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One Way to Save for Future Healthcare Costs

When many investors save for retirement, we think of being able to afford our future living and traveling expenses. It’s also wise to consider our future healthcare costs.

One way to cover those future healthcare expenses is through a tax-advantaged retirement vehicle called a Health Savings Account (HSA). An HSA is a savings account and any money that is saved can be used for out-of-pocket medical, dental and vision expenses.

To qualify for an HSA, you must have a high-deductible health plan with a deductible of at least $1,350 for individual coverage and $2,700 for families and a maximum limit on out-of-pocket expenses. For 2018, the maximum annual out-of-pocket costs are $6,650 for individuals and $13,300 for families. Once this limit is reached, the health plan is required to pay 100% of the cost of benefits covered for the remainder of the plan year.

How much can you contribute?

If your health plan fits that requirement, you can contribute up to $3,450 to an HSA and $6,900 for families in 2018. Similar to an IRA, there is a “catch-up” provision where account holders 55 and older can make an additional annual contribution of $1,000.

What are the advantages of an HSA?

An HSA was designed to work like retirement accounts such as an individual retirement account (IRA) or defined-contribution plans—with added tax benefits, including:

  1. Tax-deductible contributions
  2. Contributions and earnings grow tax-free
  3. A withdrawal is a non-taxable event if the distribution is applied to qualified medical expenses (qualified events can be defined as co-payments for doctor visits, hospital and dental care, prescription drugs or other IRS-approved expenses).

Can you use an HSA as a retirement-savings vehicle?

In addition to the attractive tax benefits, you can often invest your HSA funds in a wide range of investment options including mutual funds. You can choose to pay for medical expenses from your HSA account, or you can allow your funds to grow and take advantage of the tax benefits.

What if you need to make a withdrawal?

As long as the money is used for qualified medical expenses, HSA withdrawals can be made without a penalty and will be tax-free. Keep in mind that if you are under the age of 65, you will be subject to a 20% tax penalty if you make a withdrawal from your HSA for an unqualified medical expense. Rules are different for those over 65 years old.

Over a lifetime, medical bills can add up. With healthcare needs likely increasing in retirement, make sure you have considered how to fund your future healthcare costs in retirement. Even healthy people will have higher healthcare costs as they are generally expected to live longer.

Based on your individual situation, an HSA may make sense. You can discuss tax-advantaged HSAs as well as any retirement vehicle with a financial advisor at Jemma Financial.

The information in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute, and should not be construed as, professional, legal or tax advice. To determine your individual tax situation and specific needs, please consult a professional tax advisor.

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