A Health Savings Account (HSA) in its simplest form is a bank account and makes available the standard conveniences you would expect with a bank account. For accounts activated through BNY Mellon a debit card will be issued along with a checkbook (requires submission of an account signature card); online check payment functionality is also available. Note that services may differ if you use another financial institution’s HSA product.
You as the account holder control the flow of money going into and out of the account. To be eligible to set up a HSA and to make annual contributions, you must be covered by a qualified High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) and meet other eligibility requirements defined by the Internal Revenue Service.
Using Your HSA Funds
You may choose not to spend your HSA dollars on small expenses, instead using after-tax dollars to meet these expenses, and leaving your HSA dollars to grow for future needs. Choosing the expenses on which to spend your HSA dollars and which to pay out-of-pocket with after-tax dollars is entirely up to you. HSA distributions are tax-free if they are used to pay for qualified health care expenses.
"Use It or Lose It" Rule Does Not Apply
Unused HSA dollars roll over from year to year, making HSAs a convenient and easy way to save and invest for future medical expenses. You own your HSA at all times and can take it with you when you change medical plans, change jobs or retire. This means the funds in the account are non-forfeitable and portable.
Your HSA Can Be A Long Term Investment
Funds in the account not needed for near term expenses may be invested, providing the opportunity for funds to grow. Investment options include money market accounts, mutual funds, etc.; check with your financial institution for details.
Financial institutions may charge account set-up and monthly maintenance fees for their HSA products. As part of the payroll deduction contribution arrangement with BNY Mellon the university will pay the account set-up fee and monthly maintenance fees during 2012 while you remain actively employed. Other fees are the responsibility of the account holder and may include charges for replacement/additional debit cards or reorder of checks. IRS rules consider any banking fees deducted from your account to be allowable distributions. These charges are paid tax-free.
Because a HSA is considered an individual account, only one person can be named the account owner. Thus a jointly-owned HSA is not available. If both you and your spouse have qualified HDHP coverage and you both want to make contributions to an HSA, you must each have your own account. If both you and your spouse have family coverage under qualified High Deductible Health Plans, the tax-deductible HSA contribution (including employer contributions) that may be made to both accounts is limited to a single IRS maximum contribution for family coverage. In 2012 that amount is $6,250. This contribution can be divided between you and your spouse however you wish. If you and/or your spouse are eligible to make catch-up contributions, you may each contribute your eligible catch-up contribution to your individual HSA. In 2012 the catch-up contribution amount is $1,000.
The IRS does not consider a domestic partner a spouse, regardless of any state law exceptions. Unless your domestic partner qualifies as your dependent under the federal tax laws you cannot withdraw funds tax-free to pay for your domestic partner's qualified health care expenses. However, if you are enrolled in a family HDHP that covers your domestic partner and your domestic partner satisfies the other HSA eligibility rules, the domestic partner may be able to establish and contribute to his/her own HSA. You should consult with your personal tax advisor to assess the application of these rules to your personal tax situation.
More information about HSAs is available by navigating through the above sections. Internal Revenue Service guidance on HSAs is available in IRS Publication 969 . BNY Mellon has a list of HSA Frequently Asked Questions too. Please contact Benefits Administration at 368.6781 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions or need assistance.