With the New Year right around the corner, it’s also the time of year most people review their health insurance plans and make changes. If you’ve ever wondered about Health Savings Accounts (HSA), here’s our guide to the most frequently asked questions we get about this type of account.
What is an HSA?
If you have a qualifying high deductible health plan, you can use an HSA to save for future medical expenses. Merchants Bank’s HSA offers the return of a savings account with the convenience of a checking account.
“While it may seem like all health plans are high deductible, there is a designated amount that qualifies a health plan as high deductible,” Merchants Bank HSA Expert, Nancy Denstad, said.
Plan qualifications may change by year; you can check the current year’s guidelines on the IRS website.*
Who can have an HSA?
Any adult can contribute to a Health Savings Account if they:
- Have coverage under an HSA-qualified “high deductible health plan” (HDHP)
- Have no other first-dollar medical coverage (with limited exceptions)
- Are not enrolled in Medicare
- Cannot be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return
How and when do I contribute to an HSA?
- Contributions to a Health Savings Account can be made by the account owner, an employer, or both each year the account owner is eligible.
- Total contributions are limited annually and can be made up to the amount of the plan deductible, not to exceed annual limits.
- Contributions can be made as late as April 15 of the following year, like an IRA. However, all contributions will be assumed to be made for the current tax year unless deposited in-person and designated for the prior year by completing a Previous Year Contribution form.
How do I determine my HSA contribution?
Annual contribution limits change from year to year. This helpful article from the Society for Human Resource Management* can help you determine your eligible yearly contribution or consult your tax advisor.
What can I spend my HSA money on?
The money in an HSA is to pay for any “qualified medical expense” permitted under federal tax law, including medical expenses for yourself, your spouse or your dependent children. You may use your HSA to pay for expenses incurred by your spouse or dependent children even if they are not covered by a high deductible health plan.
“Popular uses for HSA funds include paying for a simple doctor’s check-up or physical, covering surgery costs and prescription medicines. You could also use HSA money for well-being expenses such as acupuncture,” said Denstad. “People don’t often realize HSA funds can be disbursed for dental and vision expense. For example, teeth X-rays, braces, eye exams and prescription glasses.”
For a complete listing, please review Publication 502 on the IRS website* or consult your tax advisor. Any amounts used for purposes other than to pay for “qualified medical expenses” are taxable as income and may be subject to tax penalties; tax penalties in certain situations, such as attaining age 65, do not apply (consult your tax advisor).
Apply for an HSA now or schedule an appointment with your local Merchants Bank Customer Service Representative.
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