fbpx

New Health Savings Account, HDHP limits for 2020

The IRS has announced new health savings account contribution maximums for the 2020 health insurance plan year.

Employees who have an HSA linked to a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) will be able to contribute to their HSA up to a certain level to help pay for health care and pharmaceutical expenses.

Funds going into your employees’ HSA accounts are deducted before taxes during each paycheck and the balance can carried over from year to year.

Many HSAs also allow employees to invest the funds like they would with a 401(k). Because of this, HSAs have become a savings vehicle of sorts for people who are saving for health care expenses they are expecting in retirement.

HSAs can only be offered with an attached HDHP.

If you as an employer also contribute or partially match your employees’ contributions, they benefit even more, especially when compounding investment returns build up in the long term.

The IRS adjusts contribution limits for HSAs yearly based on inflation. For 2020, those limits will be:

  • $3,550 for individual coverage under an attached HDHP (up $50 from 2019).
  • $7,100 for family coverage (up $100 from 2019).

Also, remember that individuals who are 55 or older can make an additional $1,000 in catch-up contributions.

Besides the contribution maximum increasing, the deductible requirement for an attached HDHP will also climb for 2020:

  • For individual HDHPs, the deductible amount must be between $1,400 and $6,900. That’s compared with $1,350 and $6,750 in 2019.
  • For families, the range is $2,800 to $13,800. That’s up from $2,700 and $13,600 in 2019.

Long-term benefits

One of the best benefits from an HSA is the long-term advantage of being able to carry over balances year after year and let it build up for medical expenses in retirement. But, one of the key points that your employees should know is that if they use the funds in their HSAs for purposes other than qualified medical expenses, they have to pay a 20% penalty.

The website Investopedia recommends that your employees:

  • Max out their HSA contribution each year. If they do so, the amount they can save over the long term only grows through compounding.
  • Hold off on spending contributions now, and try to not use HSA funds for current medical expenses.
  • Make sure they only use the money for qualified medical expenses, so they don’t have to pay penalties of 20% plus regular income tax on their withdrawals.
  • Invest contributions for the long run. For example, if you’re currently invested in a mix of 80% stocks and 20% bonds, you should probably invest your HSA that way, too.
  • Use the account once they’re 65 or older. An added benefit to waiting until you’re at least 65 to spend your HSA balance is that the 20% penalty for withdrawing funds for purposes other than qualified medical expenses doesn’t apply. But, you will have to pay income tax if you don’t use the funds for qualified medical expenses.

Few Employees Get the Most out of Their Health Savings Accounts

While many health benefits advisers have been recommending that employees with health savings accounts use them as savings vehicles that can be tapped for future medical care, a new study finds that most people are spending the bulk of the funds.

The study by Willis Towers Watson found that 65% of workers were using their HSAs to pay for current medical expenses, and only 8% of them used them as savings vehicles for future medical expenses. The rest used their accounts only when necessary, and saved the remainder.

In short, many people are not taking full advantage of these plans. But all is not lost, with our help you can educate your staff who have HSAs on how to get the most out of them and also secure a more secure future for themselves when they will at some point need the money for medical procedures.

The study found that only 45% of employees surveyed had more than $5,000 stashed away in their HSA. So, in essence they are mostly being used as spending accounts.

Additionally, the study found that 45% of employees had chosen not to participate in their employer’s HSA plan.

One issue that’s confronting employees with HSA and 401(k) plans is deciding how much to allocate for each one. The study found that:

  • 22% of financially adept employees followed the recommended strategy of maximizing their 401(k) contributions up to their company’s match before contributing to their HSA.
  • 25% contributed to their HSA before their 401(k) if the 401(k) didn’t have a matching employer contribution, a strategy also recommended by financial experts.

 

FSAs also not optimized

Another area where a majority of employees fail to optimize their savings vehicles is flexible spending accounts. FSAs have a “use it or lose it” feature, meaning that most of the funds set aside have to be spent on medical expenses during the year, although a portion can be carried over to the next year.

Still, 32% said they had difficulties in spending all of the money in their FSA in any given year. On the flip side, 48% said they wished they had put more money into the account.

Both FSAs and HSAs are funded with pre-tax dollars from the employees’ salaries.

 

The takeaway

Willis Towers Watson recommends that employers educate their staff on how to get the most mileage out of their HSAs and provide online tools to help them decide if they should use their HSAs to pay for medical expenses or pay them out of pocket.

These online tools for making “save versus spend” decisions will often be on the HSA account’s portal or website. The tools may include retirement savings calculators and health care price transparency services.

The tools are most valuable as they can quickly help employees make sound and educated decisions. It’s been found in previous studies that one-third of employees access their HSA portals on a regular basis:

  • 38% view their account information on a monthly basis
  • 33% view their account information on a quarterly basis.

Malcare WordPress Security