Keep reading to learn why I believe having an HSA account is as necessary as having a checking account.
First let me start by saying we accept Health Savings Accounts (HSA cards), and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA cards) for all of our treatments, gift certificate and retail product purchases here at Affordable Spa. You can receive the treatments you need and pay for them with pre taxable income.
For clarity, I have included the definitions of FSA and HSA below as defined by Wikipedia:
HSA- A health savings account (HSA) is a tax-advantaged medical savings account available to taxpayers in the United States who are enrolled in a high-deductible health plan (HDHP). The funds contributed to an account are not subject to federal income tax at the time of deposit. Unlike a flexible spending account (FSA), HSA funds roll over and accumulate year to year if they are not spent. HSAs are owned by the individual, which differentiates them from company-owned Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRA) that are an alternate tax-deductible source of funds paired with either high-deductible health plans or standard health plans.
HSA funds may be used to pay for qualified medical expenses at any time without federal tax liability or penalty. Beginning in early 2011 over-the-counter medications cannot be paid with an HSA without a doctor’s prescription. Withdrawals for non-medical expenses are treated very similarly to those in an individual retirement account (IRA) in that they may provide tax advantages if taken after retirement age, and they incur penalties if taken earlier. The accounts are a component of consumer-driven health care.
FSA- A flexible spending account (FSA), also known as a flexible spending arrangement, is one of a number of tax-advantaged financial accounts, resulting in payroll tax savings Before the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, one significant disadvantage to using an FSA was that funds not used by the end of the plan year were forfeited to the employer, known as the “use it or lose it” rule. Under the terms of the Affordable Care Act, a plan may permit an employee to carry over up to $500 into the following year without losing the funds.
Sarah Mancuso Fox of Sarah A Fox, CPA says “ HSA accounts are one of the BEST tax saving tools!
In my opinion, the only disadvantage is that your health plan must be a high deductible plan!”
What I find in my practice is that many of my clients may have an HSA available with their health plan however it may not have been set up, because it was never explained to them by their companies HR department or because they were unaware that it can be used to pay for alternative therapies such as massage therapy, advanced skin care or natural health treatments such as nutritional guidance, yoni steams, or ear candling. It is important that I try to educate folks I meet in and outside of work particularly self employed individuals on this important resource. I was recently at my bank and saw a sign hanging in the window about HSA accounts, up until that moment I had not realized that you could simply open an HSA account at your bank like a checking account, I always thought if your employer did not offer this you could not have one.
So I’ve compiled a list below of fast facts to help you make use of this valuable tax savings tool:
- You can open your own HSA account even if your employer doesn’t offer this benefit. Talk to your bank to determine your eligibility.
- You contribute pre taxable income into the account, which can be used for medical expenses and holistic treatments.
- Some employers offer HSA accounts and they even contribute funds to them for their employees. Talk to your HR department to learn more. If you are self employed, chat with your CPA, or your banker.
- HSA cards can be spent on vitamins, holistic treatments, massage therapy, skin care, massage and skincare products, chiropractic, acupuncture. Talk to your HSA account provider for specifics on what your card covers. If your needs are different than what is offered, check with a different bank to see if they have different options.
- There are restrictions as to who can have an HSA account based on the terms of your health insurance plan, so talk to your CPA to determine what’s best for you!
Anne Biedrycki from Benefinder says: “BeneFinder offers HSA compatible health insurance plans. Many people do not know the pre-tax benefits of such plans. HSA funds can be used towards any IRS qualified medical, vision, or dental expenses. Not all HSA plans have high deductibles, but these types of plans do not offer co-pays. Many people enroll in an HSA qualified plan, but do not know what an HSA is or never set up or contribute to an HSA. 2020 HSA contribution limits are $3550 for an individual, and $7100 for a family. Setting up an HSA with your bank and using those pre-tax dollars can offer consumers substantial savings!”
Ultimately I would like your take away from his to be realizing you can afford to treat yourself to the massage, facial or natural health treatment you deserve, and you have other options to help you budget this, and you should take the time to chat with the specialists you trust to determine the best way for you to do this, such as; your banker, your financial planner, your CPA, your HR department or benefits specialist.
To your wellness!