With the New Year in sight, 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.
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. Visit www.irs.gov to 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.
For a complete listing, please visit www.irs.gov 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.
To learn more, visit our website or talk to a Customer Service Representative at your local Merchants Bank.
Nancy Denstad, on vacation with her husband Tony in Tucson, Az.
When did you start your banking career?
I started in the Proof Department (now Item Processing) at Merchants in 1985. Since then, I’ve had several positions throughout Merchants including as a Teller, Personal Loan Assistant, Personal Loan Officer and a Customer Service Representative. I’ve been in my current role as Deposit Account Services Manager since 1993.
What is your top banking tip?
I feel very strongly about the importance of saving early. As soon as you get out of school and get a job, start contributing to your retirement. If your company offers a retirement plan, make automatic payroll deductions to that plan right away and don’t stop. You’ll be surprised at how much those extra years help your money grow.
What’s one thing your mom or dad taught you about money?
If I wanted something, I had to save for it and buy it myself. They made me a saver, and I’m glad that they taught me that. It’s a something I’ve really tried to pass on to my own children.
If you could ring the bell at the New York Stock Exchange with anyone, who would it be and why?
It’d be fun to have my husband and children in New York with me.
Besides money, what’s your favorite green thing?
Ireland. I went on a vacation there a few years ago with my husband and some friends. We traveled the entire country and I’ve love to go back.
Switching to a high deductible health plan in 2015? Click here to learn more about Merchants Health Savings Account options and how Nancy can help.
The high cost of insurance may be a challenge for many employers. But there may be an answer to these questions:
- Are you combating higher health insurance premiums? Yes
- Are you considering or are you offering your employees a high deductible health plan (HDHP)? Yes
- Are you looking for peace of mind about your health care expenses? Yes
- Do you want it to be as easy as possible? Yes
Then, you’ll want a Health Savings Account (HSA) from Merchants Bank.
The Winona Area Public Schools (WAPS) is one business that is offering HSAs, and the results have been good, according to Jolie Severson, Payroll and Benefits Administrator at WAPS. More than 411 of the more than 600 employees at WAPS have HSA accounts.
“I would rate our experience as 10 out of 10,” Severson said. “The staff at Merchants is helpful with setting up our employees’ accounts online, allowing personal funds to be directly deposited. All questions and special circumstances are answered with efficiency and satisfaction.”
Severson said there are a number of other benefits for employees.
“It’s not a use it or lose it account, so all the funds in the account stays with the employee for years to come. There are employees who are building up this account for retirement with tax-free dollars,” Severson said. “Employees have become better health care consumers as they manage their medical needs.”
Plus, the account is portable if the employee were to leave and can be transferred to a spouse upon death.
If you want to learn more, talk with your insurance agent and then talk to us at Merchants Bank. We’d be happy to come on-site to help educate your employees.