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HSA Basics

An HSA—or Health Savings Account—is a special bank account that you can use when you enroll in a Bronze, Bronze Plus, or Silver coverage level. If you also have coverage under a second medical plan, it must also be a high-deductible option for you to use an HSA.

It’s a great way to save for the future. Just set aside a few dollars from each paycheck now, and then you’ll have funds to help cover health care expenses that come up. Plus, it’s tax-free, so you’re actually getting a better deal.

You can decide if you want to enroll in an HSA when you enroll for benefits. That’s a great time to decide how much to save.

You can change the amount you save at any time throughout the year.

Why Consider an HSA?

You’ll be responsible for 100% of your medical and prescription drug expenses until you meet your deductible in the Bronze, Bronze Plus, or Silver coverage level. An HSA is a great way to pay less for those out-of-pocket expenses because you’re using tax-free money.

Let’s say you injure your knee playing basketball. With a high deductible, you might worry about how you’re going to afford the medical bills.

Now imagine if you had already set aside money for expenses like these. That’s where an HSA comes in handy! You could already have the money you need saved up.

An HSA allows you to set aside tax-free money to pay for qualified health care expenses. This includes your medical, dental, and vision copays, deductibles, and coinsurance.

If you want, you can elect to contribute after-tax dollars to your HSA through the bank. Your before-tax and after-tax contributions apply to the same annual limit.


It’s Tax-Free—and Yours to Keep!

While no one likes taking money out of their paycheck, there are a number of advantages to setting aside a little money in an HSA.

It’s tax-free when it goes in. You can put money into your HSA on a before-tax basis through convenient payroll contributions. You’ll save money on qualified health care expenses and lower your taxable income.

It’s tax-free as it grows. You earn tax-free interest on your money.

It’s tax-free when you spend it. When you spend your HSA on qualified health care expenses, you don’t pay any taxes. That means you’re saving money on your qualified medical, dental, and vision expenses.

It’s always your money. You can carry over your unused HSA balance from year to year. Just like a bank account, you own your HSA, so it’s yours to keep and use even if you change medical options, leave the company, or retire.

Important! Make sure you use money in your HSA only for qualified health care expenses. Otherwise, you’ll pay income taxes on that distribution. You’ll also pay an additional 20% penalty tax if you’re under age 65.

Wondering what the difference is between an HSA and a Health Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA)? Find out.


Questions?

Get Answers to your questions, including eligibility rules and what happens if you already have an HSA or FSA.

If you enroll in a Bronze, Bronze Plus, or Silver coverage level, learn how the HSA works in the HSA User's Guide (PDF).


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