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What is a Health Savings Account (HSA)?

An HSA is a tax-free savings account that’s paired with a high-deductible health insurance plan to pay for routine medical expenses. Think of it as a 401(k) for health care.

How does an HSA work?

Each year, you decide how much to contribute to your HSA. The money in the account is put toward the deductible. Once the deductible is met, the insurance kicks in to cover any additional costs – just like a traditional insurance plan.

HSA account holders receive a debit card or checks connected to their HSA balance to pay for deductibles, co-pays, and other eligible medical expenses. Funds withdrawn for non-medical expenses before the age of 65 are subject to a penalty.

Any unused funds roll over from year-to-year and earn interest.

With HSAs, the individual owns the account — not the employer, even if they contribute to it. That means you can take your HSA with you should you change jobs.

Do I Qualify for an HSA?

An employer may offer HSA-qualified insurance as an employee benefit. Others may select HSA-qualified plans from their state exchanges via the Affordable Care Act. You can also get an HSA through your financial institution.

You are eligible for an HSA as long as you do not have other disqualifying coverage, like a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), Medicare, Medicaid or TRICARE. You also cannot be claimed as a dependent on another person’s tax return.

HSA Limits

The IRS sets the minimum deductible, maximum contribution and maximum out-of-pocket cost for HSAs each year.

Contribution and Out-of-Pocket Limits for Health Savings Accounts and High-Deductible Health Plans
HSA contribution limit
(employer + employee)
Self-only: $4,150
Family: $8,300
Self-only: $3,850
Family: $7,750
Self-only: +$300
Family: +$550
HSA catch-up contributions
(age 55 or older)
$1,000$1,000No change
HDHP minimum deductiblesSelf-only: $1,600
Family: $3,200
Self-only: $1,500
Family: $3,000
Self-only: +$100
Family: +$200
HDHP maximum out-of-pocket amounts
(deductibles, co-payments and other amounts, but not premiums)
Self-only: $8,050
Family: $16,100
Self-only: $7,500
Family: $15,000
Self-only: +$550
Family: +$1100

Source: IRS, Revenue Procedure 2023-23.

HSA Tax Advantages

There are four tax advantages unique to HSA accounts:

  1. Contributions to HSAs are deductible to you, regardless of the source;
  2. Interest or investment gained on the account isn’t subject to tax;
  3. Funds can be withdrawn to pay for qualified medical expenses without being taxed; and
  4. After the age of 65, you can withdraw funds for non-medical expenses without being subject to a penalty (however, they will be subject to income tax).