March 28, 2023

Understanding the Tax Implications of Healthcare Savings Plans

Understand your rights and liabilities to maximize savings on your health

Healthcare saving plans like Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) are a great method for individuals or families looking for a way to save on their medical bills as they offer a variety of tax benefits. But to make sure you are maximizing these savings, it is crucial to understand the tax implications of these saving plans.

What Are The Different Types of Healthcare Savings Plans?

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)

For those unfamiliar with the term, HSAs are tax-advantaged savings accounts that have been designed to assist people in setting aside money for their future medical expenses. Any contribution to a HSA is tax-deductible, which allows for tax-free earnings on the account. Withdrawals from a HSA for qualified healthcare expenses are also tax-free, which make HSAs a desirable choice for those looking to save on future healthcare expenses.

When enrolling in an HSA, you should always confirm that you are HSA-eligible because you can only contribute to said plan if you have a High Deductible Health Plan (a health plan that only covers preventative care before the deductible).

Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs)

Similar to HSAs, FSAs are tax-advantaged accounts set up via your existing employment that allow you to use tax-free money to pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses. Since contributions made to an FSA are already pre-taxed, you won't have to pay any additional taxes on the funds that you contribute to this account. While FSA withdrawals for qualified medical expenses are tax-free, it is crucial to remember that any unused funds in an FSA will be forfeited at the end of the year.

Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs)

Sometimes called Health Reimbursement Accounts, HRAs are employer-sponsored plans that allow employees to set aside pre-tax dollars through contributions and utilize said funds for qualified medical expenses. Withdrawals from HRAs are also tax-free for qualified medical expenses.

What Potential Tax Implications Should You Consider When Purchasing a Healthcare Savings Plan?

Tax Credits

Certain individuals or families may be qualified for tax credits to help them cover the cost of medical expenses. If a person has purchased health insurance and meets specific income requirements, they are eligible for the premium tax credit. Tax credits for healthcare expenses are also available for individuals and families paying high medical expenses.

Retirement Accounts

IRAs and 401(k)s are examples of retirement savings that can be utilized to cover medical costs. Tax-free withdrawals from these accounts are available for qualified medical costs, but it is important to remember that withdrawals made before the age of 59 and a half may be subject to penalties and taxes.

Limitations & Penalties

You should be aware that there are annual limits on the sum you can put into healthcare savings programs and withdrawals that are not used on a qualified healthcare expense is subject to taxes and a 20% penalty rate. For instance, the HSA contribution cap is $3,650 for single coverage and $7,300 for family coverage for the 2022 tax year. To guarantee that your withdrawals are tax-free, it is crucial to carefully analyze the constraints on what kinds of expenses are regarded as qualifying for tax-free withdrawals.

Regardless of what healthcare savings plan you decide to use and engage with, it is crucial to thoroughly weigh your alternatives and, if required, seek professional counsel. By making informed decisions with your healthcare savings, you can take charge of your finances and make sure that you are always ready for any unforeseen circumstances or costs to your health.