Boost Your Benefits

High-deductible health insurance plus a health savings account is a winning combination.

The biggest perk on your employer’s benefits menu is likely to be health insurance, but you’ll probably have to share the cost. If you have several options, consider a high-deductible policy, especially if you’re healthy. These policies generally have the lowest premiums and, in 2015, if your deductible is at least $1,300 for single coverage or $2,600 for family coverage, you may qualify to make contributions to a health savings account. You don’t pay taxes on contributions to an HSA, and you can use the money tax-free to pay health insurance deductibles, co-payments and other medical expenses.

Most high-deductible policies provide preventive care (certain checkups and tests) that is free of deductibles and co-payments. Many employers contribute money to the account, in addition to your own contributions. For example, employers offering Fidelity HSAs contribute an average of $860 a year to employees' accounts; you could get even more if you participate in a wellness program.

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Kimberly Lankford
Contributing Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

As the "Ask Kim" columnist for Kiplinger's Personal Finance, Lankford receives hundreds of personal finance questions from readers every month. She is the author of Rescue Your Financial Life (McGraw-Hill, 2003), The Insurance Maze: How You Can Save Money on Insurance -- and Still Get the Coverage You Need (Kaplan, 2006), Kiplinger's Ask Kim for Money Smart Solutions (Kaplan, 2007) and The Kiplinger/BBB Personal Finance Guide for Military Families. She is frequently featured as a financial expert on television and radio, including NBC's Today Show, CNN, CNBC and National Public Radio.