Now is the time of year when a lot of employers will have their staff review their medical benefit options and make changes based on their families’ needs.
If you plan to have LASIK, and you have the option of putting funds into a Health Savings Account (HSA), you could save yourself some money when you pay for your procedure.
What is an HSA?
An HSA is a savings account for health-related expenses, like LASIK eye surgery.
People who are eligible for HSAs are people with high deductible health plans (HDHP). According to 2020 regulations, an HDHP is a plan with a minimum annual deductible of $1,400 for individuals, and $2,800 for families. It also has to have a maximum annual out-of-pocket expense of $6900 for individuals and $13,800 for families.
How Much Can You Contribute?
You can put away up to the annual maximum amount as determined by the Internal Revenue Service. The maximum contribution amounts for 2020 are $3550 for self-only and $7100 for families.
The annual “catch-up” contribution amount for individuals age 55 or older is $1000. A catch-up contribution is a little “extra” that you can add to your HSA if you are 55 or older. Keep in mind that you can’t contribute to an HSA if you are on Medicare.
Tax Benefits of an HSA
HSA deductions are tax-free contributions. Most employers offer payroll deduction contributions to your HSA.
If you happen to be self-employed, or your employer doesn’t offer an HSA, you can set up an HSA and make deposits to it and claim them as tax deductions.
In addition to your HSA deductions being tax-free, the interest you earn on your HSA in Ohio is also tax-free. This can vary from state to state.
If you would happen to over contribute, you’ll pay a 6% tax on the excess amount.
Your employer’s contribution to your HSA counts towards your limit.
What Can You Use an HSA for?
The IRS determines what qualifies as a medical expense that you can use your HSA for.
You can use your account for LASIK, PRK, or SMILE for starters, but that’s not all. You can use your HSA for acupuncture, dental expenses, hearing aids, and vasectomies. You can visit IRS.gov, publication 502, and 969.
You can’t use your HSA for babysitting, cosmetic surgery (unless it’s due to trauma or disease), or swimming lessons.
How Do You Pay Using Your HSA Dollars?
There are a couple of ways to pay for your qualified expenses. Most HSAs will present you with a debit card that can be used to make payment. Keep in mind that some debit cards have limits as to how much can be spent in one transaction. If you are spending more than the pre-determined limit, you can call the bank who sponsors the debit card in advance to have the limit increased for your transaction.
If you are using your HSA in combination with health insurance, you can present your Medical ID card at your appointment. The provider will bill your health plan, and your claim will be processed. You’ll receive an Explanation of Benefits in the mail.
When you receive a bill, you can use your HSA to make payment for your out-of-pocket expense.