Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) are “tax-exempt bank accounts which are specifically used to pay for qualifying medical expenses (RMHP.org).” In other words, it is a savings account to spend on medical expenses that is not subject to income taxes. The benefits of an HSA include:
- Deposits are 100% tax deductible (up to the IRS maximum).
- Money that is deposited into your HSA reduces your yearly taxable income.
- Money in the account can remain and earn interest until you need to use it.
- Remaining money can be used as retirement savings at age 65 or continue to be used for medical expenses.
Health insurance plans that qualify must meet the high deductible health plan requirements. See http://www.irs.gov/publications/p969/ar02.html for details.
Here are five benefits of an HSA, including important facts and uses for your funds. A short description of each is below, and for more information talk to your insurance representative or go to: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p502.pdf.
1. Who can use your funds?
HSA account funds can pay for qualified medical expenses for you, your spouse, and qualified dependents. The IRS definition of qualified dependent includes a child, relative, or decedent.
2. Chiropractor and Acupuncture Expenses
Although, many health care plans are starting to cover holistic care, some plans still have fees (i.e. copays or coinsurance) and some providers (practitioner?) do not accept insurance. In either case, you can use your HSA funds to cover these expenses.
3. Dental and Eye Expenses
Dental and eye insurance are typically policies that individuals can sign-up for in addition to health insurance. Whether or not you elected and dental and eye plan, HSA funds can go toward most dental or eye expenses.
4. Smoking Cessation
One of the top New Year’s resolutions is to quit smoking. It is a very important health choice. Although, your HSA cannot be used for over-the-counter products, it can be used for fees associated with smoking-cessation programs or products prescribed by a physician.
5. Weight-Loss Programs
If your physician has prescribed a specific weight reduction activity or nutritional needs beyond what the IRS considers “normal nutrition,” these expenses can be paid for by your HSA. Weight loss expenses only qualify if a physician has prescribed it as a treatment for a specific disease diagnosis. Gym memberships and nutritional groceries do not apply, for example.
This is just a short list of benefits of an HSA. These qualified medical expenses that can be paid for by your HSA account. For more qualified expenses see http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p502.pdf and for HSA qualified health plans go to http://www.rmhp.org/individuals/hsa-individual-plans for more information.