Health Savings Accounts
As health care costs continue to rise, millions of Americans are looking for ways to save money. One of those ways is to switch to a high deductible health plan with a health savings account (HSA) option. With this plan arrangement, you pay lower monthly premiums and have a medical spending account, your HSA, that you can use for certain out-of-pocket health expenses.
The cost of health care is rising, but how much you will actually spend on medical expenses varies. This means that most people have extra funds available for investing in the future, and an HSA is a great way to accomplish both. By opening an HSA, you can place money into the account to go towards qualified medical expenses.
If you have money left in your HSA at the end of the year, it will simply roll over and grow over time through the accrual of tax-free interest.
Frequently Asked Questions
Since you are the account holder or HSA beneficiary, you manage your own account. These plans must be coupled with a high-deductible health plans (HDHPs).
What expenses are eligible for reimbursement with an HSA?
HSA dollars may be used for qualified medical expenses incurred by the account holder and dependents. According to IRS Section 213(d), “[an] expense has to be primarily for the prevention and alleviation of a physical or mental defect or illness.” In addition, COBRA premiums; health insurance premiums in conjunction with unemployment benefits; qualified long-term care premiums; and health insurance premiums paid by those over age 65 (other than for a Medicare supplemental policy) may be paid with HSA dollars.
What happens if HSA funds run out?
If your HSA dollars run out, you will be responsible for eligible medical expenses that fall within the coverage gap.
Can HSA dollars be used for non-eligible expenses?
Money withdrawn from an HSA to reimburse for non-eligible medical expenses is considered taxable income and is subject to a 20 percent tax penalty, unless you are over 65, disabled or upon the death of the account holder.
When can HSA dollars be used?
HSA dollars can be used immediately following your account activation and once contributions have been made.
When can you contribute to an HSA account?
You, your employer and others can contribute to an HSA account as often as you like through payroll deductions or in the form of a lump sum deposit, provided that you do not exceed the annual limits.
How do you pay your physician or network for services with HSA dollars?
Once the medical claim has been processed, out-of-pocket expenses will be billed to you (if any). At that time, you can use your HSA debit card or check to pay for any out-of-pocket expenses; or you can write a personal check and request reimbursement from your HSA at a later date.
Making the switch to an HDHP and HSA can help you save money, but it might not be the best fit for you. Be sure to carefully review your health care expenditures before you make the switch.