I feel like a fertility veteran. Five times I went into the stirrups for embryo transfer. It wasn’t fun. One of my egg retrievals, I chose not to do medication because we were only retrieving one egg. The doctor decided that two more eggs were ready and retrieved them as well. That was THE MOST excruciating pain I have EVER experience in my life. Lesson learned: always take pain medication, no matter the cost.
I am naturally a person that looks at a situation and tries to save money. I’m sure I obtained that trait from my frugal mother. Unfortunately that trait also means a cost elsewhere. In my case, it was experiencing the most pain I’ve ever experienced in my life. You try sticking a needle up inside you and poking your Fallopian tubes to find out if it’s more painful than childbirth.
I realize that scrimping on medication to save money is probably the stupidest thing I did while going through fertility. I’m hoping to help others not make those same mistakes, by sharing with you tricks that I discovered after the first IVF round. Today’s trick is called the using your Health Savings Account during fertility.
What is a health savings account? Well, for starters, it’s not a flexible savings account. Well, Laura, what’s the difference? Here it is in simple terms, because I like simple. A flexible savings account allows you to put medical expenses that you use throughout the year into an account to pay those expenses. If you put in $2,000, but only spend $1,000, then you lose out on $1,000. It’s a use it or lose it concept. The health savings account, on the other hand, allows you to put money into the account and allow it to roll over to the next year. So, if you put in $2,000 this year, but only use $1,000, then next year you start off with a balance of $1,000 and you can build it year to year.
To qualify to put money into a health savings account, your health insurance deductible must be greater than $1,350 for an individual and $2,700 for a family. If your employer doesn’t offer an HSA, but you have a high deductible insurance plan, then search for an HSA provider.
Benefits to using the Health Savings Account:
- Money you put in reduces your taxable income, similar to money you put in a 401(k) or Traditional IRA.
- Money can build up year after year.
- Pay for medical expenses with before tax dollars.
- Interest earned is tax free
- Tax free withdrawals for qualified medical expenses.
- The money is portable; meaning if you leave an employer, the money is yours to take with you.
I know your next question is going to be, how do I fund this account? You’ll need approximately $17,500 for your fertility process, so let’s start with that number. (Be sure to subscribe to the blog because I’m also working on an article about medical tourism that cuts the cost) If you are an individual, you can put $3,450 into your 2018 HSA and if you are a family (couple) the amount is $6,850. You have until April 15, 2019 to contribute for the 2018 tax year. You must specify which tax year the contribution should be accounted for or you could accidently contribute to 2019 and face tax penalities.
Here are a few ideas on how you can fund your Health Savings Account:
- Rollover money from your Traditional IRA to your HSA. This is a one-time allowance over your lifetime. For the rules, check out Kiplinger’s article.
- Auto-enroll through your employer. Check to see if your employer also contributes to the HSA. Employee benefits are a huge draw during low unemployment.
- Transfer money you’ve already saved into your HSA.
- Christmas money, gifts from family, inheritance, and birthday money can be applied towards your goal of having your own baby.
- Tax returns or visit the IRS withholding calculator to change your deductions now. Use that monthly extra to apply towards your HSA.
- Credit card points
So, now you know the benefits and how to contribute, but what can you use that money for during fertility?
- Medication- (my full IVF cycle after the compassionate care program, was $4,000) I paid for it all from my HSA. Actually, first I paid for it on my credit card that provided me points and then paid that bill off in full from the HSA. Just another way to take advantage of benefits.)
- Medical doctor bill- (Your fertility doctor bill is on that list. You could pay for it on your credit card to gain the points and then pay off your credit card with your HSA, be sure to keep your receipts.)
- Acupuncture- My husband calls it voodoo, but it was recommended to help the blood flow. When I did acupuncture before and after the procedure, I got pregnant. The other 4 times, I didn’t do acupuncture and no pregnancy. I don’t understand the science, nor do I know why it works, but I’m a believer. I was also pleasantly surprised that my HSA allowed me to pay for it as a qualified medical expense.
- Egg retrieval
- Sperm storage- we banked the sperm to be sure we had enough for the full cycle IVF.
- Embryo storage
- Ultrasounds after transfer
- Pregnancy tests and ovulation kits (You take a pregnancy test after your HCG shot to be sure it took. I did the ovulation kit when I just did an embryo transfer and no egg retrieval)
- Prenatal vitamins(I was a fanatic about taking my vitamins and folic acid)
- Birth control pills- I know that might sound weird because you want to get pregnant, but the doctor can use birth control to help you get on their cycle. If you have an irregular period and are uncertain of when you start, they could put you on birth control to regulate your cycle.
- For a comprehensive list you can visit the HSACenter.
When money leaves my hands, I want to know that it’s had a purpose. Did I use every financial trick to my advantage or did I just blow it into the wind? When it comes to fertility, there are so many emotions attached to this money. It’s nice to know that you’ve spent some time logically making this decision. Before you spend your money, be sure you’ve taken advantage of all tax benefits, discount programs, and your health savings account.
If you don’t want to miss out on future articles or podcasts where we discuss your money and fertility, be sure to subscribe.
This article may contain affiliate links, but each link has the Saver/Security Money Personality pledge. I only recommend if my Saver/Security Money Personality would actually buy it. Money earned from affiliate links helps us to continue with our mission of preparing couples financially for adoption/fertility.
You’ve saved up the money for fertility, but are you using it to your advantage? In today’s podcast Financial Coach, Laura Coleman, discusses how to utilize your Health Savings Account to your advantage during fertility. Learn what you can use the money for, how you can fund your HSA, and the benefits of using your HSA vs FSA. Don’t let money leave your hands without first making sure you’ve used all of your money tricks.