Photo courtesy of Joyous!
a friend told me that her husband's employer had switched health
insurance providers. Their original insurance included a Health Spending
Account that came with a debit-type card. Whenever they had to go to
the doctor or pay for a prescription, they could use the card. (And by
the way, I had never heard of an insurance policy like this, but I am a
fan. A big one. Can we all do this, please? It makes a heckuva lot more
sense than having to deal with the annoyance of paper check
In any case, the HSA for the new insurance is of
the "you pay out-of-pocket and we'll reimburse you with a check for a
random amount that may arrive sometime in the next two months, unless it takes
longer" variety, on which I have ranted before.
My friend has a
child with special needs who needs to see the doctor fairly regularly,
and they live on a tight budget in Connecticut (a state whose name is a
Native American word for "property taxes are HOW expensive?"), so she
was lamenting to me the loss of her HSA debit card. She wasn't sure how
she was going to pay for the first few medical bills while they wait for
reimbursement. She also uses the Dave Ramsey envelope system, and she asked me if I had any insight on how to handle the coming money dilemma.
suggested that she start a medical spending envelope with a gift of
about $100 to $200 from her life happens/emergency envelope. That way,
they would have the necessary cash on-hand to be able to handle the
first medical bill, whenever it occurs. She is also going to be setting
a little money aside each paycheck to go into the medical envelope, but
it could be a little while before that builds up enough so that they
can afford for someone to get sick. The emergency fund
can just get filled back up with their normal contributions to it
(that's why the money from it was a gift), and their medical envelope
will receive the reimbursements from their HSA, so they'll be ready for
the next medical bill.
I'm not sure what Dave Ramsey would have to
say about my solution to this problem. (I suspect he'd approve, but
it's hard to say). Sometimes, it's very easy to get into a very narrow definition of what constitutes an emergency--but
I also think it's silly to stress yourself out over where money is
going to come from for a particular category when you have money already
set aside.What do you think? Have you ever used your emergency fund for a non-emergency?