For the sake of points, consider a high deductible medical plan with HSA

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We just love to earn frequent flyer miles and points, and finding ways to earn them without spending an extra buck.  One of the most important things we can do for our families is to provide them with adequate health insurance.  Although this topic has been on the news plenty the last couple of years, we’re going to touch on a different side of it that you might be unaware of, and that will indeed benefit your points and miles balance.

Disclaimer: I’m not a health insurance expert, a financial advisor, or anything related to either.  I’m not trying to suggest which type of medical plan is better or worse for you and your family.  I’m merely informing you of yet another option that folks might be able to leverage to earn more travel miles and points.

So how can your health insurance coverage make any difference when it comes to your points and miles balance?  Those of us in ‘the game’ know to use credit cards to pay for everything we possibly can, as a means to earn points.  Some time ago I was at the grocery store and the person ahead of me paid over $300 cash.  I almost offered to pay for him and have him give me the cash!!!  Had he used the Chase Freedom at the time of grocery stores bonus category he would have made 1,500 CUR points right there.  Had he used Amex’s Everyday Preferred it would have been up to 4.5x (with 50% bonus).  That without even mentioning cash back cards.  Wasted opportunities!  OK, I digress…back to health insurance.

Usually employers will have several medical plan options for you to choose from.   Among them there’s a traditional PPO plan and at least one high-deductible plan.  Most people will select a PPO as it provides the most comprehensive coverage, for the least out of pocket payments.  But, it’s also the most expensive option from month to month, and we love to make points for the least amount out of pocket.  While the PPO doesn’t allow for an HSA account (unlike a flexible spending accoun, or FSA, HSA funds rollover and keep accumulating), high-deductible plans usually come accompanied by one.  This allows you to put money aside to cover for any deductible or medical amount that you plan or think you might need to spend over the year.  Is it a bit of a gamble?  Yes.  But it’s something to consider, because you can use your preferred credit card to cover for your medical expenses over the year and file claims to your HSA for those amounts, once you’ve met the deductible amount.  Using your credit card means more points and miles.  My wife and I are currently enrolled in a high deductible plan for this reason, and the fact that the money in the HSA rolls over and over if not used puts me at ease regarding contributing to the account.  Could this work for you and/or your family?

You could be closer thank you think to visiting Turkey’s Pamukkale!

Here are the main reasons why we selected the high deductible over the PPO:

  • Ability to earn travel points/miles by paying for medical expenses with a credit card
  • Month to month savings over PPO, even considering my contribution to the HSA
  • We’re healthy and don’t expect to have any major medical expenses, so we feel comfortable that our HSA will cover us
  • HSA rollover feature means we don’t lose what we contribute

In conclusion, a high-deductible plan with an HSA provides with a great opportunity to use your credit card for most expenses.  Consider your specific situation and perhaps talk to a health insurance professional to ensure that your coverage is what your family needs.  Then, start packing your bags for the next trip that you’ll be able to take in part because of leveraging this method to earn miles and points.

Give me your thoughts