It’s officially tax season, and that probably means you could use some good news. Well, we’ve got some! By setting up a health savings account, you can start saving pre-tax money to pay your medical expenses–including dental expenses!
…Alright, admittedly that isn’t really the sort of good news that pops off the page. But it’s very good news nonetheless. HSAs help you save money, take control of healthcare spending, and ensure you’re got funds in case of emergency. Here’s everything you should know about health savings accounts, how to get one, and why they’re good news.
What is an HSA?
An HSA, or Health Savings Account, is a tax-favored savings account created specifically to pay for medical expenses. HSAs are 100% pre-tax/tax-deductible, withdrawals you make from them to pay for medical expenses aren’t taxed, and any interest they accrue is tax-deferred. In other words, all money you deposit into an HSA account and withdraw to use for medical expenses goes to the actual medical expenses–not taxes.
You don’t have to forfeit unused money in your HSA at the end of each year. It continues to accrue tax-deferred interest you can use to pay for medical expenses. To summarize, HSAs are a means of saving and growing tax-free money to be used for medical expenses. They give you a means of paying for unexpected medical expenses, or for operations not traditionally covered by insurance–including dental work.
How do HSAs work?
HSAs can only be used in conjunction with a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP). An HDHP is almost any health plan with a deductible of at least $1,350 for an individual or $2,700 for a family. When you enroll for health plans, you can see if they’re “HSA-eligible”. If your plan is HSA-eligible, you can choose to set up an HSA at the same time you pay your taxes. You can also usually set up an HSA account separately through your bank.
Once you set up your HSA, you decide how much you want to deposit into it every year. You cannot exceed the federally-mandated maximum deposit, which as of 2018 is $3,450 for an individual and $6,850 for a family. Individuals older than 55 may contribute an additional $1000 per tax year. Then, when you pay for qualified medical expenses, out-of-pocket medical expenses, or deductibles, you can use the money in your HSA tax-free. Remember: you make these contributions pre-tax. If deducting this money from your income would lower your tax bracket or insurance premiums, the government taxes you at that new level.
What can you use your HSA for, specifically?
HSA funds can be withdrawn to pay for any “qualified medical expenses.” Qualified medical expenses are defined in IRS Publication 502 as “the costs of diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, and the costs for treatments affecting any part or function of the body. These expenses include payments for legal medical services rendered by physicians, surgeons, dentists, and other medical practitioners.” A full list of specific services considered qualified medical expenses is available online.
If you’re unsure whether or not your medical or dental expense qualifies, consult with your bank or tax advisor. Dental treatments are almost always considered IRS-qualified medical expenses.
How do I pay for my medical expenses using my HSA?
Don’t worry; this is the easy part. When you make an HSA, your insurance provider or financial institution will let you know how you use it. Either you’ll receive a debit card connected to the HSA, or you’ll pay yourself and submit receipts to your institution for reimbursement.
It’s important to make sure you can use your HSA account to pay for your medical expense before you charge it. Any charge to your HSA that isn’t qualified is subject to normal taxation and also incurs a 10% penalty. Ask your physician about HSA qualifications before when you schedule your appointment.
Does ImmediaDent work with HSAs?
Yes! In addition to our extensive in-network insurance dental plans, we’re happy to accept HSA payments. If you’re unsure whether your insurance companies’ HSA agreement covers your specific dental work, ask us!
With how tedious tax season tends to be, we understand the urge to just get it over with. No matter how tired of taxes you are, however, we recommend at least considering an HSA before you’re done. Saving money is always worth it, especially when you’re preparing for the future at the same time.
And while you’re being so proactive, why not schedule your next dental appointment with ImmediaDent? You can even give your new HSA a try. Enjoy your tax return!