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How to Get the Most From a Health Savings Account

Category: Finance

Accounts from Further, an account administrator formerly known as SelectAccount, and Bank of America were deemed “solid” choices for investors.

(The analysis didn’t include H.S.A.s from Fidelity because the company didn’t begin offering the accounts to individuals outside employer plans until Nov. 15, after the report was completed.)

Eric Remjeske, president of the H.S.A. research firm Devenir, said that it made sense to evaluate the costs of a plan, but that consumers should also consider what they were getting for the extra fees. Some higher-fee accounts, for instance, may offer more services, like the availability of “robo” advisers to help with investment selections.

Devenir offers, a tool that includes more than 500 accounts, to help consumers compare H.S.A.s.

Here are some questions and answers about health savings accounts:

How much can I contribute to an H.S.A. for 2018?

An individual can contribute up to $3,450 for 2018, while the limit for family coverage is $6,900. (Those limits will increase to $3,500 and $7,000 for 2019.) People 55 and older can contribute an extra $1,000. Contributions for this year can be made up until the tax filing deadline in April.

How do I know if my health plan is compatible with an H.S.A.?

Most plans that qualify to have a health savings account will be labeled “H.S.A. eligible.” If you’re not sure, ask the insurance company or your employer. For 2018, criteria include a deductible of at least $1,350 for an individual and $2,700 for a family. (Minimum deductibles won’t change in 2019, the Internal Revenue Service has said.)

What can I buy with my H.S.A.?

You can spend the money on a wide variety of “qualified” expenses, including doctor visits, eyeglasses, fertility treatment and drug addiction treatment. For a complete list, see I.R.S. Publication 502. Be sure to keep receipts, or benefit statements from your insurer, in case you have to document your spending, Mr. Fronstin said. If you spend the money on noneligible items, the withdrawal is taxed as income, plus a 20 percent penalty. (After you turn 65, the penalty goes away, and you’ll pay just income taxes on nonqualified withdrawals.)

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