Top five questions on health savings accounts (HSAs)
To raise awareness and help consumers better navigate open enrollment, UMB participated in the first National HSA Awareness Day through a live Twitter discussion or TweetChat. Our experts answered questions to help participants better understand the added benefits of an HSA-qualified plan.
With open enrollment, many are seeking to better understand their benefit options. Below are the top 5 questions about health savings accounts that came out of the National HSA Awareness Day TweetChat.
What are some of the key benefits that health savings accounts bring?
With an HSA, the money an accountholder puts into the account can grow over time to be used for future medical expenses. HSAs also allow for accountholders to make catch-up contributions if they are age 55 or older. This opportunity to save money on a tax-free basis will make HSAs a solid complement to a 401(k) and/or IRA when looking at future savings.
HSAs also have a triple tax advantage*:
- Money goes into the account tax-free
- Money earns tax-free interest
- Investment earnings and money comes out tax-free, when used for eligible expenses
What is the maximum health savings account contribution for 2019?
Contributing to an HSA helps consumers pay for medical expenses they have now while also saving for medical expenses they will have in the future. In 2020, if you have self-only coverage you can contribute up to $3,550 or for family coverage up to $7,100. If you are 55 or older, you can contribute an extra $1,000 at the end of the year. By contributing the maximum amount to their HSA each year and considering investment options, accountholders will be setting themselves up to cover healthcare expenses both now and in the future.
Who are health savings accounts for?
Every consumer can benefit from opening an HSA. HDHPs paired with an HSA were made as a way to help control health care costs and each accountholder can decide how much money to set aside for health care costs. HSAs are a great way to build tax-free wealth through deductible contributions while investing for growth over time and taking tax-free* distributions and reimbursements when needed.
What is the difference between an HSA and an FSA?
Unlike FSAs, an HSA allows you to roll over your entire unspent amount year after year. Money you put in an HSA will always be yours, whereas you can’t take your FSA money with you if you change jobs or retire. The money sitting in an HSA isn’t taxed* at any point during the account’s life and neither are any gains if some of the money in the HSA is invested. Money withdrawn for qualified medical expenses is also tax-free*.
What are HSA eligible items?
You can use your balance to pay for qualified medical expenses for you or your covered dependents. Some examples include:
- Your deductible
- Dental treatments, exams or cleaning costs
- Prescription drug costs
- Vision expenses such as contact lenses or glasses
- Chiropractic or acupuncture fees
- Eye surgery
You can find a full list of HSA eligible expenses for 2019 in IRS Publication 502 at www.irs.gov‡.
HSAs are an effective way for individuals to take control of their financial well-being both now and in the future. People should ask their employer what decision-support tools they have to help make healthcare decisions stress-free. Don’t be afraid to seek out an advisor who can help with your retirement planning.
Learn more about UMB Healthcare Services, which ranks fourth in total accounts and fifth in total deposit assets among all HSA providers (Source: 2019 ‡Devenir Mid-year HSA Market Statistics & Trends Report‡).
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