An HDHP is a health insurance plan with lower monthly insurance premiums and higher deductibles than the traditional health plan. Photo: Getty Images

When it comes to open enrollment periods, employees typically focus their attention on evaluating insurance providers and considering which health plan is right for them and their family. Because health care costs have risen so much over the last decade, the most critical factor in making that decision tends to center on out-of-pocket costs and the level of coverage provided in each plan. However, employees should also keep in mind the significance of an oft-overlooked benefit: the health savings account (HSA).

An HSA is a savings account that can be used to cover medical expenses this year or in the future, e.g., retirement. In order to contribute to an HSA, they must be enrolled in a high-deductible health plan (HDHP). And chances are their company is already offering one or more of these options.

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