Thursday, July 09, 2009


This is our first year with a Health Savings Account. I'm not sure it's worth the trouble. Month after month, we keep going around and around in circles about showing them whether our receipts prove that these are valid health expenses.

The receipt from Penney's Optical wasn't good enough. I don't know what one item I'd be buying at Penney's Optical for $189 other than glasses, especially when the bottom of the receipt specifies that prescription eyeware is a non-returnable item.

They told me that the receipt from the doctor's office wasn't okay because it didn't list the services provided. I asked why "Office Visit" and "osteopathic manipulation treatment -- 3 to 4 body regions" wasn't specific enough, and what more I needed from the doctor than that. The lady I was talking to said, "Where does it say that?" I told her where to find it on the page. "Oh. Oh. Well. Oh. Okay. I guess it does specify the service provided."

And the next one. "Cardiology on January 8. Is that a specific enough designation of services provided?" She said yes. Then why was this receipt denied? "Because it doesn't specify the provider." I pointed out the line at the bottom of the receipt that told who was doing the billing, and that it was for Children's Hospital. "Oh. Oh. Well. Yeah, I guess it does say that."

So I try to verify that these receipts are indeed acceptable and the account will be adjusted. Nope. I didn't fill out the form right. I was supposed to write the amounts of the different receipts in one box, with a "+" joining the numbers, rather than write the dollar-values in different boxes. So I have to start over. I have to print out the forms again and fill them out. I have to drive to the library and make the photocopies and pay for them again. I have to refile all my paperwork again. I have to buy stamps again. But you know that next time they're going to overlook the same things they overlooked this time, and deny the receipts again.


  1. I get your frustration. But I worry that we will someday look back wistfully on such frustrations if/when we end up with government-run healthcare....which I picture as hospitals run by the DMV. Sigh.

  2. I'm sorry you're having so much trouble with your HSA! Your administrator sounds unreasonably persnickety. We have had an HSA for several years now and although at first I was dubious--it seemed like a lot of paper pushing for no reason--I have come to appreciate it. It not only sets aside the medical money pre-tax but also helps with the budgeting for medical care. But I have not had the difficulty getting reimbursements approved that you describe. What a pain.

  3. Susan,

    We use this HSA Bank. We have a debit/credit card and checks. I pay all the medical bills using those items. There is no papaer work to fill out and they authorize if the payment was valid. I have never had a problem...we pay for glasses, contacts, and braces out of that fund and nothing has been questioned. Our church funds the account and we add some to it and those are the funds we tap into. What you have to go through sounds like a real pain and I wouldn't want to do all that either. Yikes!