With insurance premiums on the rise, employers and employees must find new ways to mitigate the burdens of higher co-payments, higher deductibles, and increased provider restrictions. One solution is the combination of a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) with a Health Savings Account (HSA).
HSAs are similar to FSAs, but with a few important differences. HSAs can be funded by the employer, the employee, or both. Unlike an FSA, funds in an HSA roll over from year to year, earning interest over time. Since the HSA is individually-owned, the funds always belong to the accountholder, even if they switch jobs or insurance plans.
A Health Savings Account (HSA) is a tax-advantaged account that allows participants to set aside pre-tax funds to pay for qualified medical expenses incurred by the participant, their spouse, and any tax dependents covered under the participant’s qualified high-deductible health plan (HDHP).
HSA contributions can be made by the employer, the employee, or a combination of both.
In 2013, the HSA contribution limit is $3,250 for individuals and $6,450 for families. The limits for 2014 are $3,300 for individuals and $6,550 for families. For 2013, the minimum deductible for an HSA-qualified health plan is $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for families. The minimum deductible for an HSA-qualified health plan in 2014 will be $1,250 for individuals and $2,500 for families. Accountholders who make a full HSA contribution must remain HSA-eligible for one year after benefitting from this rule; otherwise, they become subject to taxes and penalties.
Individuals age 55 or older who are not enrolled in Medicare are eligible to make an additional “catch-up” contribution to their HSA. The amount that may be contributed in 2012 is $1,000.
AmeriFlex makes it easy to use the funds in your HSA. You can pay for qualified medical expenses with your AmeriFlex Convenience Card, or you can pay or expenses out-of-pocket and reimburse yourself later by submitting a manual claim. No matter how you choose to use the funds in your HSA, be sure to keep track of all receipts as proof that funds were used to pay for qualified expenses.
The IRS defines medical expenses as those related to the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease. Medical care expenses must be primarily to alleviate or prevent a physical or mental defect or illness, and do not include expenses that are merely beneficial to general health or aesthetic, such as vitamins, toothpaste, cosmetic surgery, or weight loss programs. In general, employees can use an HSA to pay for medical expenses that are not reimbursed through an insurance plan.
Common examples of eligible expenses include:
For a more comprehensive database of eligible and ineligible expenses, please log in to the AmeriFlex Convenience Portal.
No. You can reimburse yourself for expenses incurred in prior years as long as those expenses were incurred on or after the date your HSA was established.
No. Since HSAs are individually-owned, it is solely your responsibility to keep track of how much you have contributed to your account.
The custodian bank tracks the total amount withdrawn from your HSA and provides that information to you and to the IRS in tax form 1099-SA, which is sent to you each year before January 31. Since HSAs are individually-owned accounts, you are responsible to the IRS for all HSA distributions. Be sure to save your receipts and other documentation as proof that HSA funds were used to pay for qualified medical expenses.
If funds from your account are mistakenly used for a non-qualified expense, you must claim the amount as income on your tax return. That amount will be subject to a 20% penalty if you are under age 65. However, you can avoid taxes and potential penalties if the funds are repaid by April 15 of the year following the year in which you paid for the non-qualified expense.
The funds in your HSA roll over and continue to grow from year to year. Each year, as long as you are eligible, you are able to continue making the full contribution to your account. HSA funds are also portable, meaning the account always belongs to you even if you change jobs or switch insurance plans.