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We've updated one of our most popular materials. See what's new in our guide to MERPs.

A Guide to Health Savings Accounts

HSA Rules and Requirements

This section outlines Health Saving Account rules and requirements.

HSA Eligibility

To be eligible for an HSA:

  • You must be covered under a high-deductible health plan (HDHP)

  • You must have no other health coverage except what is permitted by the IRS (see IRS Publication 969)

  • You must not be enrolled in Medicare

  • You must not be claimed as a dependent on someone else's most recent tax return.

2015 HSA Contribution Limitshealth_savings_accounts_rules_requirements

For calendar year 2015, the annual HSA contribution limits are:

  • Individuals (self-only coverage) - $3,350

  • Family coverage - $6,650

  • HSA “Catch Up Amount” if 55+ Years Old - $1,000

With an HSA, anyone can contribute (employer, individual, family member, etc). Once deposited, all HSA contributions belong to the individual, regardless of who made the contribution. As such, any distribution and/or removal of funds from the HSA has to be authorized by the individual (not the employer). Many other requests related to the account (such as a request for a new debit card or request for an address change) can only be made by the individual.

HDHP Minimum Required Deductibles

For calendar year 2015, the High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) required deductibles for an HSA are:

  • $1,300 for self-only coverage

  • $2,600 for family coverage

Out-of-Pocket Maximum

The annual out-of-pocket expenses include deductibles, co-payments, and other amounts, but not premiums. For calendar year 2015, the out-of-pocket maximums are:

  • $6,450 for self-only coverage

  • $12,900 for family coverage

Additional HSA Rules

In addition to the guidelines above, here are additional HSA rules:

  • Anyone may contribute to an HSA (ex: employer, employee, or third party)

  • HSA distributions are tax-free

  • HSA funds may be used on any unreimbursed medical care expenses as defined by the IRS (see Publication 502), and insurance premiums for unemployed individuals

  • HSA funds accumulate over time (they rollover year to year; they do not expire at the end of the year)

  • The individual (not the employer) owns the HSA, and has continued access to the HSA regardless of employment

  • Withdrawals for non-medical purposes are subject to income tax and a 20% penalty tax

  • Once the account holder reaches age 65 (Medicare eligibility age), becomes disabled, or dies, withdrawals for nonmedical purposes are subject to income tax only, with no penalty

These rules are outlined in IRS Publication 969.

Learn the differences between HSAs, HRAs, and FSAs