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What’s Tennessee Doing About Health Care After The Election?

Governor Haslam has decided to postpone his decision on having Tennessee create their own health insurance exchange. He’s decided to use the month long extension offered by the federal government to delay his decision.

Haslam said he has not made a decision on creating a state health insurance exchange,  or whether he would let the federal government implement their exchange.  The federal government has decided to extended the deadline to decide to Dec. 14.

Haslam said that although he decided to push back announcing his decision, that does not mean that he is not considering creating one for Tennessee. In fact, he can see reasons for not ceding control to the federal government in running the online exchange. He would rather let the state run it.

Open enrollment for exchange plans is scheduled to start next October, and coverage will be effective Jan. 1, 2014. In the meantime, you have the chance to lower your taxes for 2012, but you have a December 1 deadline.

With an insurance policy that can be combined with a Health Savings Account (an HSA), you can claim deductions worth thousands of dollars when you file your tax returns next April.

An HSA-qualified plan makes it possible to take a tax deduction for health care expenses and HSA deposits. You can’t use the HSA balance for anything other than your family’s dental and health-related care before retirement. Once you enroll for Medicare, you can keep using your HSA for health care without paying taxes on the money, or you can let HSA money remain invested for tax-free earnings.

The other choice is to withdraw HSA funds, pay taxes on the withdrawal and spend it on something besides health care. However you decide to use your HSA, unless you get an HSA-qualified policy by Dec. 1, you won’t be able to claim HSA tax deductions to reduce your taxable income for 2012.

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