A Medicare Medical Savings Account (MSA) is a $0 premium, high-deductible health insurance plan paired with a special deposit that you can use for qualified medical expenses. MSA plans have no networks – you can see any doctor that accepts Medicare.
An MSA is technically a Medicare Advantage product, though it's structured very differently as you can probably tell!
The special deposit given to you for qualified medical expenses is entirely unique to the Medical Savings Account (MSA), and that deposit can change from year to year.
History of MSA Deposit
- 2019: $2,520
- 2020: To be announced on October 1, 2019
You can use this special deposit to pay for any qualified medical expenses – even expenses that aren’t regularly approved by Medicare. Use your deposit money for dental, vision, and hearing expenses, your Part D prescription drug expenses, the chiropractor – whatever you want!
(Note: any non-Medicare approved expenses that you pay for with your deposit will not count towards the Lasso MSA deductible.)
When you use your deposit for Medicare-approved expenses, it offsets part of the high deductible, which can also change each year and is different depending on which county you live in.
History of MSA Deductible in Macon County
- 2019: $6,700
- 2020: To be announced on October 1, 2019
How does a Medicare MSA compare to a traditional Medicare Advantage plan?
Traditional Medicare Advantage
Special medical savings account with a deposit given to you each year
High-deductible typically ranges from $6,000-$9,000
Drug coverage is often included
No drug coverage included*
$0 or very low premium (in most cases)
Out-of-pocket typically ranges from $3,400-$6,700
*We view this as a positive, because you can choose the Medicare Part D drug plan that fits your needs. Often times, Medicare Advantage plans come with drug plans that may or may not be a good fit for the prescriptions you take and the pharmacies you use!
Frequently Asked Questions about the Medicare MSA
Q: What’s the difference between a Medigap plan and the MSA?
A: The biggest difference between a Medigap plan and this MSA is potential. With an MSA, you have the potential to accumulate funds that you can use towards a major health crisis in the future, or you can start growing that fund to pass onto your children when you pass. Remember: that MSA deposit is yours to keep, and it's not "use it or lose it"!
Q: Do you have to answer health questions to qualify for the MSA?
A: MSA plans don’t have any health questions, which means you won’t be turned away for your weight, diabetes, osteoporosis, COPD, and so on. In fact, individuals with controlled chronic conditions are an excellent fit for this product!
Q: When can you sign up for the MSA?
A: There are only two times a person is eligible to get on the Lasso Healthcare Medical Savings Account (MSA): 1) Anyone of any Medicare-eligible age during AEP, which runs between October 15-December 7, can sign up for the Lasso MSA. 2) Outside of that window, MSAs can be sold during the Initial Coverage Election Period (ICEP). The ICEP is when someone is new to Medicare. Typically, it's when they sign up for Medicare Part B.
Q: Can you earn interest on the money inside that medical savings account?
A: Optum Bank, the custodial bank for Lasso Healthcare products, has a wide variety of interest-available options for any amount of money in excess of $2,000 in your account. The money deposited and any interest earned is NOT taxed as long as you apply the monies toward any Qualified Medical Expenses, whether they’re Medicare-covered or not.
Q: Are there copays with the MSA?
A: The MSA claims process works just like other Medicare Advantage plans. The client will visit the doctor, and the provider will then bill that visit to Lasso Healthcare. Please note that there are NO copays required under the Lasso Healthcare MSA.
Q: Are there networks?
A: With the Lasso MSA, there are no provider networks.You can go to any Medicare-participating provider. This is an excellent fit for snowbirds who like to travel frequently and have a hard time staying within a strict network.
Q: Is the deposit given to you a “use it or lose it” scenario?
A: Good news! The funds roll over to the next year. The end-of-year account balance is never “use it or lose it.” If you keep your Lasso Healthcare MSA, the funds will stay in your account for the next year. If you choose not to renew your MSA, those funds are still yours to keep.
Q: What happens to that money if I die?
A: If you die, whatever is left in your MSA will go to your beneficiary. If that happens to be your spouse, there is no tax penalty. If not, ordinary income would apply subject to IRS rules.
Q: Can veterans on VA benefits get the MSA?
A: Veterans on VA benefits are not eligible for the Lasso MSA. Since the VA and the MSA are both government-sponsored healthcare programs, an individual can't have both at the same time.