The latest work-life information at IU
No. 62
February 2014

University Human Resources
Informed Employee

Tips for Using the HSA to Pay for Health Expenses

In addition to using the HSA to save funds for unexpected and retirement-related healthcare expenses (e.g., Medicare B or D premiums), it may make sense to also use the HSA to pay existing expenses. Employees enrolled in the HDHP PPO & HSA Plan can use HSA pre-tax dollars to pay for out-of-pocket health expenses like deductibles and co-insurance as well as expenses not covered by medical plans (dental, over-the-counter medicines, acupuncture, etc.).

Once contributions are made to the HSA account, there are different ways to access funds:

  • Use the HSA Debit/Visa card at retail locations, doctors’ offices and pharmacies.
  • Use the HSA to pay medical bills online. Enroll in the Online Bill Payment feature, set up payees and schedule one-time or repeat payments. Account holders can even send themselves a reimbursement.
  • Use the HSA Debit/Visa card at an ATM to get cash or self-reimburse for qualified medical expenses. Always retain the receipts for qualified medical expenses for tax purposes.
  • Use the Transfer feature of the HSA to self-reimburse for healthcare bills paid out of another account or with cash. Enroll in the Online Transfer feature, set up the transfer account, and send payments.
  • Write a check from the HSA. For an additional fee, account holders can purchase a checkbook from Chase to access HSA funds.

TIP: Access from a smartphone for helpful information such as locations of Chase ATMs and lists of qualified expenses including over-the-counter medicines.

Name an HSA Beneficiary

It’s important to name an HSA beneficiary. If a spouse is the beneficiary, the spouse can convert the account to her/his name; will not have to pay taxes; and can use the money in the HSA in accordance with HSA rules. If the HSA beneficiary is not a spouse, the HSA is closed and the value of the account is taxable income to the recipient.

TIP: To name a beneficiary, log into, select My Account, then Beneficiaries from the Features drop-down box.

Transparency Tool for Use with Medical Plans

Last year, the University introduced the Castlight Transparency tool to help employees and their adult family members make informed choices about in-network care providers and services. Information such as price, quality of care, and convenience is available when using the Transparency tool.

The University will continue to inform employees about the Transparency tool, including an upcoming engagement initiative that will include a drawing for several iPad Minis for employees who use the tool. More information about the tool and the award will be sent to employees’ homes in February.

Employees and adult family members who create a Transparency account can:

The Transparency tool is personalized to each member. The price for a service is based on the contracted price negotiated by the medical plan, as well as the member’s deductible status. Members can navigate the Transparency web site, use the Castlight mobile app, or call Castlight’s customer service line for assistance.

Learn more about the tool at


Tobacco Use and Health

Cigarettes More Deadly than Thought

According to a new report from the U.S. surgeon general, cigarettes are deadlier and linked to more diseases than earlier believed. This report, released 50 years after the government’s first warning that smoking kills, links 10 additional diseases and conditions to smoking, which include liver and colorectal cancer, and rheumatoid arthritis. Smoking has already been linked to more than 20 diseases and conditions such as lung cancer, heart disease, stroke, and asthma. Meanwhile, the risk of lung cancer, the nation’s most common cancer killer, has skyrocketed among smokers in the past half century while rates among nonsmokers held steady.

For the first time ever:

Cigarettes are also more dangerous than those in the 1950s due to ventilated filters which allow smokers to inhale deeply, thus pushing toxins farther into the lungs. Use of cancer-causing chemicals in today’s cigarettes also makes them more harmful.

Adapted from “Cigarettes Tied to More Deaths, Types of Illness,” The Wall Street Journal, 17 January 2014. Web.




Page updated: 12 February 2014
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