I found out I had a Health Savings Account today.
Apparently, during my last months at a former employer – over fours years ago – I had signed up for a Health Savings Account through a company called OptumHealthBank.
I’ve gotten a few notices from this company before but they were so confusing I didn’t even realize I had an account with them.
At the end of January, though, I received a notice from them with a schedule of fees. This was the first such notice I could recall seeing and I made a note to call the company. Because if I did have any money in the account, I didn’t want Optum taking it.
When I called, a customer service representative told me that there was indeed a schedule of fees and that the company had been charging me $3 a month since the account had been opened in 2005.
There was now a total of $21 left in the account. OptumHealthBank had siphoned the rest.
Ok. Perhaps I should have called them up a long time ago and found out why I was receiving the occasional notice from Optum. So I will accept some of the responsibility for this.
But this company never sent me statements. They never sent me anything that said, here is your HSA and here is how much you have in it, and here is how you can use it. The only notices I’ve ever received have talked about how OptumHealthBank is changing the rules to my account – written in standard legalese in a 4-point font.
A notice like this might arrive once a year.
This is a complete rip people off. The strategy is, the less you know, the more money we can make from you. So they never send any statements and they hide all of their fees in the fine print.
Now $3 a month doesn’t sound like a lot. But what does the company give me for $3 a month? The answer: nothing. I never got a monthly statement. They have virtually no overhead and they are taking out $3 a month for a total of over $140 since I opened the account.
I’ve never used it and they siphon a cut off the top for doing nothing.
This is one of the problems I see with HSA accounts in general. It’s as easy for them to add extra fees as it is for your bank to charge you for using their ATMs.
What troubles me is having people who are out to make a quick buck and who don’t care about helping you in charge of health care funding.
At the top of one of their letters was this great piece of marketing: Deposit, Grow, Save, Pay – A Health-Wise Investment for Your Future.
These words only seem applicable if you’re OptumHealthBank and are able to take a monthly cut and charge all kinds of special fees.