Health savings accounts (HSAs) are now more popular than ever. According to a recent survey, the number of HSAs has surpassed 21 million, and the accounts now hold about $42.7 billion in assets.
Here’s a very tight summary of how the HSA works for you:
- Deduct the health insurance cost. To enable the HSA, your health insurance must be a high-deductible health insurance policy. Sole proprietors, partners, and S corporation owners can qualify to deduct this high-deductible insurance on page 1 of Form 1040. (The page 1 Form 1040 deduction does not suffer the 10 percent haircut that applies to itemized medical deductions.)
- Deduct the HSA contribution. For 2017, you can make a deductible HSA contribution of up to $3,400 if you have qualifying self-only coverage, or up to $6,750 if you have qualifying family coverage (anything other than self-only coverage). The deduction for the contribution is above the line, so it does not suffer from phaseouts and it’s deductible whether you itemize or not.
- Tax-deferred earnings. The monies accumulated in your HSA grow and compound tax deferred (or even tax-free if you withdraw correctly).
- Tax-free withdrawals. Withdrawals from your HSA are tax-free when you use the monies to pay for qualified medical expenses. You can’t pay your high-deductible premiums with HSA funds. But once you reach Medicare age, you can use the withdrawals for Medicare premiums in addition to other qualified medical expenses.
- Retirement withdrawals. You can make your HSA work like a traditional IRA after reaching Medicare age. To make this happen, you just withdraw funds from the HSA and don’t use them for medical expenses. This triggers the federal income tax but no penalties.