Health Savings Account Pro and Cons

On December 8, 2003, a Medicare bill was signed that provides individuals the opportunity to save for future qualified medical and retiree health expenses tax-free. Below are Health Savings Account Pro and Cons and frequently asked questions.

What are the Health Savings Account pro and cons?

Who is eligible for a Health Savings Account (HSA)?

If you are covered by a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) and you are not covered by other health insurance that is not an HDHP you are probably eligible to open a Health Saving Account (HSA).

How do I know if my Health Insurance Policy is a HDHP?

Check with your insurance carrier. They should know which policies comply with the federal regulations for High Deductible Health Plans and Health Savings Accounts.

Can any bank handle a health savings account?

No, only a few banks currently offer Health Savings Accounts.

What happens to my money when I turn 65?

The money in your Health Savings Account can be used for medical expenses, tax-free, until you are 65 years old. Once you turn 65, you can continue to use your money for health expenses tax-free, or you can use your money without penalty for other items and pay income tax on the amount withdrawn.

If you use the money in your Health Savings Account for non-health related items prior to 65, there is a 10% tax penalty.

How much can I contribute to my Health Savings Account each year?

You can contribute the amount of your deductible each year to a maximum of $3000 for single coverage and $5,950 for family coverage in 2009. If you are over 55 years old, an additional "catch-up" contribution can be made.

How do I decide if a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) and a Health Saving Account (HSA) is right for me?

Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you decide:

Where can I learn more about Health Savings Accounts?

For details regarding Health Savings Accounts, visit the official government site for Health Savings Accounts.