Health Savings Accounts: What You Need To Know

Health Savings Accounts: What You Need To Know

HSA’s or health savings accounts are great tools for Americans to access the health care they need, when they need it without the ability to ‘dip in’ for a shopping spree, leaving you without in your time of need. More affordable than ever, health care in the USA today is something that every person should look into to ensure you are not left holding a bill you can’t afford or not get the care you need.

What is an HSA?

HSA’s are accounts set up with the single intention of providing money for ‘qualified’ medical expenses if and when they arise. A Tax deductible account, when the money is taken out for the expense, it comes out tax-free, providing an additional incentive to get on board. If managed correctly, the money in those accounts can be invested, accrue interest and these as well as exempt from the taxes – so it’s a great way to get the money ready for anything that may come your way. They must, however, be either enrolled in Medicare or be covered by a health insurance plan for these to be active. See more info

What is a high deductible health plan (HDHP)?

The HDHP is simply a health insurance policy, usually with a high excess before your insurance kicks in. The major benefit to consumers of these plans is the premiums required to be paid each more is lower, and with an HSA account in waiting, you have more than enough – or should do – to cover any out of pocket expenses as they arise.

The IRS has set minimum deductible amounts at $1400 for families ($1200 for individuals) and the maximums at $12500 for families ($6250 for individuals). Although these may sound high, these are for the ‘largest procedures’ and should be more than made up for by the reduction in the monthly premiums the policyholders have.

How much can I contribute to an HSA?

For 2013, the IRS has set individual HSA contributions at $3,250 for individuals and $6450 for families. If you are over age 55, you are able to place an additional $1000 per year into the account through what’s known as a “catch-up contribution.”

The IRS sets individual contributions at $3250 for individuals and $6450 for families, however, the over 55-year-olds can add an additional $1000 for catch up contributions if they haven’t got enough in the account already.

Can I leave the money in my HSA from year to year?

Put it simply, look at the HSA as a regular saving account that you can place the funds in other investment vehicles to get additional money and interest with. It all has tax advantages to put money in these funds.

Can I set up one HSA for both my wife and myself?

No, it needs to be personal like your income tax. You need seperate accounts.

OK, so I can use my HSA to pay for qualified medical expenses. What are those?

Anything considered ‘qualified’ Dental, doctors, x rays, prescriptions & some over the counter drugs all are covered. What is not are cosmetic surgeries, funerals, weight loss or gym memberships.

What if I want to use the money in my HSA for something other than medical expenses?

It’s pretty simple, if you take the money out and you are under 65, then you will liable for the tax as you withdraw it. In addition, you will get a 20% tax added as a penalty. Meanwhile, if you are over 65, there is zero interest in taking the money out, it becomes an ordinary account. In addition, after 65 you can use the money to cover some of your Medicare costs.

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