Q: How high does my health insurance deductible need to be in 2019 for me to qualify for a health savings account, and how much can I contribute? If my employer adds $500 to my account, is that included in the HSA contribution limit?
4 things to know about your HSA
A: To qualify to contribute to a health savings account in 2019, you must have a health insurance policy with a deductible of at least $1,350 for single coverage or $2,700 for family coverage (the same requirement as in 2018). You can contribute up to $3,500 to an HSA if you have single coverage or up to $7,000 for family coverage in 2019, which is slightly more than the 2018 limits. If you’re 55 or older anytime in 2019, you’ll continue to be able to contribute an extra $1,000.
Any amount your employer puts into your HSA counts toward the contribution maximum. So if you have family coverage and your employer adds $500 to your account, you’ll be able to contribute the remaining $6,500 for the year, says Steve Christenson, executive vice president of Ascensus, which educates employers and consumers about HSAs.
Anyone who has an HSA-eligible health insurance policy can contribute to an HSA, whether they get insurance through their employer or on their own. (You cannot contribute to an HSA after you enroll in Medicare, however.) To make sure your policy is HSA-eligible, ask the insurer before buying it. “It is not always easy to tell whether your plan makes you eligible to contribute to an HSA,” says Roy Ramthun, president of HSA Consulting Services. “You should always ask to be certain.”
In addition to the deductible limit requirements—at least $1,350 for single coverage, $2,700 for families—an HSA-eligible policy must meet other criteria. For instance:
- The deductible must be applied to all in-network covered benefits, including prescription drugs. (The only exception is preventive care, which can be provided without paying the deductible first, says Ramthun.)
- The plan must also have an annual limit on out-of-pocket expenses—not including premiums—that cannot be more than $6,750 for single coverage in 2019, or $13,500 for family coverage.
- All deductibles, co-pays and coinsurance for in-network covered benefits must count toward the policy’s out-of-pocket limits, Ramthun says.
- Be aware that the out-of-pocket spending limits to be eligible for an HSA are lower than the limits required for health insurance policies by the Affordable Care Act. “So all HSA-qualified plans meet the ACA requirements, but not all ACA-qualified plans meet the HSA requirements,” he says.
The House of Representatives passed two bills in July that would raise HSA contribution limits to the same amount as the out-of-pocket spending cap, as well as make other changes to HSAs for 2019. Neither bill has been passed by the Senate.
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