools and big data predictive analytics.

 

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