Check out these frequently asked questions about our HSAs.
What is a health savings account (HSA)?
This is the most frequently asked question. A health savings account (HSA) is an IRA-like account funded with pretax dollars that grow tax-deferred. The HSA assets may serve a dual purpose:
- Tax-free and penalty-free distributions can be taken to pay for medical expenses
- Penalty-free (but not tax-free) distributions can be taken for any reason starting at age 65
In other words, HSA assets not used for medical expenses become retirement assets.
Who is eligible for Health Savings Accounts?
- Are not covered by any other non-HDHP health plan, such as a spouse’s plan, that provides any benefits covered by your HDHP plan
- Are not enrolled in Medicare
- Do not receive health benefits under TRICARE
- Have not received Veterans Administration (VA) benefits within the past three months
- Are not claimed as a dependent on another person’s tax return
- Are not covered by a general purpose health care flexible spending account (FSA) or health reimbursement account (HRA). Alternative plan designs, such as a limited-purpose FSA or HRA, might be permitted
WHAT IS A HIGH DEDUCTIBLE HEALTH PLAN?
The requirements for a health plan to be considered a “high deductible” (HDHP) vary, depending on whether the covered individual receives single or family health insurance coverage.
For single coverage, the policy must have both:
- a minimum deductible of $1,400
- a maximum out-of-pocket cost of $7,000
For family coverage, the policy must have both:
- a minimum deductible of $2,800
- a maximum out-of-pocket cost of $14,000
Prior to President George W. Bush signing the Health Opportunity Empowerment Act of 2006 into law, the maximum HSA contribution limit was calculated by the lesser of the deductible or the IRS limitation. However, with this new law came new HSA rules, which state that you can now contribute up to the IRS limitations regardless of deductible. Click here to see what the IRS limitations are for HSA Contribution Limits currently.
WHEN MUST HSA CONTRIBUTIONS BE MADE?
Like IRAs, contributions may be made until the tax return due date (not including extensions) for the individual. This date is typically April 15th. If you are making a prior year contribution, please note on the deposit that it is for the prior tax year.
WHO CONTRIBUTES TO MY HSA?
Contributions may be made in any combination of employer, individual or family member. If your employer contributes to your HSA, your employer must make comparable contributions for all employees with comparable health insurance coverage.
HOW ARE CONTRIBUTIONS TREATED FOR TAX PURPOSES?
Employer contributions are excluded from income and individual contributions are deductible “above the line”. That is, a taxpayer does not have to itemize in order to take the contribution as a deduction.
Your HSA dollars can be taken anytime, free from federal income tax, to pay for qualifying medical expenses. HSA funds may be used to pay premiums only for long-term care insurance, COBRA continuation premiums, or other health insurance premiums for people receiving unemployment benefits. Be sure to check your HSA plan for specifics regarding distribution procedures.
HOW ARE DISTRIBUTIONS TREATED FOR TAX PUPOSES?
If distributions are taken for Qualifying Medical Expenses (QME), the distributions are tax free. Distributions taken for other purposes are taxed at ordinary income tax rates. If the distribution is not taken for a QME and is not due to disability, death or attainment of age 65, a 20% penalty tax applies in addition to the ordinary income tax.
WHAT ARE QUALIFYING MEDICAL EXPENSES?
A Qualifying Medical Expense (QME) is generally an expense incurred maintaining your or your family’s health (e.g., diagnostic services, treatments or hospitalization). QMEs do NOT include the payment of health insurance premiums, unless the premiums are for long-term care insurance, health care continuation coverage, or health care coverage while you are receiving unemployment compensation, under any federal or state law.
WHAT ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF MEDICAL EXPENSES THAT I CAN PAY TAX-FREE FROM MY HSA?
Medical service fees from doctors, dentists, optometrists, chiropractors, psychiatrists, psychologists, and other certified medical professionals are some of the examples of medical expenses that I can pay tax-free from my HSA.
- Prescription drug fees
- Fees for lab work, therapy, nursing services and surgery
- Fees for eyeglasses, contact lenses, hearing aids, false teeth, and any other prosthetic devices and special devices
- Fees for insurance premiums as discussed in the previous question
- Fees for transportation expenses needed for medical, dental or health treatment, plus many other expenses not listed above
For information, a list can be obtained by downloading IRS Publication 502. Please contact the Bank of Cashton with regard to any questionable qualifying expense.
WHAT ARE SOME EXPENSES THAT ARE NOT CONSIDERED QME’S?
- Over the counter drugs
- Payments for cosmetic surgery
- Payments for your general health, such as health club dues
- Stop smoking programs
- Weight loss programs
- Trips for general health improvement
- Payment for illegal medical treatment, such as unapproved procedures
- Payment for premiums for the HDHP
- Payment for premiums for other types of medical insurance, as addressed by the above question
- Funeral, burial or cremation expenses
WHAT HAPPENS TO MY HSA AT MY DEATH?
At your death, the HSA will pass to your named beneficiary. If the beneficiary is your spouse, the HSA will be re-titled in your spouse’s name. If there is no surviving spouse or your spouse is not the beneficiary, then the account will cease to be an HSA and will be included in the federal gross income of your estate or named beneficiary.