Understanding your health savings account (HSA)

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If you enrolled in the Healthy Savings Plan for your medical insurance, you may be eligible to enroll in a health savings account (HSA). An HSA allows both you and/or the university to contribute to a tax-favored account that can be used for health care expenses. To be eligible for an HSA:

  • You may not be covered by another health plan (including Medicare).
  • You may not be claimed as a dependent on someone else's tax return.
  • You, or your spouse, may not be enrolled in a general-purpose Health Care Flexible Spending Account.

If you are an active faculty or staff member (as opposed to a retiree), the university contributes annual seed money to your HSA in one lump sum. The amount is determined by your HSA enrollment date, per the table below. You are not required to contribute any funds in order to receive the university's seed money. However, you do have to complete HSA enrollment with the account administrator in order to receive the seed money. Find the form in the forms and guides section on this webpage.

Starting in the 2017 plan year, retirees will not enroll in an HSA through the university. Any retiree who meets the eligibility criteria described above may enroll in an individual HSA.  If you’d like to open an individual HSA with Optum Bank, visit the plan contacts webpage to locate contact information for Optum Bank. Since your HSA will not be a university-sponsored group HSA, you will be responsible for any fees associated with the account.

How to enroll

For employees: Once you enroll in the Healthy Savings Plan and elect an HSA, the university alerts the account administrator that you have enrolled in the HSA. The account administrator will mail an HSA welcome packet to you. Your HSA administrator will send your welcome packet and debit card in separate envelopes. Employees who were enrolled in a university HSA in previous years do not receive a new welcome packet.

For retirees: Once you enroll in the Healthy Savings Plan, contact Optum Bank directly to set up your individual HSA. Contact information on the plan contacts webpage.  If you are a new retiree and are currently in an HSA as an active employee, you will keep your same account, but it will be changed to an individual HSA rather than the university-sponsored group HSA.

In order to comply with the USA PATRIOT Act, the account administrator is required to verify the identity of each HSA account holder. Please be aware that you must complete the screening process, also known as “vetting”, before your account can be opened.  If you do not pass the screening process, the account administrator will contact you requesting additional information.  If you do not provide the requested information within 75 days your HSA election will be cancelled and you will not receive the university's contribution.

University contributions to your HSA

HSA contributions are limited by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and pertain to both your contribution and the university's contribution. University contributions are made for employee accounts only; the university does not contribute to retiree HSAs. In 2017, the HSA contribution limit is $3,400 for an individual or $6,750 for a family. (2016 limits were $3,350 for an individual or $6,750 for a family.) If you are 55 years old or older, the IRS allows you to contribute an additional $1,000 under a catch-up provision.

  2017 Rates
HSA Enrollment Date Self Self & Spouse Self & Child(ren) Self, Spouse & Child(ren)
Jan 1- Mar 31 $400 $800 $800 $1,200
   ... meaning the IRS limit allows you to contribute an additional: $3,000 $5,950 $5,950 $5,550
April 1- June 30 $265 $535 $535 $800
   ... meaning the IRS limit allows you to contribute an additional: $3,135 $6,215 $6,215 $5,950
July 1- Sept 30 $135 $265 $265 $400
   ... meaning the IRS limit allows you to contribute an additional: $3,265 $6,485 $6,485 $6,350
Oct 1 - Dec 31 $0 $0 $0 $0
   ... meaning the IRS limit allows you to contribute an additional: $3,400 $6,750 $6,750 $6,750


If you are changing from an FSA to an HSA

If you were enrolled in an FSA in one calendar year (let's call it Year One) and will be enrolled in an HSA in the next calendar year (Year Two), you will need to take special action. In order to make or receive HSA contributions at the beginning of Year Two, your previously held Health Care FSA account must have a zero balance before the end of Year One. That means you should submit claims for eligible healthcare expenses by December 24 for those claims to be processed before the end of Year One.

View your HSA balance and activity

You can view your HSA balance, check that your university contribution has been deposited, and see your transactions by creating an online HSA account with the administrator. To find your HSA administrator, click the "plan contacts" button at the top of this webpage. For new HSA enrollees, the welcome packet sent to you by the HSA administrator will provide instructions for establishing your online account.

For employees (as opposed to a retiree), once you have been enrolled in your HSA for 30 days, the university will deposit your seed money into your HSA within 7-14 days. Those who enroll during annual enrollment can expect to receive the funds in the third or fourth week of January. Any funds that you have elected to contribute through pre-tax payroll deduction will be deposited into your HSA within 5-7 days of your paycheck date.

Change your contributions

If you are an employee, you may change your pre-tax payroll contribution amount at any time during the year by completing and returning the HSA enrollment/change form. Find the form in the forms and guides section on this webpage.

If you are a retiree, you will make your contributions directly to your HSA plan administrator.

Retaining ownership of your HSA

The minute money is deposited in your HSA, it is yours to keep forever. There are no requirements to use your HSA funds by the end of each year (unlike a flexible spending account, in which funds must be spent by the end of each year). Furthermore, your HSA stays with you even if you separate from the university. And even if you are no longer eligible to contribute to your HSA, you can still use the funds that are in it. For example, individuals covered by Medicare may not contribute to an HSA, but they can use funds from an HSA that they had in years prior to enrolling in Medicare.

Receive your reimbursements

You can decide how to utilize your account funds. You may use your debit card to pay for eligible expenses, or authorize Optum Bank to pay for eligible expenses automatically when your claims are processed. You may also reimburse yourself from your HSA for any personal funds you spent on eligible expenses.

Your HSA funds may be used to pay for all IRS Section 213(d) expenses including:

  • Medical
  • Prescription drugs
  • Dental
  • Vision

While the university HSA contribution may be earned only by the primary subscriber to the Healthy Savings Plan, it can be used for any qualifying member of the subscriber's family.

Forms and guides
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Reviewed October 13, 2016.