Health Savings Accounts (HSA)
Health Savings Accounts (HSA) were created to give plan members access to tax advantaged savings accounts they could use to help pay for medical expenses that would not be paid for by their insurance. The idea was that if employees were responsible for paying a portion of their medical expenses from their own HSA they would become wiser healthcare consumers.
Here is how a HSA works in a typical employer sponsored plan (a HSA may also be purchased by an individual):
- The employer purchases a qualified high deductible catastrophic health plan (HDHP) for a reduced premium.
- Employee contributions are reduced and the employee redirects the savings into an HSA on a pre-tax basis.
- HSA balances are allowed to earn tax deferred interest, rollover each year until Medicare eligibility, may be invested and are portable, should you change jobs.
- HSA funds may be used to pay for eligible medical expenses listed under Section 213(d) of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), including many services not routinely covered under insurance. These medical expenses are paid with pre-tax funds!
- Unused HSA funds may be rolled over, tax deferred, each year and allowed to accumulate for future medical expenses.
- Should a catastrophic condition arise, the employer's insurance plan will pay the benefits for expenses in excess of the HSA.
Consumer directed options, such as HSA, were developed to empower and encourage plan members to evaluate their healthcare options, with an incentive to spend dollars wisely. We have designed consumer directed plans to encourage covered members to make more informed choices.
Comparing HSA, FSA and HRA
Health Savings Accounts are similar to Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) and Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRA), but can provide even greater value because the HSA is portable, earns tax deferred interest and can accumulate over time.