Lumber, raw materials, car prices and the cost of a lot of other items are spiraling out of control. What’s a person to do? In crazy times, we must all be smarter and thoughtful in our actions and/or listen to our gut in order to get the best deal we can.

One way to accomplish this is to stop using your HRA debit card at the time of service in a medical and dental office. You know, using the HRA debit card before your claim is adjudicated and your exact out of pocket expense is known.

If you feel compelled to make payment at the time of service, use a credit card that you either receive air-miles, cash back or some other reward incentive. Once your claim is adjudicated, you can electronically submit a HRA request to get reimbursed.

Let me explain the benefits of this idea. Essentially, by making your payment through a rewards-based credit card and subsequently submitting a HRA reimbursement request for that purchase and/or payment, you are utilizing HRA benefit monies to maximize your credit card rewards program. As an added bonus, while maximizing your credit card reward program, you are simultaneously strengthening your credit score and limiting the possibility of having your HRA debit card privileges suspended or worse, terminated for late or for an unsubstantiated transaction.