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Does an HSA Cover Alternative Medicine?

A Health Savings Account (HSA) does not really cover alternative medicine. However, there is a bit more to it.

A person using an HSA can withdraw money from this special type of savings account for any type of "approved medical expense." Approved by whom? The IRS.

So, the IRS pretty much thinks that proper medical expenses are any types of Western medicine - pharmaceutical drugs, surgery, doctor visits, etc.

However, there are a few things on the list that are alternative medical options. Chiropractors are on the list. So is acupuncture.

With acupuncture, it must be considered "medically necessary." That means that a doctor (MD or DO) must say that he thinks you should see an acupuncturist and write a prescription for it. Then you can see an acupuncturist and pay for it with the money from your HSA.

But there's one more thing. When you are using an HSA in conjunction with a high-deductible health insurance policy, you start seeing the "real costs" of everything you do, up until you hit that "high deductible" each year.

When you start seeing the real costs of Western medicine, at that point, alternative medicine might start to look really good.

Consider the following:

A routine doctor visit done before you meet your deductible may cost you about $100. That is one hundred dollars for about a seven-minute visit. (HMOs like doctors to have short visits with their patients.)

Now think about an alternative medical provider. Let's take a naturopath as an example. A naturopath may charge about $90 for your first visit. That visit will probably take about an hour and a half.

Let's look at the cost in dollars-per-minute:

The doctor visit costs $14.28 per minute.

The naturopath visit costs $1.00 per minute.

You might think a doctor is better qualified to understand your health problems, but do you think they are 14 times better qualified?

Health Savings Accounts will cause all of us to evaluate our options. We'll look at all the aspects of Western medicine and alternative medicine (or integrative medicine) and we'll choose the ones that make the most sense.

Health Savings Accounts will change how we think of health insurance. They are a wonderful tool that almost every American can and should benefit from. And they're available today!

Daryl Kulak is the author of the book "Health Insurance Off the Grid - A Wonderful Way to Use Alternative Medicine and Save Money on Insurance Using the New Health Savings Account (HSA)." The book provides a nine-step plan to get your individual health insurance costs under control using a unique approach you won't find anywhere else. The book is available for sale as an e-Book or paperback at the Website

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