It starts with that small cough and a scratchy throat. Dry air perhaps? A sniffle, a sneeze, maybe just dust? Sure, this time of year when school populations dwindle and emails circulate the office notifying everyone of an absence…we’ll go with it’s just dust and dry air. Run! Don’t walk! To the nearest drug store and stock up on cold and flu medicine, vitamin C, chicken soup and Kleenex because you’re about to be hit by cold and flu season.
Yes, unfortunately the bug has hit my household within the last week. All three kids have it because, well, kids share everything and no amount of Lysol or antibacterial gel can keep them from getting what everyone at school has. My husband has been a little stuffy, not to the point of a full blown cold but I know it’s eminent given the three little germ factories we have running around the house. I on the other hand have been battling one sinus infection after another, numerous trips to the doctor and a scheduled appointment with a specialist for an ongoing allergy condition I’ve been dealing with the last few months. With all of this sickness going around, trips to the drug store for over the counter medicine, visits to the doctor and then trips to the pharmacy for prescribed medicine, the dollar signs really start racking up. For a family of four this can become a huge unplanned expense, even when you factor in insurance.
When these kinds of things happen, I am so glad to have an insurance plan paired with a Health Savings Account (HSA). A Health Savings Account allows you to save some of your pre-tax dollars in a separate savings account specifically for medical expenses, all while keeping interest earnings tax-deferred or even exempt. These savings can be used towards office copays, prescriptions and medical expenses like lab tests and procedures. If your place of employment offers health insurance, you can possibly have your HSA contributions payroll deducted so you are always putting back a little money with each paycheck. Some companies even contribute to an employee’s HSA account, which can be a huge help especially when you’re saving for your family.
I have $10 deducted from each weekly paycheck and put into my HSA account. I am also lucky enough to work for a company that contributes to its employees HSA accounts quarterly, so I know I will have a little extra put back throughout the year for myself and my family. In addition to trying to plan for unexpected health expenses, my family and I do our part to try to keep ourselves healthy at home, so we are better equipped to fight or prevent any sicknesses going around. My kids know how important it is to practice good hand washing anywhere we go, especially this time of year. I also always have antibacterial gel in my purse, car and in backpacks at all times. I know that a healthy immune system is the best way to help fight off disease and infection. A healthy diet and proper amounts of sleep are important in our household. Although sometimes the kids get the better end of the sleep deal, even if they think early bedtimes are the worst. I would gladly trade them! I’m Claire, the Afena blog mom. Thanks for reading.