What Is A Health Savings Account?

We never know when we might need a good sum of money for hospital expenses. Bad times do not come knocking on your door. For such situations, an HSA can be quite beneficial. Continue reading to learn more.

Health savings accounts (HSAs) helps you in saving up some cash to take care of the expense of a wide scope of qualified clinical costs. HSAs offer a trio of tax benefits, and you can invest cash saved in an HSA in business sectors for better profits from your contributions. Simply note that HSAs are just accessible on the off chance that you have a high-deductible health plan (HDHP). On the off chance that you have this sort of healthcare coverage, you cannot bear to pass up the numerous advantages of a HSAs. So what is a Health Savings Account? This is what you need to know.

What is a Health Savings Account, and How does it work?

A Health Savings Account (HSA) is a tax-advantaged account made for or by people covered under high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) to save up money for qualified clinical costs. Contributions are made into the account by the individual or their boss and are restricted to a greatest sum each year. The commitments are contributed after some time and can be utilized to pay for qualified clinical costs, like clinical, dental, and vision care, along with prescription drugs.

The IRS gives an extensive rundown of clinical services that are qualified to be paid for with HSA reserves. Typical expenses for the 2020 tax year included:

  • Dental and Orthodontics costs General medical expenses
  • Eyeglasses, vision exams and other services that are not typically covered under insurance plans, for example laser eye surgery
  • Lab fees
  • Prescriptions and some over-the-counter medicines
  • Weight loss programs, compression socks and massage therapy, if medically required

Furthermore, with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act established into law in light of the Coronavirus pandemic, HSA funds would now be able to be utilized for over-the-counter medicines without a prescription, along with specific other health-related items. Plan holders who are uncertain about what costs qualify should check with their pharmacist or HSA administrator.

As referenced above, individuals with HDHPs can open HSAs. People with HDHPs may fit the bill for HSAs and the two are generally go hand in hand. To fit the bill for   HSA, the taxpayer should satisfy qualification guidelines set out by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). A qualified individual is somebody who:

  • has a qualified HDHP
  • has no other health coverage
  • is not enrolled in Medicare
  • is not claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return

The maximum contribution for an HSA is $3,600 for a self-only account and $7,200 for a family in 2021. The yearly limits on contributions are applicable to the total of the sums contributed by both the employer and the employee. People 55 years or older can make up for lost contributions of an extra $1,000 to their HSAs, by the end of the tax year. The 2021 HSA commitment limits are $3,600 for a self-just account and $7,200 for a family account for people younger than 55.

An HSA can likewise be opened at certain financial establishments. Contributions must be made in real money while employer-sponsored plans can be financed by the worker and their boss. Some other individual, like a relative, can likewise add to the HSA of a qualified person. Independently employed or jobless people may likewise add to an HSA, if they meet the qualification prerequisites. People who enroll in Medicare can no longer add to an HSA as of the first month of enrollment. In any case, they can get without tax circulations for qualified clinical costs.

HSAs are created in a manner that assists individuals with high-deductible health plans save money tax-free in order to pay for deductibles and co-payments, along with other qualified medical expenses. The federal government has worked a lot to make HSAs popular and widely available in recent legislation, however, the plans have not aligned with their intended audience. A recent study by Further, an HSA administrator, shows that 40% of respondents who have access to health savings accounts do not fully understand how they work. This is quite unfortunate since HSAs offer a trifecta of tax benefits that should not be disregarded:

  • Contributions to an HSA account emerge from your paycheck before income taxes, which brings down your current tax liabilities.
  • Cash saved in the account might be invested into common assets, stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs); all investment gains are shielded from taxes, as with 401(k)s or individual retirement accounts (IRAs).
  • Withdrawals from an HSA that are made to pay for qualified costs are liberated from income taxes.

HSA Contributions

Admittance to HSAs is restricted to laborers with high-deductible health plans. For 2021, the IRS characterizes an HDHP as any health care plan with a deductible of at any rate $1,400 for an individual or $2,800 for a family. Complete out-of-pocket costs — including deductibles, co-payments, and coinsurance — are restricted to a sum of $7,000 for an individual or $14,000 for a family. Be that as it may, these limits do not matter to out-of-network services.

In the event that you are qualified to contribute to an HSA, the yearly HSA contribution limit is $3,600 for a single person and $7,200 for families for 2021. Individuals who are age 55 or more can make an extra $1,000 in yearly catch-up contributions. Like an IRA, your last contribution deadline is also your tax deadline, typically April 15, for the last year.

Employers can likewise contribute to their workers’ HSA accounts. In any case, unlike most retirement accounts, contribution limits include both worker and employer contributions. Whether your employer contributes or not, you will have to be cautious when setting up your payroll deductions for an HSA. In the event that you contribute excessively, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) may force a 6% tax on the excess contribution.

HSA Withdrawals

What happens when you make HSA withdrawals relies upon what you utilize the assets for and when you do it. You can make without tax withdrawals from your HSA for qualified clinical costs at any time. On the off chance that the costs do not qualify, you may bring about a 20% penalty along with taxes on what you pull out. This is only false on the off chance that you are 65 years old or more, in which case you can stay away from the penalty and only owe income taxes. In the event that you make an ineligible withdrawal, your HSA supplier may permit you to re-contribute it, contingent upon its strategies.

What is a High-Deductible Health Plan, and How does it work?

As its name infers, it is a health protection plan that has a high deductible. A deductible is the measure of clinical costs you should pay every year before coverage kicks in. High-deductible plans do not begin paying until after you have spent at least $1,400 (for an individual) or $2,800 (for a family) of your own cash on health care costs, despite the fact that deductibles differ by plan. The maximum deductible is $7,000 for an individual, or $14,000 for a family.

While the deductible is high with this sort of plan, the premium (the usual charge you pay to get coverage) is commonly lower than it is for customary plans. Likewise, numerous preventive services, like mammograms, are covered before a deductible is met. You can utilize your HSA to pay deductible costs, along with copays and some other health care expenses that are dictated by the individual HSA.

High-deductible health plans are getting progressively common. Organizations are bound to offer them as their only plans or as one of the restricted choices they give. It is important to carefully audit the plan’s coverage subtleties, including the out-of-pocket maximum — the breaking point on the amount you would need to pay for clinical costs in a year.

HSA Providers

Health savings accounts are offered by banks and financial services firms. Your employer may have an accomplice HSA supplier already accessible to you, however you are in every case allowed to utilize an external HSA. Contributions cannot be automatically deducted from your check on the off chance that you pick that choice. Expenses and account advantages vary among HSA suppliers. Remarkably, not all suppliers permit you to invest funds right away. Some have balance limits you should meet to start investing. Investment alternatives accessible likewise shift broadly among firms.

The accompanying HSA providers have investment thresholds:

  • Further, requires a balance of $1,000 in your HSA account before you can begin putting resources into shared assets. You can choose from a selection of Charles Schwab mutual funds when the value of your account is $10,000 or less. You need a surplus of more than $10,000 before you can get to a more extensive choice of shared assets and other securities.
  • Optum Bank has an investment limit of $2,000, yet there is a hitch. You should keep a money balance of $2,000. Any contributions over this sum might be putting resources into a selection of around 30 shared assets. Remarkably, in the event that you make a withdrawal from your HSA cash, investments will be offered to take the cash balance back to $2,000 if contributions are not made to take it back to equilibrium.

Select HSAs permit so-called “first-dollar investing,” where money is put to work in securities with no investment limit. These three HSA firms have no investment limit:

  • Fidelity
  • Lively
  • HealthSavings Administrators

Keep in mind that some providers may charge maintenance fees, costs to begin investing or trading fees. You will want to be fully aware of providers’ potential costs before you fund an account with one.

HSA Pros and Cons


What is the benefit of a health savings account? The following are the advantages Health Savings Accounts offer:

Many Expenses Qualify

Qualified costs incorporate a wide scope of clinical, dental, and mental health administrations. They are clarified in detail in IRS Publication 502, Medical and Dental Expenses. Because of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) ACT, passed in 2020, over-the-counter meds and menstrual products are currently qualified HSA costs.

Others Can Contribute

Contributions can emerge from you, your employer, a family member, or any other person who needs to add to your HSA. The IRS does, be that as it may, put down certain limits. In tax year 2020, for instance, the cutoff was $3,550 for individuals and $7,100 for families, in addition to an extra $1,000 in catch-up contributions for anybody aged 55 years old or more before the end of the tax year.

Pre-Tax Contributions

Contributions are commonly made with pretax dollars through payroll deductions at your boss. Therefore, they are excluded from your gross income and are not dependent upon federal income taxes. In many states, contributions are not liable to state income taxes.

Tax-Deductible After-Tax Contributions

In the event that you make contributions with after-tax dollars, you can deduct them from your gross income on your tax return, lessening your tax bill for the year. For instance, in case you are a person younger than 55 your maximum permitted contribution in 2021 is $3,600 ($3,550 for 2020). In the event that you deposit only $2,600 into your HSA through payroll deductions, before the year is over, you may decide to deposit an extra $1,000 to bring down your tax risk. Typically, you have until the particular IRS tax documenting deadline to make the contribution.

Tax-Free Withdrawals

Withdrawals from your HSA are not dependent upon government (or by and large, state) taxes in the event that you use them for qualified clinical expenses. However, HSAs can be utilized as investments accounts, permitting you to buy stocks and other securities to conceivably enhance your profits. Kindly note that investing into stocks and other securities inside your HSA is not suggested for everybody. It carries the risk of losing the principal, and ought to just be considered as a component of a differentiated, long term wealth building methodology. It is smart to look for the counsel of a financial planning expert before making such moves.

Tax-Free Earnings

Any interest or other earnings on the cash in the account is free of tax. The majority of HSA accounts earn a minimal amount of interest, which less than 0.1%.

Annual Rollover

On the off chance that you have cash left in your HSA toward the year’s end, it rolls over to the following year. This offers more adaptability and flexibility than Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), which can only be carried over in a sum of up to $500 or 2.5 months into the following plan year.


The cash in your HSA stays accessible for future qualified clinical costs regardless of whether you change health protection plans, go to work for a different employer, or retire. Basically, your HSA is a bank account in your name, where you choose how and when to utilize the assets.


Most HSAs issue a debit card, so you can pay for prescription drugs and other qualified costs immediately. On the off chance that you trust that a hospital expense will come via the mail, you can call the billing center and make a payment via telephone utilizing your HSA debit card. You can then again repay yourself out of an HSA on the off chance that you have covered a hospital expense with an alternative type of payment.


What is the downside of an HSA? If you are eligible for an HSA, here are some of the disadvantages to consider:

High-Deductible Requirement

A High-Deductible Health Plan, which you are needed to have to fit the bill for an HSA, can put a more noteworthy monetary burden on you than other kinds of health protection. Despite the fact that you will pay less in expenses every month, it very well may be troublesome — even with cash in an HSA — to think of the money to meet the deductible for an expensive surgery or medical treatment. This is an interesting point for any individual who realizes they will have huge hospital expenses in a specific plan year. The deductibles for HDHPs are frequently altogether higher than the essentials required and can be just about as high as the most maximum out-of-pocket expenses allowed.

Pressure to Save

Some individuals may be hesitant to look for healthcare when they need it because they do not want to spend the money deposited in their HSA account.

Taxes and Penalties

If you withdraw funds for non-qualified expenses before you are 65 years old, you will owe income taxes on the money, along with a 20% penalty. After the age of 65, you will owe the taxes but not the penalty.

Record keeping

It is important to maintain and organize receipts to prove that your withdrawals were used for qualified health costs. This will be important if you are audited by the IRS.


Some HSAs charge a month to month maintenance expense or a per-transaction expense, which changes from one establishment to another. While normally not exceptionally high, the charges are very likely higher than any premium the account may procure and do cut into your primary concern. Once in a while these expenses are deferred on the off chance that you keep a specific minimum balance.

Why is HSA a bad idea?

HSAs probably will not bode well is on the off chance that you have some sort of constant ailment. In such a case, you are most likely better served by conventional health plans. HSAs may likewise not be a smart thought in the event that you realize you will require costly clinical consideration sooner rather than later. At the point when you have a copay, you realize the amount it will cost to visit the specialist, however it very well may be hard to discover the expense of clinical care when you are paying yourself. Additionally, the craving to keep cash in an HSA may keep a few people from looking for clinical treatment or emergency department care when they truly need it. Furthermore, in the event that you remove cash from your HSA for non-clinical costs, you would have to pay taxes on it.

Who can set up a Health Savings Account?

Your boss may offer an HSA choice, or you can begin an account all alone through a bank or other monetary establishment. To qualify, you should be under age 65 and have a high-deductible health protection plan. On the off chance that you have a mate who utilizes your protection as optional coverage, the person additionally should be taken a crack at a high-deductible plan. This high-deductible health plan should be your only health insurance. Be that as it may, you can have dental, vision, incapacity and long term care protection.

How much Money can you Deposit Annually into a Health Savings Account?

The Internal Revenue Service draws the contribution limits for HSAs. Lately, the cutoff points have been $3,600 for people and $7,200 for family coverage. When you are enrolled Medicare, you cannot keep making contributions to your HSA. Be that as it may, in the years paving the way to retirement — between ages 55 and 65 — you can make “catch-up” contributions of up to $1,000 over the cutoff points to help pay for clinical expenses in retirement.

Are Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) similar to Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs)?

With regard to tax-advantaged clinical savings, numerous individuals are more acquainted with flexible spending accounts (FSAs) than HSAs. While they are comparable tools, as both give tax-advantaged approaches to take care of the expenses of clinical consideration, there are significant contrasts between the two.

The primary distinction is that FSA funds should be utilized during the plan year, or you relinquish the cash. According to Louis Bernardi, an insurance agent at Group Planners Inc., in Woodbury, N.Y, “Most employers take into consideration a rollover of a limited quantity or a carry over to the following year. HSAs, then again, do not terminate and belong to the person.” This implies that you can carry them with you across your life and profession. FSA assets, then again, are regularly relinquished not long after you leave your present employer.

Qualification is the other large contrast. In the event that your employer offers an FSA, you are qualified, regardless of whether you have a few health plans or none. Be that as it may, to meet all requirements for an HSA, you should be enrolled in an HDHP. It is additionally critical to take note of that you might have the option to open an FSA and an HSA in the event that you have a HDHP and your manager offers both account types. In this occurrence, notwithstanding, your FSA is named a “limited-purpose FSA” and must be utilized for dental and vision costs.

Special Considerations

HDHPs have higher yearly deductibles (the plan pays nothing until you arrive at these sums in out-of-pocket costs) but lower premiums than other health plans. The monetary advantage of a HDHP’s low-premium and high deductible design relies upon your own circumstance. The minimum deductible needed to open an HSA is $1,400 for an individual or $2,800 for a family for the 2021 tax year. The plan should likewise have a yearly out-of-pocket limit of $7,000 for self-coverage and $14,000 for families for the 2021 tax year. These maximums cap your out-of-pocket costs.

At the point when an individual pays qualified clinical costs equivalent to a plan’s deductible sum, extra qualified costs are split between the individual and the plan. For example, the insurer covers a percentage of the certified costs according to the agreement (typically 80% to 90%) while the plan holder pays the remaining 10% to 20% or a predefined copay. A person with a yearly deductible of $1,500 and a clinical case of $3,500 pays the first $1,500 to cover the yearly deductible. The insured pays 10% to 20% of the leftover $2000 while the insurance agency covers the rest.

When the yearly deductible is met in a given plan year, any extra clinical costs are commonly covered by the plan aside from any uncovered expenses under the agreement, for example, co-pays. An insured can pull out cash aggregated in an HSA to cover these out-of-pocket costs.


Like any health care alternative, HSAs enjoy benefits and disadvantages. As you gauge your choices, consider your spending plan and the health care you are probably going to require in the following year. In case you are for the most part healthy, and you need to put something aside for future health care expenses, an HSA might be an alluring decision. Or on the other hand in case you are close to retirement, an HSA may make sense on the grounds that the cash can be utilized to counterbalance the expenses of clinical consideration after retirement. Then again, in the event that you figure you may require costly clinical consideration in the following year and would think that it is difficult to meet a high deductible, an HSA and high-deductible health plan probably won’t be your most ideal choice.

All things considered, HSAs are truly outstanding, tax-advantaged savings and speculation devices accessible under the U.S. tax code. They are regularly alluded to as triple tax-advantaged on the grounds that contributions are not liable to tax, the cash can be contributed and develop without tax, and withdrawals are not taxed as long as you use them for qualified clinical costs. As an individual ages, clinical costs will in general increment, especially when arriving at retirement age and past. Beginning an HSA at an early age, in the event that you qualify, and permitting it to amass throughout a significant stretch of time, can contribute enormously to getting your financial future.

John Otero

John Otero

John Otero is an industry practitioner with more than 15 years of experience in the insurance industry. He has held various senior management roles both in the insurance companies and insurance brokers during this span of time. He began his insurance career in 2004 as an office assistant at an agency in her hometown of Duluth, MN. He got licensed as a producer while working at that agency and progressed to serve as an office manager. Working in the agency is how he fell in love with the industry. He saw firsthand the good that insurance consumers experienced by having the proper protection. John has diverse experience in corporate & consumer insurance services, across a range of vocations. His specialties include Major Corporate risk management and insurance programs, and Financial Lines He has been instrumental in making his firm as one of the leading organizations in the country in generating sustainable rapid growth of the company while maintaining service excellence to clients.

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