The Best HSA

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alter
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The Best HSA

Post by alter » Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:52 pm

I'm going to give you crazy Bogleheads a gift because I have gotten some useful information from your site before.

I'm not affiliated with anyone but myself but I am picky.

I'm a huge HSA fan. (Thank you GW Bush, credit given where due) The HDHP+HSA is the best thing that has ever happened to my health care(and even helps general retirement funds), and I truly believe, that it is the best health care plan in the world and I would not trade it for any other plan and I have run the numbers on it, but thats not what I'm posting about.

I've researched and tried multiple HSA providers in the past, including HSA bank when it was just starting out, and had a bad experience with them. More recently I was using Sterling HSA, which was much better but still heavy on fees.

Elements.org has the best HSA plan in existence that I have seen thus far. TD Ameritrade options like Sterling, but without the quarterly fees. Plus....and a very big plus, the ability to trade covered call options in the HSA, which is mostly unheard of in an HSA.

Also, have a 2,500 balance and you will pay zero maintenance fees for the HSA. In fact the balance in the savings will pay you a half percent, plus whatever you decide to invest in TD Ameritrade. This is by far the best and most maintenance free HSA plans I've ever seen.

It is literally a zero maintenance fee HSA provider plus all TD Ameritrade investment options (VOO, etc), provided you keep a 2,500 balance in savings earing a half percent. To me the holy grail of HSA's.

You are welcome, crazy Bogleheads.
Last edited by alter on Tue Feb 13, 2018 11:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

mpsz
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Re: The Best HSA

Post by mpsz » Tue Feb 13, 2018 10:51 pm

Don't they charge $25 each time you transfer funds from your HSA checking account to TD Ameritrade?

https://www.whitecoatinvestor.com/forum ... -hsa-fees/
https://www.hsasearch.com/hsa_providers ... financial/

alter
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Re: The Best HSA

Post by alter » Tue Feb 13, 2018 11:00 pm

Yes, they do. That is still lower than HSA bank or Sterling or almost every other HSA providers yearly fees though, and it won't be yearly, its only how often you want to transfer to the investment account. By all means, tell me if you have a better HSA option. I'd love to hear about it.

The point is this the HSA with the lowest fees and best options of any HSA provider, including all TD Ameritrade investments and no maintenance fees if with 2.5k savings. I would love to compare it to anyone elses HSA if you have a better one. I don't think anyone does.

mpsz
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Re: The Best HSA

Post by mpsz » Tue Feb 13, 2018 11:33 pm

As with many things, it depends on individual circumstances. I contribute to my employer's HSA plan and make an annual rollover to my personal HSA account for better investment options.

I am with HSA Bank. I have not had any negative experiences with them. I happily pay them $5.50/month = $66/year and leave between $0 - $70 in the cash account to cover the fees, but they do not require any cash balance.

Elements would cost me $25/year for the transfer, plus I would make $12.50/yr in interest on $2,500 at 0.5%. However, there is also the opportunity cost of leaving $2,500 in cash earning a relatively low interest rate.

For simplicity, I'll assume HSA Bank earns 0% (it basically does) and consider the cash drag to be $2,400 to account for the small cash balance I keep at HSA Bank. To determine the break-even, we can use:
$66 = $25.00 - $12.50 + (x * $2400)
x = 2.23%

So for an individual who uses their HSA as an investment account, if their investments earn 2.23% or more each year, they are better off at HSA Bank.

The new kid on the block is Lively for $30/yr and also has no minimum cash balance requirement.
$30 = $25.00 - $12.50 + (x * $2400)
x = 0.73%

That being said, I think Elements is a good option and I'm happy it works for you, but I don't think it's the clear winner. It's certainly not fee-free for many people. I can't speak to covered calls; I'm not sure if HSA Bank, Lively, or any of the other HSA providers offering TDA accounts offer this.

alter
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Re: The Best HSA

Post by alter » Tue Feb 13, 2018 11:54 pm

You've already proven that Elements is better. $66/ year for HSA Bank.

Elements with $2500 deposit = $12.5 interest $25 yearly transfer to investment account = $12.50 yearly fee with one transfer to investment account

These amounts are basically guaranteed, and the market does not affect them at all. I personally will not need to transfer to investment account every year so for me its more like $0 because I would transfer to the investment account every 2 years, making it $0 per year fees.

HSA bank definitely used to require a minimum balance to invest, even if thats not the case anymore, they are STILL way more expensive than Elements with fewer options.

Great, don't use the $2500 that is earning $12.50 per year as a factor, invest it instead in a bank that charges you $66/year. Invest it in something that can lose money. That is your choice. My bank charges me $0 in recurring fees and pays me interest, and allows me to sell covered call options every month generating income. HSA bank charging $66 per year guaranteed recurring fees is alot compared to my $0 recurring fees, with the added benefit of generating covered call income monthly. But to each his own.

Let me put it do you this way, in case you did not comprehend my arguments. Even if you had a zero dollar balance in Elements savings and used TD Ameritrade investments, its still cheaper than HSA Bank. $4/mo vs $5.50/mo. There is only one clear winner here. HSA Bank lost.
Last edited by alter on Wed Feb 14, 2018 12:40 am, edited 3 times in total.

athan
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Re: The Best HSA

Post by athan » Wed Feb 14, 2018 12:11 am

Just throwing it out there...I use BenefitWallet.

After a $1,000 minimum in banking account, you can invest in low cost Institutional Vanguard funds. The only fee I pay is $2.90 per month.

I am a big fan since this account is what got me started as a Boglehead. Back in 2013 I set up this account through an employer, and started researching investing in an HSA account. I randomly went down the list of funds offerred and saw the expense ratios. I must have been born part-boglehead, because I instinctively realized that the lower expenses made more sense.

I then googled Vanguard, and the result changed my life. I found bogleheads and started my road to financial success!

I will forever know that BenefitWallet is the real best HSA :P

alter
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Re: The Best HSA

Post by alter » Wed Feb 14, 2018 12:19 am

Sorry Athan, but $2.90 per month and no TD Ameritrade+covered call options isn't the best HSA.

2.9/mo = $34.80/year. With Elements I pay zero.

Just out of curiosity, what is the symbol of your Vanguard fund and it's expense ratio?

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Re: The Best HSA

Post by tfb » Wed Feb 14, 2018 1:37 am

alter wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:52 pm
I'm going to give you crazy Bogleheads a gift because I have gotten some useful information from your site before.
Crazy Bogleheads already knew it a long time ago. Here's a thread from 2014, before Elements was known as Elements. You can probably find even earlier threads. Only being better than HSA Bank doesn't make it the best HSA.

viewtopic.php?t=149588
Harry Sit, taking a break from the forums.

ivk5
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Re: The Best HSA

Post by ivk5 » Wed Feb 14, 2018 3:20 am

Best for you maybe. A search would have found lots of relevant "Best HSA" threads - no need for a new one and far from obvious that Elements is going to be "best" for most investors.

$2500 stuck at 0.5% is a lot of cash drag. Back of the napkin, at long term avg expected market return of 5.5%, opportunity cost may be on the order of ~$125/yr. Per-transfer fees kill flexibility.

I prefer Lively, $30/yr in fees with unlimited transfers to TD Ameritrade investment acct and no cash drag.

Others discussed here

wow!howmuch?
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Re: The Best HSA

Post by wow!howmuch? » Wed Feb 14, 2018 5:04 am

Due to advice from a great member on this board I switched from Select Account (1.15% interest that was NOT FDIC insured, $4 a month maint fees) to a great Credit Union Connexus with NCUA insured $2 a month maintain fee AND 2% interest on my over $15,000 balance. This is our “rollover” HSA that I just plan on having cash ready. My work HSA that I’m maxing for family is invested( and I like there fund options)


Best!? Who knows.....just having an HSA and putting money in it is doing better than most I bet.
"Gold is warm and contains something of the sun". --Saint Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179)

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jhfenton
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Re: The Best HSA

Post by jhfenton » Wed Feb 14, 2018 5:59 am

ivk5 wrote:
Wed Feb 14, 2018 3:20 am
Best for you maybe. A search would have found lots of relevant "Best HSA" threads - no need for a new one and far from obvious that Elements is going to be "best" for most investors.

$2500 stuck at 0.5% is a lot of cash drag. Back of the napkin, at long term avg expected market return of 5.5%, opportunity cost may be on the order of ~$125/yr. Per-transfer fees kill flexibility.

I prefer Lively, $30/yr in fees with unlimited transfers to TD Ameritrade investment acct and no cash drag.

Others discussed here
+1 In making comparisons, I assess a cash-drag cost equal to the difference with a typical bond fund, so 2.5% - 0.5% = 2% * $2,500 = $50. Add in the $25 transfer fee and you’re at $75 per year. Since I also do 4 transfers per year from my employer HSA, I’d also have to factor in either increased cash drag in my employer HSA from letting more cash accumulate or additional $25 transfer fees.

I’ll stick with $30 per year, period, at Lively, paid from outside the HSA to boot.

alter
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Re: The Best HSA

Post by alter » Wed Feb 14, 2018 11:47 am

ivk5 wrote:
Wed Feb 14, 2018 3:20 am
Best for you maybe. A search would have found lots of relevant "Best HSA" threads - no need for a new one and far from obvious that Elements is going to be "best" for most investors.

$2500 stuck at 0.5% is a lot of cash drag. Back of the napkin, at long term avg expected market return of 5.5%, opportunity cost may be on the order of ~$125/yr. Per-transfer fees kill flexibility.

I prefer Lively, $30/yr in fees with unlimited transfers to TD Ameritrade investment acct and no cash drag.

Others discussed here
I'll give you that $30/yr with unlimited transfers and if there are no quarterly TD Ameritrade fees, is pretty good, however, do they allow covered call selling?

Also that $30 fee is a guaranteed loss per year and a recurring fee. Still, that is not bad, if you are someone who doesn't want the $2500 only generating a riskless half percent and dont care about CC options.

I just prefer zero maintenance fees. Especially if one loses their job and/or retires early. No more money going in, so transfer fees don't matter as much, and one wants to cut recurring expenses down as small as possible. I just consider that $2500 like a "stable value fund" allocation of the HSA portfolio in exchange for the half percent interest on it along with no fees. Thanks for this info though!

jadedfalcons
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Re: The Best HSA

Post by jadedfalcons » Wed Feb 14, 2018 2:39 pm

Saturna allows me to make one trade a year for $14.95, no other fees. No cash drag. If I want to do a Vanguard fund, it's $24.95. Works great for my purposes.

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Re: The Best HSA

Post by jhfenton » Wed Feb 14, 2018 3:25 pm

alter wrote:
Wed Feb 14, 2018 11:47 am
I'll give you that $30/yr with unlimited transfers and if there are no quarterly TD Ameritrade fees, is pretty good, however, do they allow covered call selling?

Also that $30 fee is a guaranteed loss per year and a recurring fee. Still, that is not bad, if you are someone who doesn't want the $2500 only generating a riskless half percent and dont care about CC options.

I just prefer zero maintenance fees. Especially if one loses their job and/or retires early. No more money going in, so transfer fees don't matter as much, and one wants to cut recurring expenses down as small as possible. I just consider that $2500 like a "stable value fund" allocation of the HSA portfolio in exchange for the half percent interest on it along with no fees. Thanks for this info though!
I don't see any sign that you can apply to have the TD Ameritrade account approved for options. So I would say no on covered calls.

But I have no interest in selling covered calls in my HSA. It's only a $50K account at this point, a small percentage of our portfolio. If I wanted to hedge or generate income with options, I would do it in our much larger accounts.

I agree with you on recurring fees, but $2,500 kept in cash at a below-market 0.5% rate is a recurring fee. Even compared to a riskless high-yield savings account at 1.5%, you're sacrificing $2,500 x (1.5% - 0.5%) = $25 for the privilege of the investing the rest of your money. And in my retirement accounts, I would not choose high-yield savings. So my basis for comparison would be a 2.0-2.5% treasury fund yield.

I'm happy you have found an option that works for you.

alter
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Re: The Best HSA

Post by alter » Wed Feb 14, 2018 3:31 pm

jhfenton wrote:
Wed Feb 14, 2018 3:25 pm
alter wrote:
Wed Feb 14, 2018 11:47 am
I'll give you that $30/yr with unlimited transfers and if there are no quarterly TD Ameritrade fees, is pretty good, however, do they allow covered call selling?

Also that $30 fee is a guaranteed loss per year and a recurring fee. Still, that is not bad, if you are someone who doesn't want the $2500 only generating a riskless half percent and dont care about CC options.

I just prefer zero maintenance fees. Especially if one loses their job and/or retires early. No more money going in, so transfer fees don't matter as much, and one wants to cut recurring expenses down as small as possible. I just consider that $2500 like a "stable value fund" allocation of the HSA portfolio in exchange for the half percent interest on it along with no fees. Thanks for this info though!
I don't see any sign that you can apply to have the TD Ameritrade account approved for options. So I would say no on covered calls.

But I have no interest in selling covered calls in my HSA. It's only a $50K account at this point, a small percentage of our portfolio. If I wanted to hedge or generate income with options, I would do it in our much larger accounts.

I agree with you on recurring fees, but $2,500 kept in cash at a below-market 0.5% rate is a recurring fee. Even compared to a riskless high-yield savings account at 1.5%, you're sacrificing $2,500 x (1.5% - 0.5%) = $25 for the privilege of the investing the rest of your money. And in my retirement accounts, I would not choose high-yield savings. So my basis for comparison would be a 2.0-2.5% treasury fund yield.

I'm happy you have found an option that works for you.
I actually still think Elements is the best, I'm a CC seller and the CC generates far more than the $2500 yielding 2%, or even if it yielded 8% (not having CC to me would be another recurring fee if I use your argument) , but I can see why some might find your provider good.

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cookymonster
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Re: The Best HSA

Post by cookymonster » Wed Feb 14, 2018 3:34 pm

jadedfalcons wrote:
Wed Feb 14, 2018 2:39 pm
Saturna allows me to make one trade a year for $14.95, no other fees. No cash drag. If I want to do a Vanguard fund, it's $24.95. Works great for my purposes.
It's even cheaper than that if you buy a NTF fund. I bought one with an ER of 0.21%. The higher ER means $6 in extra costs this year. No other fees or cash drag. When the balance builds up, I'll move it to a Vanguard or fidelity option.

Agree with others that the cash drag is a hidden fee.

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Re: The Best HSA

Post by TropikThunder » Wed Feb 14, 2018 8:39 pm

alter wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:52 pm
I'm going to give you crazy Bogleheads a gift because I have gotten some useful information from your site before.

I'm not affiliated with anyone but myself but I am picky.

I'm a huge HSA fan. (Thank you GW Bush, credit given where due) The HDHP+HSA is the best thing that has ever happened to my health care(and even helps general retirement funds), and I truly believe, that it is the best health care plan in the world and I would not trade it for any other plan and I have run the numbers on it, but thats not what I'm posting about.

I've researched and tried multiple HSA providers in the past, including HSA bank when it was just starting out, and had a bad experience with them. More recently I was using Sterling HSA, which was much better but still heavy on fees.

Elements.org has the best HSA plan in existence that I have seen thus far. TD Ameritrade options like Sterling, but without the quarterly fees. Plus....and a very big plus, the ability to trade covered call options in the HSA, which is mostly unheard of in an HSA.

Also, have a 2,500 balance and you will pay zero maintenance fees for the HSA. In fact the balance in the savings will pay you a half percent, plus whatever you decide to invest in TD Ameritrade. This is by far the best and most maintenance free HSA plans I've ever seen.

It is literally a zero maintenance fee HSA provider plus all TD Ameritrade investment options (VOO, etc), provided you keep a 2,500 balance in savings earing a half percent. To me the holy grail of HSA's.

You are welcome, crazy Bogleheads.
This thread reads like a used car sales pitch.

Elements: $0 maintenance fee if I hold $2,500 hostage in cash, earning $12.50 in interest. $25 per transfer to move money to TDA brokerage.
Lively: $30/yr maintenance fee, no hostage account, no transfer fee, same TDA brokerage.

I'll take Lively. The $2,500 that Elements would otherwise hold hostage will earn way more at TDA than the $30 Lively maintenance fee if I'm allowed to invest it. Plus, most people get monthly contributions to their HSA from their employer (plus add their own contributions by payroll deduction to save on FICA taxes) so the $25 transfer fee is a deal-breaker because the choice becomes either do multiple transfers (quarterly?) and pay $25 each time, OR park even more money in the cash account and do a transfer only once a year. Again, money lost to either higher fees ($25 each time?!?) or cash drag from waiting to transfer. And finally, I don't care in the slightest about not being able to write covered calls, and I highly doubt many others on this forum do either. So, clearly Elements.org is not the best HSA plan in existence, not even close.
Of course, that's my opinion, for my situation, YMMV. But I didn't start the "best ever" claims. :wink:

Oh, and VOO is not a commission-free ETF on TDA any more, so you left out the $6.95 trading fee for that.

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Re: The Best HSA

Post by athan » Wed Feb 14, 2018 9:32 pm

alter wrote:
Wed Feb 14, 2018 12:19 am
Sorry Athan, but $2.90 per month and no TD Ameritrade+covered call options isn't the best HSA.

2.9/mo = $34.80/year. With Elements I pay zero.

Just out of curiosity, what is the symbol of your Vanguard fund and it's expense ratio?
VITSX 0.04
VSMAX 0.06

TropikThunder
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Re: The Best HSA

Post by TropikThunder » Wed Feb 14, 2018 9:45 pm

alter wrote:
Wed Feb 14, 2018 12:19 am
With Elements I pay zero.
Look at it this way: one transfer per year is $25, which pro-rates to $2/month. That's not zero.

alter
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Re: The Best HSA

Post by alter » Thu Feb 15, 2018 12:13 am

TropikThunder wrote:
Wed Feb 14, 2018 9:45 pm
alter wrote:
Wed Feb 14, 2018 12:19 am
With Elements I pay zero.
Look at it this way: one transfer per year is $25, which pro-rates to $2/month. That's not zero.
It's zero recurring fees. And the 2500 balance pays for half of the transfer fee, I don't transfer every year, and I make FAR more selling CC's than the "cash-drag" costs me, so I guess I'll invent a new term here and say the "No-covered-call-drag" from not having the account, would cost me hundreds more than paying the transfer fee. My "No-covered-call" drag costs me a lot more than your "cash-drag" and transfer fee. Elements for the WIN :D

seawolf21
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Re: The Best HSA

Post by seawolf21 » Thu Feb 15, 2018 11:54 am

There is no “best” HSA as people have different needs.

Select account is only $1k minimum in HSA while the rest can go to Schwab account. Schwab commission is lower than TD for equity/ETF. No transfer fees. Select Account charges $12-$18 fee per year. On paper SelectAccount can charge up to $18 per year but in reality they’ve only charged $6 last full year. Schwab does not charge annual fees. If you are actively trading, the Schwab commission be lower than TD per trade.

Other people may want to transfer to brokerage several times per year. Lively and SelectAccount having no per transfer fee would cost less for them.

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Re: The Best HSA

Post by DDS » Mon Jul 23, 2018 10:39 am

Gonna resurrect this thread as I'm beginning to max out all of my retirement.

Have a profit sharing 401k through my company (I'm a new partner), we got HDHP HSA's for the partners this year.

Currently I max the 401k, max a backdoor Roth IRA, and am just doing general vanguard investments on a monthly basis. I just turned 33 but feel a little behind so I'm in full on catch up mode for retirement since going back to school in my late 20's killed any savings I had.

An HSA is basically just additional retirement for me so with that said what bank do people recommend? My insurance broker recommended HSA bank but they're usually working with employees and not people maxing out retirement. I can pay medical bills cash if need be.

What do people recommend in my situation? If it helps I do prefer to use one that couples with Vanguard so I don't have to start a Fidelity or whatever account.

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Re: The Best HSA

Post by FrugalProfessor » Mon Jul 23, 2018 11:08 am

cookymonster wrote:
Wed Feb 14, 2018 3:34 pm
jadedfalcons wrote:
Wed Feb 14, 2018 2:39 pm
Saturna allows me to make one trade a year for $14.95, no other fees. No cash drag. If I want to do a Vanguard fund, it's $24.95. Works great for my purposes.
It's even cheaper than that if you buy a NTF fund. I bought one with an ER of 0.21%. The higher ER means $6 in extra costs this year. No other fees or cash drag. When the balance builds up, I'll move it to a Vanguard or fidelity option.

Agree with others that the cash drag is a hidden fee.
+1 to Saturna. VTI ETF + dividend reinvestment = $15 + 4*$1 = $19/year in management fees. 0.04% ER.

Paperwork is a bit of a pain to set up initially, but after the initial hassle it has been smooth sailing.
I blog. Taxes are the lowest hanging source of alpha.

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Re: The Best HSA

Post by 47Percent » Mon Jul 23, 2018 11:26 am

Does anyone have any insight into why established houses like Schwab and Fidelity don't offer consumer HSA option?

I understand there are some compliance costs. But they have found a way to offer IRA's, 529s, UTMA's and ESA's..
Why not this?

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Re: The Best HSA

Post by jhfenton » Mon Jul 23, 2018 11:56 am

Lively. And I don't even consider it a close call any more. Their ease of setup, customer service, flexibility, zero cash drag, absence of hidden fees, and low fixed cost ($2.50/month from linked checking) make them a winner.

There are several threads on here about Lively, all with great experiences. The original Lively thread has a lot of information.

Somewhere in that thread I go through the math (for me), showing why Lively is by far the lowest-cost option once you consider cash drag and commissions. (Saturna also has a $75 account transfer fee to factor in.)
47Percent wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 11:26 am
Does anyone have any insight into why established houses like Schwab and Fidelity don't offer consumer HSA option?

I understand there are some compliance costs. But they have found a way to offer IRA's, 529s, UTMA's and ESA's..
Why not this?
I've never been happy with the answer--because I wanted something better--but I assume it's the size of the market. Most folks don't use HSAs the way many Bogleheads do. For most folks, HSAs are low-value, high-transaction bank accounts, so the big boys just aren't interested in individual HSA accounts. (I believe Fidelity does have an employer HSA offering.)

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Re: The Best HSA

Post by alter » Mon Jul 23, 2018 1:25 pm

DDS wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 10:39 am
Gonna resurrect this thread as I'm beginning to max out all of my retirement.

...

An HSA is basically just additional retirement for me so with that said what bank do people recommend? My insurance broker recommended HSA bank but they're usually working with employees and not people maxing out retirement. I can pay medical bills cash if need be.
Never go with HSA Bank....Choose either Lively (if you want simplicity and no required balance for investments and ability to pay the 2.50 monthly fee with non-hsa dollars)

OR

If selling covered call options is something you do, the only HSA i know of that supports this in a TD Ameritrade account is Elements. If you keep a $2,500 balance earning a half percent interest, there are zero monthly fees) The only fee to speak of is the $25 transfer to TD Ameritrade fee. Elements is by far the best choice for me, with me only needing to sell a single covered call to per year make up for the cash drag, and then some. I also do not want to pay $2.50 a month guaranteed for the next 30+ years so that's another bonus for me.

DDS
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Re: The Best HSA

Post by DDS » Thu Aug 09, 2018 7:54 am

alter wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 1:25 pm
DDS wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 10:39 am
Gonna resurrect this thread as I'm beginning to max out all of my retirement.

...

An HSA is basically just additional retirement for me so with that said what bank do people recommend? My insurance broker recommended HSA bank but they're usually working with employees and not people maxing out retirement. I can pay medical bills cash if need be.
Never go with HSA Bank....Choose either Lively (if you want simplicity and no required balance for investments and ability to pay the 2.50 monthly fee with non-hsa dollars)

OR

If selling covered call options is something you do, the only HSA i know of that supports this in a TD Ameritrade account is Elements. If you keep a $2,500 balance earning a half percent interest, there are zero monthly fees) The only fee to speak of is the $25 transfer to TD Ameritrade fee. Elements is by far the best choice for me, with me only needing to sell a single covered call to per year make up for the cash drag, and then some. I also do not want to pay $2.50 a month guaranteed for the next 30+ years so that's another bonus for me.
So if I do Lively I have to set up a TD Ameritrade account as well?

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Re: The Best HSA

Post by jhfenton » Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:18 am

DDS wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 7:54 am
So if I do Lively I have to set up a TD Ameritrade account as well?
Yes, but you set it up from inside your Lively account. Once it's set up, you can either access it through Lively via single sign-on, or log in to TD Ameritrade directly. I usually just log into TD Ameritrade directly. All of your HSA deposits and withdrawals have to go into and come out of the LIvely account.

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Re: The Best HSA

Post by ivk5 » Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:30 am

jhfenton wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:18 am
All of your HSA deposits and withdrawals have to go into and come out of the LIvely account
and then need to be transferred, manually through Lively's interface, to the TDA investment account (this is my one quibble with Lively- some automation here would be nice)

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jhfenton
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Re: The Best HSA

Post by jhfenton » Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:35 am

ivk5 wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:30 am
jhfenton wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:18 am
All of your HSA deposits and withdrawals have to go into and come out of the LIvely account
and then need to be transferred, manually through Lively's interface, to the TDA investment account (this is my one quibble with Lively- some automation here would be nice)
True. I don't so much care about automation as wishing it were a day faster. On the day Lively gets a transfer check from my employer-sponsored HSA custodian, I will get an email late in the evening. Let's say that's Tuesday evening. I'll see a pending deposit in my LIvely account, but I can't do anything with it yet. On Wednesday, I can log into Lively and transfer it to TD Ameritrade, but I can't invest with it yet. Finally, on Thursday, I can log into TD Ameritrade and invest with it.

But it's a nitpick borne out of my 21st century impatience. Overall, Lively has been great.

ivk5
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Re: The Best HSA

Post by ivk5 » Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:42 am

jhfenton wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:35 am
ivk5 wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:30 am
jhfenton wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:18 am
All of your HSA deposits and withdrawals have to go into and come out of the LIvely account
and then need to be transferred, manually through Lively's interface, to the TDA investment account (this is my one quibble with Lively- some automation here would be nice)
True. I don't so much care about automation as wishing it were a day faster. On the day Lively gets a transfer check from my employer-sponsored HSA custodian, I will get an email late in the evening. Let's say that's Tuesday evening. I'll see a pending deposit in my LIvely account, but I can't do anything with it yet. On Wednesday, I can log into Lively and transfer it to TD Ameritrade, but I can't invest with it yet. Finally, on Thursday, I can log into TD Ameritrade and invest with it.

But it's a nitpick borne out of my 21st century impatience. Overall, Lively has been great.
Since my HSA contributions are already manual, and the ETF purchase through TDA is manual in any case, it irks me that they've added an unnecessary third (for me) manual step in my workflow. They're still the best choice for me, and for many people in my opinion, but that's really more friction than there should be.

As it happens I've maxed my allowable contribution for 2018 and expect to be ineligible for at least the next two years. I'm sure the space will evolve before I get back in the game...

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jhfenton
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Re: The Best HSA

Post by jhfenton » Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:55 am

ivk5 wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:42 am
jhfenton wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:35 am
True. I don't so much care about automation as wishing it were a day faster. On the day Lively gets a transfer check from my employer-sponsored HSA custodian, I will get an email late in the evening. Let's say that's Tuesday evening. I'll see a pending deposit in my LIvely account, but I can't do anything with it yet. On Wednesday, I can log into Lively and transfer it to TD Ameritrade, but I can't invest with it yet. Finally, on Thursday, I can log into TD Ameritrade and invest with it.

But it's a nitpick borne out of my 21st century impatience. Overall, Lively has been great.
Since my HSA contributions are already manual, and the ETF purchase through TDA is manual in any case, it irks me that they've added an unnecessary third (for me) manual step in my workflow. They're still the best choice for me, and for many people in my opinion, but that's really more friction than there should be.

As it happens I've maxed my allowable contribution for 2018 and expect to be ineligible for at least the next two years. I'm sure the space will evolve before I get back in the game...
They certainly could set up an automatic sweep of any balance above a user-defined threshold to the linked TDA account.

Spirit Rider
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Re: The Best HSA

Post by Spirit Rider » Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:15 am

Wow. Somebody really has covered calls on the brain. I fail to see how they are even remotely necessary or even desired in an HSA of all places.

They are another form of market timing. Just another flawed speculation strategy, not investing.

DDS
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Re: The Best HSA

Post by DDS » Thu Aug 09, 2018 10:45 am

I guess one other caveat I should add is that I will just be doing a single lump sum into the HSA per year. I can afford to pay medical expenses if needed from cash and am self employed so matching and whatnot goes out the window. HSA is purely a retirement tax shelter in my mind.

At this point still best to use Lively or does it make more sense to go with something like Health Equity since it can tie directly into my Vanguard account? I'm not going to be trading options or anything. I just want ease of use with low fees.

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jhfenton
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Re: The Best HSA

Post by jhfenton » Thu Aug 09, 2018 11:24 am

DDS wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 10:45 am
I guess one other caveat I should add is that I will just be doing a single lump sum into the HSA per year. I can afford to pay medical expenses if needed from cash and am self employed so matching and whatnot goes out the window. HSA is purely a retirement tax shelter in my mind.

At this point still best to use Lively or does it make more sense to go with something like Health Equity since it can tie directly into my Vanguard account? I'm not going to be trading options or anything. I just want ease of use with low fees.
Health Equity offers Vanguard mutual funds, but I don't believe it ties directly into a Vanguard account in any other sense. It is also fairly expensive at $36/year plus 0.24% per year (0.02% per month), all fees charged inside the HSA. On a $50,000 HSA like mine, that would be $156/year.

Lively is $30/year charged outside the HSA. Period. You cannot get Vanguard mutual funds or commission-free Vanguard ETFs, but you can buy dirt cheap SPDR Core Portfolio ETFs commission-free through the linked TD Ameritrade account, as well as a few hundred other ETFs of varying relevance.

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wabbajack
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Re: The Best HSA

Post by wabbajack » Thu Aug 09, 2018 12:15 pm

I didn't know that HSA Bank had fees, but I googled it and sure enough there's a whole schedule on their website.

What I do know is that I haven't paid any fees (except when I ordered a checkbook) at least since the beginning of 2017. Does anyone know if this is because my HDHP and HSA is through my employer? I can confirm that I have moved money back and forth between my HSA and TD Ameritrade.

walkindude
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Re: The Best HSA

Post by walkindude » Thu Aug 09, 2018 12:29 pm

wabbajack wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 12:15 pm
I didn't know that HSA Bank had fees, but I googled it and sure enough there's a whole schedule on their website.

What I do know is that I haven't paid any fees (except when I ordered a checkbook) at least since the beginning of 2017. Does anyone know if this is because my HDHP and HSA is through my employer? I can confirm that I have moved money back and forth between my HSA and TD Ameritrade.
Might be because they waive the fees if you keep over $5k at HSA Bank, gaining very little interest.

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wabbajack
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Re: The Best HSA

Post by wabbajack » Thu Aug 09, 2018 12:31 pm

walkindude wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 12:29 pm
wabbajack wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 12:15 pm
I didn't know that HSA Bank had fees, but I googled it and sure enough there's a whole schedule on their website.

What I do know is that I haven't paid any fees (except when I ordered a checkbook) at least since the beginning of 2017. Does anyone know if this is because my HDHP and HSA is through my employer? I can confirm that I have moved money back and forth between my HSA and TD Ameritrade.
Might be because they waive the fees if you keep over $5k at HSA Bank, gaining very little interest.
I keep $2k in HSA Bank that is accessed via debit card. I keep another $10k in the linked TD Ameritrade account invested in some Vanguard bond index. Do you know if they look at the balance cumulatively that way?

walkindude
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Re: The Best HSA

Post by walkindude » Thu Aug 09, 2018 12:36 pm

wabbajack wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 12:31 pm
walkindude wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 12:29 pm
wabbajack wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 12:15 pm
I didn't know that HSA Bank had fees, but I googled it and sure enough there's a whole schedule on their website.

What I do know is that I haven't paid any fees (except when I ordered a checkbook) at least since the beginning of 2017. Does anyone know if this is because my HDHP and HSA is through my employer? I can confirm that I have moved money back and forth between my HSA and TD Ameritrade.
Might be because they waive the fees if you keep over $5k at HSA Bank, gaining very little interest.
I keep $2k in HSA Bank that is accessed via debit card. I keep another $10k in the linked TD Ameritrade account invested in some Vanguard bond index. Do you know if they look at the balance cumulatively that way?
No, pretty much positive you need to keep $5k at HSA Bank. Maybe your employer is paying the fees? Or HSA Bank hasn't caught up with you yet! I just always keep $5k at HSA Bank, so never get any fees charged. I know that throws away nearly $100 in interest, but I don't feel like the hassle of changing.

Angst
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Re: The Best HSA

Post by Angst » Thu Aug 09, 2018 12:43 pm

I've had my HSA account almost as long as they've been offered and I've been with 3 different providers over the years. Every time I changed them it was an improvement, but picking a different provider involved spending a LOT of time simply reading these threads and asking a few follow-up questions here and there.

For anyone who is simply using their HSA as the wonderful tax-sheltered investment vehicle that it is and paying for healthcare deductibles and expenses out of pocket and not their HSA, I believe that Lively is the best choice today. This is why I just finished transferring from HSA Bank to Lively.

Below is my post summarizing this transfer, from another thread:

Angst wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 1:37 pm
JustinR wrote:
Fri Jul 20, 2018 2:58 pm
Angst wrote:
Fri Jul 20, 2018 12:45 pm
I've decided to transfer my HSA Bank/TDA Brokerage HSA account to Lively.

[Snip...]

Yes, I've read through the big Lively thread as well:
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=228522
It's quite long but in all I read I didn't find my questions directly addressed. Thanks in advance!
Perhaps I should post this there too? Let's see what this thread turns up first...
You're correct about the process. This is the process in full:
  1. Establish new account at Lively. They will create TDA account #2 that goes along with it.
  2. Move all your cash funds sitting in HSA Bank to the investment account (TDA #1) first. This way all your funds will be in TDA before you transfer, and you don't have to do two separate transfers (cash funds and investment funds).
  3. Have Lively initiate an "in-kind transfer" from TDA 1 to TDA 2. TDA will simply move your investments from the old account to the new one without any transactions taking place.
  4. Your investments should now be at TDA 2.
  5. Have Lively initiate a transfer for any cash left at HSA Bank. (Skip this step if you did step #2 and your leftover balance is $0)
  6. Once that's done, you can close your HSA Bank account.
If you have any questions about the process, you can just email Lively and they'll hold your hand through the whole process.
My transfer's mostly complete now! Thank you for everyone's advice.

Last Wed, 8/1 I created my Lively acct online. Very easy to do. I only have (had) $6 in my HSA Bank cash balance so I just left it alone since the monthly $5.50 typically is drawn in the first week of the month and I wasn't going to worry about trying to dodge that for this month. I then created my Lively TDA acct online myself using the Lively links available for that.

Thu, 8/2 I text-chatted online w/ Lively and then they emailed me a pdf to fill out for transfer of my HSA Bank TDA acct to my new Lively TDA acct. I filled it out and took pics of it and of my last TDA statement and emailed them back to Lively, I think on Fri morning.

Today, Wed 8/8, my Lively TDA account has everything in it. EZPZ.

Not much left to do really. Did you then just login to your HSA Bank account and find a contact link to tell them to close your acct?

By the way, I've noticed that Lively really can take a long time to load itself when you sign in. I see it accesses a lot of cloud links and wonder if that may have something to do with it. I've never seen this kind of login slowness with any other sites I routinely go to.

deltaneutral83
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Re: The Best HSA

Post by deltaneutral83 » Thu Aug 09, 2018 1:02 pm

walkindude wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 12:36 pm
No, pretty much positive you need to keep $5k at HSA Bank. Maybe your employer is paying the fees? Or HSA Bank hasn't caught up with you yet! I just always keep $5k at HSA Bank, so never get any fees charged. I know that throws away nearly $100 in interest, but I don't feel like the hassle of changing.
I guess it depends on how much one needs to keep liquid for actual health expenses. Any portion not earmarked for short term health needs would be better served invested. Regardless of how much one keeps liquid and how much is invested Lively is superior to HSABank in that it is cheaper and there are no checking account minimums. If one were to be keeping $5,000 at HSABank liquid for the sole purpose of not having to pay the $3 a month fee, then the opportunity cost of being not being invested in a basic TSM index would have to be factored in, which would have to assume a ROI greater than the <1% that $36 is of $5,000. The "hassle" of 60 minutes to move HSA's I guess can be calculated monetarily (let's assume 7% TSM) and I'm certainly not valuing my time at those levels and that's just year one.

Jags4186
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Re: The Best HSA

Post by Jags4186 » Thu Aug 09, 2018 1:06 pm

I guess I'm lucky. My employer's HSA is at HSA bank, my company pays all the fees, and each two week period I transfer over $265.35 to my TD linked account and buy commission free ETFs. I keep $0 on the HSA bank side.

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jhfenton
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Re: The Best HSA

Post by jhfenton » Thu Aug 09, 2018 6:24 pm

Jags4186 wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 1:06 pm
I guess I'm lucky. My employer's HSA is at HSA bank, my company pays all the fees, and each two week period I transfer over $265.35 to my TD linked account and buy commission free ETFs. I keep $0 on the HSA bank side.
I am jealous of the simplicity. :sharebeer No fees and no requesting quarterly transfers.

And if you ever leave your employer and face the prospect of paying HSA Bank's normal fees, you can even do an in-kind transfer of the TDA account from HSA Bank to LIvely.

alter
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Re: The Best HSA

Post by alter » Fri Aug 10, 2018 4:29 pm

Spirit Rider wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:15 am
Wow. Somebody really has covered calls on the brain. I fail to see how they are even remotely necessary or even desired in an HSA of all places.

They are another form of market timing. Just another flawed speculation strategy, not investing.
Completely disagree. They are perfect for an HSA and perfect for generating income. To each his own, enjoy your guaranteed monthly fees in your HSA.

tenkuky
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Re: The Best HSA

Post by tenkuky » Fri Aug 10, 2018 4:32 pm

jhfenton wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 11:24 am
DDS wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 10:45 am
I guess one other caveat I should add is that I will just be doing a single lump sum into the HSA per year. I can afford to pay medical expenses if needed from cash and am self employed so matching and whatnot goes out the window. HSA is purely a retirement tax shelter in my mind.

At this point still best to use Lively or does it make more sense to go with something like Health Equity since it can tie directly into my Vanguard account? I'm not going to be trading options or anything. I just want ease of use with low fees.
Health Equity offers Vanguard mutual funds, but I don't believe it ties directly into a Vanguard account in any other sense. It is also fairly expensive at $36/year plus 0.24% per year (0.02% per month), all fees charged inside the HSA. On a $50,000 HSA like mine, that would be $156/year.

Lively is $30/year charged outside the HSA. Period. You cannot get Vanguard mutual funds or commission-free Vanguard ETFs, but you can buy dirt cheap SPDR Core Portfolio ETFs commission-free through the linked TD Ameritrade account, as well as a few hundred other ETFs of varying relevance.
Health Equity makes it nightmarish to do any rollover and expensive to do transfers. Plus cash drag for keeping minimum in cash before investment options are available add to the cost opportunity. That on top of above stated charges.

annebert
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Re: The Best HSA

Post by annebert » Fri Aug 10, 2018 6:16 pm

Hmmm. I have Health Equity from a former job. There are no monthly fees, and I pay 0.03 ER for my investments. Maybe this is because the large company where I previously worked negotiated good terms with them, rather than me signing up as an individual?

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willthrill81
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Re: The Best HSA

Post by willthrill81 » Sat Aug 11, 2018 10:13 am

annebert wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 6:16 pm
Hmmm. I have Health Equity from a former job. There are no monthly fees, and I pay 0.03 ER for my investments. Maybe this is because the large company where I previously worked negotiated good terms with them, rather than me signing up as an individual?
No, you pay .396% 'administrative fee' for your investments annually with Health Equity. They bill it as .033% per month. I know because my employer-sponsored HSA is currently with them. The silver lining is that the ERs of most of the Vanguard funds you have access to are lower than what you would get otherwise, which slightly offsets the fairly high administrative fee, but the ERs of the funds you're in is in addition to Health Equity's .396% fee. I don't have a big enough balance to make it worthwhile to switch to someone else yet, but I will at some point.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings

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willthrill81
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Re: The Best HSA

Post by willthrill81 » Sat Aug 11, 2018 10:17 am

tenkuky wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 4:32 pm
Health Equity makes it nightmarish to do any rollover and expensive to do transfers. Plus cash drag for keeping minimum in cash before investment options are available add to the cost opportunity. That on top of above stated charges.
Keep in mind that there isn't a big cash drag on just $2k. I personally don't mind it because we might have to tap our HSA in the event of a medical emergency anyway, and I want some of the money to be stable. The .396% administrative fee is burdensome though, to be sure.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings

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jeffyscott
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Re: The Best HSA

Post by jeffyscott » Sat Aug 11, 2018 11:43 am

wabbajack wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 12:15 pm
I didn't know that HSA Bank had fees, but I googled it and sure enough there's a whole schedule on their website.

What I do know is that I haven't paid any fees (except when I ordered a checkbook) at least since the beginning of 2017. Does anyone know if this is because my HDHP and HSA is through my employer? I can confirm that I have moved money back and forth between my HSA and TD Ameritrade.
Yes, your employer is probably paying.

Mine is not HSA bank, but Healthcare bank and as an employee I paid no monthly fee, they did charge a 0.25% asset fee on the investment account. Now as a retiree it's $3 per month, which would be okay except for that asset fee and required $2000 in the bank account earning near 0%.
press on, regardless - John C. Bogle

annebert
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Re: The Best HSA

Post by annebert » Sat Aug 11, 2018 4:56 pm

willthrill81 wrote:
Sat Aug 11, 2018 10:13 am
annebert wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 6:16 pm
Hmmm. I have Health Equity from a former job. There are no monthly fees, and I pay 0.03 ER for my investments. Maybe this is because the large company where I previously worked negotiated good terms with them, rather than me signing up as an individual?
No, you pay .396% 'administrative fee' for your investments annually with Health Equity. They bill it as .033% per month. I know because my employer-sponsored HSA is currently with them. The silver lining is that the ERs of most of the Vanguard funds you have access to are lower than what you would get otherwise, which slightly offsets the fairly high administrative fee, but the ERs of the funds you're in is in addition to Health Equity's .396% fee. I don't have a big enough balance to make it worthwhile to switch to someone else yet, but I will at some point.
Thanks for pointing out that little sleight of hand. I had dodged the $1 monthly fee for paper statements, but didn't catch that. With a current balance of ~$6000, the fees are about he same as Liveley, but guess I'll have to switch next year.

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