Commissioner's Corner

Commissioner’s Corner 

Q. I have been hearing in the news about Health Savings Accounts.  What are they and how do they work?

A.  That is an excellent question.  Health Savings Accounts (HSA) are a type of savings account that allows you to set aside pre-tax money to pay for qualified medical expenses. The untaxed dollars that you or your employer put in your HSA allow you to pay for deductibles, copayments, coinsurance, and other expenses.

But in order to contribute to an HSA, you must be enrolled in a high-deductible health plan as defined by the IRS.  For HSA purposes, a high-deductible health plan is one with a with a deductible of at least $1,400 for an individual or $2,800 for a family.  This means you pay at least $1,400 (or $2,800) out-of-pocket in a year before the health plan starts paying for health costs.  However, be aware that if you pay for anything other than qualified expenses with your HSA, the amount will be taxable.

Contributions are limited and adjusted annually by the IRS. Money unspent in an HSA rolls over at the end of the year and can be used for future medical expenses.

The money belongs to you, so if you change jobs or insurance plans, your funds remain in your account. Be aware that there could be taxes and penalties for early withdrawals and only qualified medical expenses can be paid from the account.

    ~Commissioner Rude


Commissioner’s Corner – Producer Question

Q.  Can the Department of Insurance provide an opinion whether an insurer is engaging in rebating or improper promotional or marketing activities?

A.  If you are an insurer or producer, you can submit a detailed written proposal to the department for review.  Please allow reasonable time for a review to be completed before instituting a program that might be considered a violation of state law. 

Below are the applicable Wyoming statutes:

W.S. §26-13-102. Unfair methods and deceptive acts prohibited.

No person shall engage in this state in any trade practice which is defined in this article as or is determined pursuant to this article to be an unfair method of competition or an unfair or deceptive act or practice in the business of insurance.

W.S. §26-13-110. Rebates and favors as to life, disability and annuity contracts prohibited.

(a)  Except as otherwise provided by law, no person shall:

    (i)  Knowingly permit or offer to make or make any contract of life insurance, life annuity or disability insurance, or agreement as to that contract other than as expressed in the contract issued thereon;

   (ii)  Pay, allow or give or offer to pay, allow or give in any manner as inducement to the insurance or annuity:

(A)  Any rebate of premiums payable on the contract;

(B)  Any special favor or advantage in the dividends or other benefits thereon;

(C)  Any paid employment or contract for services of any kind; or

(D)  Any valuable consideration or inducement not specified in the contract.

(iii)  In any manner give, sell or purchase or offer or agree to give, sell, purchase or allow as inducement to the insurance or annuity or in connection therewith, and whether or not to be specified in the policy or contract, any agreement of any form or nature promising:

(A)  Returns and profits;

(B)  Any stocks, bonds or other securities, or interest present or contingent therein or as measured thereby, of any insurer or other corporation, association or partnership; or

(C)  Any dividends or profits accrued or to accrue thereon.

W.S. §26-13-112. Unfair discrimination, rebates and favors prohibited for property, casualty and surety insurers.

(a)  No property, casualty or surety insurer or any employee or representative thereof, and no broker or agent shall pay, allow or give, or offer to pay, allow or give, in any manner, as an inducement to insurance, or after insurance has been effected, any valuable consideration or inducement of any kind not specified or provided for in the policy, except to the extent provided for in an applicable filing with the commissioner as provided by law.

Jeffrey P. Rude