by WEX Health
How much should you contribute to your health savings account? The short answer is that you should contribute the maximum prorated amount allowed by the IRS, if that’s financially viable for you.
As of 2020, you can contribute a maximum of $3,550 to your individual HSA (about $295/month) or $7,100 to your family HSA (about $591/month). Starting the calendar year in which you turn 55, you get to contribute an extra $1,000 annually for a total of $4,550 on an individual plan or $8,100 on a family plan—these are called “catch-up contributions.”
Of course, monthly cash flow is a valid concern for most people. If you’re uncomfortable contributing the IRS’s maximum amount to your HSA through pre-tax payroll contributions, it’s still to your advantage to have an HSA and contribute the maximum amount that you are comfortable with.
Contributing $3,550 or $7,100 annually to an HSA may at first sound unimaginable. But when you consider that an HSA is only offered with a consumer-directed health plan (CDHP), which translates to lower monthly premiums, you’ll see that you have more funds available to save, which makes a higher HSA contribution realistic. And, with money tucked away in an HSA account, the higher deductible that also comes with a CDHP can be as manageable—if not more so—than a traditional low-deductible plan.
Why should I deposit the maximum amount into my HSA?
HSA holders are advised to deposit the maximum amount each year because the dollars going into these accounts have a “triple tax” advantage:
- Contributions made to the HSA are not taxed. Before income tax is assessed, your monthly HSA contribution gets taken out of your pay and put into an HSA account.
- When you use HSA funds for qualified medical expenses, today or at any point in the future, those withdrawals are not taxed. (Conversely, until you turn 59.5, withdrawals from your 401(k) will be subject to both income tax and a 10 percent penalty.)
- Earnings on interest and investment gains are not taxed.
- Note: You can also contribute to your HSA with money you’ve already been taxed on; if this is the case, you will claim your tax savings on these dollars in the form of deductions when you file your annual taxes.
Plus, your HSA balance rolls over every year! It can be taken with you from job to job and into retirement, which empowers you to save long-term for future medical expenses. The importance of building long-term savings is evident in this estimate from HealthViewServices: A 65-year-old couple in good health retiring in 2019 will need $387,644 to pay for healthcare costs for the remainder of their lives. As this figure only continues to rise each year, one can only imagine how staggering it will be for those who will be retiring a few decades from now.
Need help determining how much you should set aside in your HSA each month to reach your retirement savings goal? WEX Health provides a free HSA Goal Calculator to help you determine the right amount for you with consideration to your health plan coverage type, deductible amount, number of years before retirement, monthly healthcare expense and more.
For other tips to help you get the most out of your HSA, follow #LoveMyHSA on social media, and register for the free National HSA Awareness Day broadcast on www.HSAday.com.