Health savings account

From Bogleheads

A Health savings account (HSA) is a special account which is used in conjunction with a high deductible health plan. Unlike a flexible spending account, unused money remains in the account and can be invested; most accounts offer either mutual funds or brokerage accounts for investing.

HSAs are often referred to as "triple-tax advantaged", a feature that makes them unique among all investment accounts.[1] Contributions are tax-deductible on federal and most state tax returns; earnings and withdrawals are also tax-free if used for medical expenses. After age 65, HSAs can also be used for non-medical purposes, with such withdrawals taxed like a traditional IRA.

Note that an HSA comes along with a high deductible health plan: investors should determine if such a plan is appropriate for their personal circumstances and health care needs. If so, then using the HSA as an investment account can be advantageous.

Basic HSA rules

You are eligible to contribute to an HSA if you meet the following requirements (see Publication 969 for details):
• You are covered under a high deductible health plan
• You have no other health coverage (except for dental, vision, and other specific exceptions)
• You aren’t enrolled in Medicare
• You can’t be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return.

Unlike most health insurance, the high deductible health plan pays nothing except for preventive care until you meet a fairly high deductible. An employer may make its own contribution to the HSA in order to reduce your potential out-of-pocket costs.

You may withdraw from the HSA to reimburse eligible medical expenses even if you are no longer eligible to contribute.

Contribution limits

The 2023 annual limit is $3,850 for an individual plan and $7,750 for a family plan,[2] and the 2024 annual limit is $4,150 for an individual plan and $8,300 for a family plan [3] plus $1,000 catch-up contributions if you are at least 55. Beginning with the first month you are enrolled in Medicare, your contribution limit is zero.[4]

Contribution limits include both contributions from the HSA participant as well as employer contributions, if those made by the employer that are excludable from income.[note 1]

A non-dependent child who is still covered only by a parent's HDHP (in other words, meets the requirements listed under Basic HSA rules) may contribute the family maximum to his or her own HSA. The child's HSA is completely separate from the parent's HSA.

If you are enrolled in a HDHP for only part of the year, the maximum contribution amounts can vary based on several factors; see IRS Pub 969 for specifics.[5]

Your contribution limits also change when you change your HDHP's status from self-only to family coverage (or vice versa). For example, getting married would cause a change from self-only to family coverage; divorce or death of a spouse may cause a change from family to self-only.[6]

Your contribution limits are pro-rated by the number of months you are eligible to contribute to an HSA. Pro-rating also applies to any catch-up contributions.[7]

Tax considerations

Unlike many other tax deductions, there are no income restrictions to contribute to an HSA. Contributions to an HSA reduce your federal adjusted gross income (AGI) dollar for dollar, possibly making you eligible for income-based credits or Roth IRA contributions you would not otherwise be eligible for without the HSA deduction.

If your employer allows it, you can make your own contributions through pre-tax payroll deduction; this has the potential advantage that these contributions, like pre-tax insurance premiums, are not subject to Social Security and Medicare taxes, so long as the plan is classified as a Section 125 or "cafeteria" plan. Often, if you are below the Social Security wage base, it is only break-even or worse to use the payroll deduction because the reduced Social Security benefits cost more than the tax savings.[8]

State taxation of HSAs

While contributions are deductible on one's federal income tax, this is not always true for state income tax. The following states are not in conformity with federal legislation and do not recognize HSAs, so contributions are not deductible and earnings are taxable:[9]

  • California
  • New Jersey

If you live in a state which taxes HSA earnings, consider investing the HSA in Treasury bonds or TIPS, which are exempt from state taxes. (In CA, capital gains issued by a TIPS/Treasury mutual fund or capital gain/loss on the sale of Treasury mutual fund shares would be subject to state taxes, but even if they are, most of the returns from Treasury bonds and TIPS would be income which is not subject to state tax. NJ exempts capital gains on Treasuries from state tax.)

In states that tax contributions, be aware that Federal tax-free rollovers into an HSA, such as the once in a lifetime IRA to HSA rollover, and an Archer MSA to HSA rollover, are treated as a non-qualified withdrawal from the IRA/MSA at the state level and subject to income taxes and penalties on the state return. Also in states that tax contributions, the state treats the HSA as a taxable account, taxable investing rules apply.

Principles of tax-efficient fund placement are important, except when investing in TIPS and treasury bonds (as noted above) and tax loss harvesting is possible on the state tax return if you have capital gains or the state allows carryovers of capital losses. HSA administrators are not required to send you tax forms (such as 1099-INT, -B) by the IRS, so you are required to keep good records, track the state cost basis manually, and report HSA gains/losses on your state tax return. You may be able to include amounts paid from the HSA for medical expenses as an itemized deduction on the state tax return, subject to AGI floors.

If you move from a state which does not tax HSAs to a state which taxes HSAs, sell any holdings with capital gains before you move, so that you will not pay taxes on the same capital gains when you sell the same holdings later as a resident of the state. You can buy back the same or similar holdings immediately after selling.


Withdrawals for qualified medical expenses (as outlined in IRS Publication 502, Medical and Dental Expenses) are tax-free. As long as you keep proper records, you can even reimburse yourself in a later year for medical expenses which you paid out of pocket after you established the HSA (see Q39 in IRS Notice 2004-33).

Withdrawals to pay for some types of medical insurance premiums are also tax-free. As detailed in Internal Revenue Bulletin 2004-2 (January 12, 2004) - Health Savings Accounts - Q&A 27, you can use HSA funds to pay for qualified long-term care insurance (but only up to IRS specified dollar amounts), COBRA health care continuation coverage, and health care coverage while an individual is receiving unemployment compensation. Furthermore, once reaching age 65, premiums for Medicare Part A or B, Medicare HMO, and the employee share of premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance, including premiums for employer-sponsored retiree health insurance can be paid from an HSA. Premiums for Medigap policies are not qualified medical expenses and therefore can't be paid tax-free from an HSA.

There was further clarification in Internal Revenue Bulletin: 2008-29 (July 21, 2008) - Notice 2008-59 - Health Savings Accounts - Q&A-29. Payment of Medicare Part D premiums. This Q&A clarified that Medicare Part D premiums are eligible expenses. The previous 2004 guidance had came out before Medicare Part D was established in 2006, therefore this guidance provided clarity for Medicare Part D premiums.

Withdrawals for other purposes are taxed at your full tax rate, with an extra 20% penalty. The penalty is waived if you are at least 65 or disabled.[10]


You can make a once in a lifetime rollover or transfer from an IRA to an HSA up to the annual HSA funding limit. This is usually not advised since you would lose the ability to contribute and take an HSA tax deduction for the amount you transfer, but it can be an emergency source of funds without paying taxes or penalties.[11] See IRS Notice 2008-51.

You can rollover an Archer MSA to an HSA as stated in IRS Pub. 969 page 6.

Also it is not advised if you live in a state that taxes HSA contributions to do either of these rollovers, due to incurring state taxes and penalties.

You are able to move money between HSA custodians through direct rollovers and trustee to trustee transfers - see IRS Pub. 969 page 6. The rules are exactly the same as IRA Rollovers and Transfers. You may want to do this annually if you contribute to a plan through your employer's payroll deduction to gain the social security and medicare payroll tax exemption, but you don't want to leave the funds there long-term if the investment options are not good. The HSA custodian(s) may charge a fee for a trustee-to-trustee transfer; direct rollovers can usually be done without a fee.


Social Security recipients 65 years of age or older will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A and therefore ineligible to contribute to a Health Savings Account.[12][13]

Contributions to your HSA stop must stop when you enroll in Medicare. However, you may use money that’s already in your HSA after you enroll in Medicare to help pay for deductibles, premiums, copayments, or coinsurance.[14][15]

Premium-free Part A coverage begins 6 months back from the date you apply for Medicare (or Social Security/RRB benefits), but no earlier than the first month you were eligible for Medicare. To avoid a tax penalty, you should stop contributing to your HSA at least 6 months before you apply for Medicare. To say this another way: If you start Social Security or enroll in Medicare before age 65-1/2, you only have to stop contributing to an HSA for the month prior to Medicare eligibility.[14][16]

If you contribute to your HSA after your Medicare coverage starts, you may have to pay a tax penalty. Generally, you must pay a 6% excise tax on excess contributions. The excise tax applies to each tax year the excess contribution remains in the account.[17]

Death of HSA Holder

An HSA can be inherited by a spouse beneficiary. Any other beneficiary will receive the HSA as a taxable distribution. See the Inherited HSA section below for more details.

How the account operates

The HSA custodian is a bank, and the account initially works like a bank account; you can make deposits, and withdraw money with checks or a debit card. Once you have enough money in the account, the bank allows you to link the account to a mutual fund or brokerage account; you still write checks against the bank account, and must transfer money to the bank account in order to use it.

You can choose your custodian, and transfer accounts between different custodians. However, if your health plan or employer makes a contribution, it may select the custodian to which it makes contributions, and may offer other incentives such as waiving service fees.

How to use the plan

There are two ways to use the HSA; you can either pay all your medical expenses from it, or pay out of pocket and save the plan money for medical expenses in retirement. Even if you use the HSA to pay current expenses, you will likely accumulate more than you spend, and can invest the remainder for medical expenses in retirement.

Paying current expenses from the HSA

If you are not maxing out your retirement accounts, you should usually pay current expenses from the HSA.[18] If you are in a 25% tax bracket and have $1,000 in medical bills, taking $1,000 from the HSA, and taking advantage of the fact that this wasn't an out-of-pocket expense so that you can invest an extra $1,000 in your Roth IRA or $1,333 in your 401(k), works to your benefit.

If you kept the $1,000 in the HSA and paid the expense out of pocket, you would have the right to withdraw $1,000 from the HSA later to cover the expense and spend $1,000 on anything later. But if you invested the $1,000 in a Roth IRA, you gained the right to spend not only that $1,000 on anything in retirement, but also the gains on that $1,000; if you invested $1,333 in a 401(k), that is just as good after adjusting for the 25% tax you will pay in retirement.

Because of the tax deduction, you should invest in the HSA in preference to any other retirement savings except for a contribution matched by your employer. If you are in a 25% tax bracket, $1,000 invested in your 401(k) costs you $750 out of pocket, but you will lose much of the money to taxes when you withdraw it. $1,000 invested in the HSA costs the same $750 out of pocket but can be spent tax-free as long as it is used for medical expenses.

In addition, HSA contributions via employer payroll deduction are exempt from FICA taxes, where 401(k) contributions are not.[19][20]

If you are too healthy in retirement and can't use the HSA for medical expenses (even past ones), the non-medical portion is still as good as a traditional IRA once you are age 65.

Paying current expenses out of pocket

If you are maxing out your retirement accounts, you should treat the HSA as an opportunity for further savings, like an IRA, and not withdraw from it until you retire. If you have $1,000 in medical bills, paying them from your taxable account leaves the $1,000 in the HSA to grow tax-free (and keeps the right to withdraw $1,000 tax-free in a future year), while paying them from the HSA leaves $1,000 in your taxable account, which will grow subject to taxes since you do not have any room for tax-sheltered contributions.

Once you are retired, you can withdraw from the HSA an amount equal to your past medical expenses plus any current expenses tax-free, and withdraw from your other accounts for non-medical expenses. HSAs can be used to pay medicare premiums and other medical expenses in retirement.

How to invest the HSA

If you are paying current expenses out of pocket, the HSA is intended for medical expenses in retirement. You should thus invest it as if it were part of your IRA or 401(k), as those accounts are also invested for retirement expenses. If you are using the HSA for current expenses, at least one year's deductible should be considered part of your emergency fund since it is likely you will need this amount for medical bills; the remainder can be invested as if it were part of an IRA or 401(k).

If you view the HSA as part of your retirement allocation, you can then choose which part should be held in the HSA, and which should be held elsewhere. If you live in a state that does not recognize HSAs, state taxes give a strong incentive to hold Treasury bonds or TIPS there. In the rest of the states, HSAs are similar to Roth accounts in terms of the principles of tax-efficient fund placement for tax free accounts.

Since an HSA inherited by a non-spouse beneficiary becomes fully taxable, it is best to leave other investments to heirs in preference to the HSA. If you have a large HSA which might exceed your medical expenses, this is a minor incentive to hold bonds rather than stocks, as it reduces the risk that the HSA will grow too large. Another solution is to name a charity as the beneficiary of the HSA, if you were planning to leave some of your estate to charity.[21]

Inherited HSA

Spouse beneficiary

Per IRS Pub 969, upon the death of the holder of an HSA, a surviving spouse may assume the HSA as his or her own if the spouse is the beneficiary.[22] Although ambiguity exists on this point, it is believed by knowledgable Bogleheads that a surviving spouse HSA beneficiary is permitted to reimburse qualified medical expenses of his or her deceased spouse after assuming ownership of the HSA, free of taxes.[note 2]

Non-spouse beneficiary

The rules for a non-spouse beneficiary, however, are more complicated.[23][24][25][26][27]

Per Pub 969, when the HSA account holder dies, "the account stops being an HSA, and the fair market value of the HSA becomes taxable to the beneficiary in the year in which you die. If your estate is the beneficiary, the value is included on your final income tax return. The amount taxable to a beneficiary other than the estate is reduced by any qualified medical expenses for the decedent that are paid by the beneficiary within 1 year after the date of death."

See the linked referenced above for more clarification on the above terms from Pub 969. Although there is some ambiguity regarding the language around payment of the decedent's medical expenses, one matter appears to be clear: unlike an inherited IRA, an inherited HSA (to a non-spouse) ceases to become a tax-advantaged account, and it appears that reimbursable medical expenses of the decedent that had not been reimbursed no longer can be reimbursed (although unpaid expenses can still be paid and deducted). Hence, from an estate planning perspective, an HSA has no more value to a non-spouse beneficiary than an equal amount of taxable income, and much less value than an equal amount of cash. Therefore an HSA holder should carefully balance the desire to leave HSA funds un-reimbursed in order to compound tax-free, versus leaving behind substantial HSA balances being inherited with significant undistributed tax-free amounts. Even for a spouse HSA beneficiary, it is unclear whether the surviving spouse (who becomes the HSA holder) may distribute the undistributed expenses of the decedent.

In light of these inheritance disadvantages, "Those with both Roth IRA accounts and HSA accounts with unreimbursed qualified medical expenses, should distribute those tax-free HSA dollars before touching the Roth accounts. Also, upon turning 65 they should make distributions for Medicare Part B premiums, and other qualified medical expenses (co-pay, co-insurance, dental, vision. etc...). Tax-free HSA dollars should always be spent before Roth dollars."[28] If you wish to continue to enjoy the tax-free compounding benefits of the HSA, but want to ensure that the balance does not become taxable income upon death, then consider the following advice:

To minimize this potential tax liability, as with retirement benefits, HSA owners may wish to consider naming a charitable beneficiary or name a low-income tax bracket beneficiary to receive the taxable income that is accelerated by death.

— Health Savings Accounts - The New Asset on the Estate Planners' Checklist - Nov/Dec 2009[29]

According to Helen Modly, CFP, CPWA and Tommie Monez, MBA, CFP, ChFC, in a Morningstar article:

There is a good case for allowing the HSA balances to grow as a cushion for high medical expenses later in life, but consideration should also be given to the inheritance tax disadvantage. Eventually using up the tax-free dollars for medical expenses or naming a charity as beneficiary can mitigate or eliminate the tax consequences.

— Morningstar article[30]


As with a flexible spending account, the HSA allows you to contribute tax-deductible dollars and spend them tax-free on medical costs. However, money in a flexible spending account is lost if not used within a grace period after the end of the year, so you can only use it for expected expenses and will pay unexpected medical expenses with after-tax dollars. The HSA allows you to pay all your expenses with pre-tax dollars as long as they fit within the HSA limit, and what is not used continues to roll over to following years.

If your employer gives a percentage subsidy on health insurance, the insurer's contribution to the HSA benefits from the same subsidy. For example, if your employer pays 75% of your health insurance, it costs you only $250 to receive benefits which cost the insurer $1,000, even if that $1,000 benefit is a contribution to your HSA.


The main potential disadvantage of the HSA is not the account but the high-deductible plan which goes with it. If you have very low expenses, the high deductible doesn't matter; if you have very high medical costs, the plan must have a catastrophic maximum out-of-pocket cost which may also save you money. If your expenses are near the deductible, you may be better off without the HSA, using a conventional plan instead. HSAs are not available from all major fund companies, and often have maintenance fees, but there are some good ones in the HSA custodians and options section just below.

Additionally, unlike IRAs, HSAs do not enjoy the same favorable tax treatment upon death of the HSA holder. See Inherited HSA for more.

An HSA may be challenging for someone without a sufficient emergency fund - see Prioritizing_investments. In contrast to an FSA where the entire amount may be available on January 1 each year, funds for an HSA are not available until the funds are deducted from your paycheck over the course of the year.

Maximizing the tax benefits of the HSA involves storing medical receipts for many years prior to seeking reimbursement. Said storage requires effort to implement and maintain. Filing for reimbursement in the distant future may take additional labor to enter data as compared to seamless immediate reimbursement when the HSA provider receives billing data directly from insurance company.

A spouse with a general purpose healthcare FSA disqualifies either partner from having an HSA. A Limited-purpose FSA disqualifies nobody.

HSA custodians and options

This list is not complete; please add others. Custodians are listed in alphabetical order.

Alliant Credit Union (HealthEquity)

Alliant Credit Union has no fees to open the account, no monthly or management fees, no transaction fees, free checks, free VISA debit card, no minimums, no fees to close the account. Alliant is ideal for a "cash" HSA to pay ongoing medical expenses or a starter HSA while you build towards an "investment" HSA. The HSA can be invested for a $5.95 monthly fee, with at least $1000 remaining in the cash account. Options include several Vanguard funds.

Note: Starting October 5, 2017, Alliant's HSA will be transitioned to HealthEquity. See this Bogleheads forum topic: "Alliant Credit Union no longer offering HSA's as of 11/9" and Alliant HSAs now administered by HealthEquity.


BenefitWallet (formerly known as The ACS|BNY Mellon HSA Solution) is a HSA available only through employer plans. The HSA includes a low-interest savings account and an optional investment account. The savings account is the default account into which employer and employee contributions are deposited, and from which medical expenses are paid. A participant may also invest in a separate HSA investment account.

Investment Platform

To use the investment platform, the participant must have at least a $1,000 balance in the HSA savings account. Any balance over the $1,000 may be invested in one of approximately 27 mutual funds[31][32] in a separate (but linked) investment account. Of interest to Boglehead investors are the following Vanguard index funds[33]:

  • Total stock market index institutional (VITSX)
  • Total international stock market index admiral (VTIAX)
  • Mid-cap index admiral (VIMAX)
  • Small-cap index admiral (VSMAX)
  • Total bond fund admiral (VBTLX).

All the other funds are high-expense actively managed funds. The funds in the HSA have the same expense ratios as retail investors would pay for the same funds.

Investment Platform

There is a $2.90 monthly fee to use the investment platform. Unlike some HSAs, there is no charge to make transfers or trades in the investment platform, only the monthly fee.

Savings Account - Interest Rate and Fees

BenefitWallet HSA is most commonly used by employers. Based on observations from multiple BenefitWallet participants, account management fees in the savings account portion of the HSA vary from one plan to the next, depending on the terms each employer was able to negotiate with BeneiftWallet.

Based on observation from BenefitWallet participants, some plans charge a $2.25 monthly fee if the balance is below $3,000, some plans charge a higher $3.25 fee for balances below $1,000, and some plans charge a monthly fee of $2.95 regardless of balance. Other participants may have different fee schedules. Therefore, each BenefitWallet participant needs to consult the fee schedule for their own specific plan. To see your own plan's fees and interest rate, log in to your account, and then go to BenefitWallet Health Savings Account Fee and Rate Schedule (this page is secured - log in to your account first and then click link).

BenefitWallet Tips

Contributions to the HSA (from employer and employee payroll deposits) are deposited initially into the savings account. From there, a participant may optionally transfer funds automatically or manually from the savings account (as long as the $1,000 minimum balance is maintained) into the investment platform, into specific fund(s). For the participant who wishes to use their HSA as an investment account, one useful feature with automatic investments is the ability to automatically transfer any balance over $1,000 (or any chosen amount) from the savings account into the investment platform; with this enabled, any incoming deposits (above the balance threshold you specify) into the savings account will transfer over to the investment platform the next trading day, for entirely "hands off" investing.

Closing a BenefitWallet HSA

See Bogleheads forum posts for personal experiences with transfers and rollovers out of BenefitWallet HSA into other custodians:

Discovery Benefits (WEX)

The Discovery Benefits (Wex) HSA is only offered through employer plans.

Terms and fees may vary from one company to another, so be sure to verify this information for your own employer. To view the fee schedule, log in to your account, then click the "Get Help" link which takes you into a help site. From there, in the search function search for "fee". You should see a search result for "Article ID: PROD-2175 | Health Savings Account (HSA) custodial management fee FAQ" which explains the general fees.

For at least one Discovery Benefits HSA member, the "The custodial management fee is a flat fee of 25 basis points per year that is assessed quarterly. This equates to 0.0625% each quarter on any dollars currently invested in mutual funds... The HealthcareBank interest-bearing account is excluded from this fee." There are no low-balance fees in the savings account, or other fees. As noted, the fee schedule may vary from one company to another, depending on the terms negotiated between each company and Discovery Benefits.

If your HSA balance is low, then the fees are lower than many employer-based HSAs that charge a flat monthly fee. But since the fee is assessed as a percentage on your balance, then the higher your balance, the greater your fees. For this reason, if you wish to avoid these fees, it would be advisable to perform an annual HSA transfer or rollover to a no-fee HSA.

Discovery Benefits Investment Platform

The investing platform is available for any HSA balance over $1,000. You can set up automated investing so that any balance over the minimum is automatically invested. The platform contains multiple Vanguard index funds in the institutional share class, as well as Target Retirement date funds.

See also: Bogleheads forum topic: "Discovery Benefits (Wex) HSA - fees?". 31 July 2020.

Elements Financial (Eli Lilly Federal Credit Union)

Formerly known as Eli Lilly Federal Credit Union,[note 3] Elements Financial has no setup fees. A maintenance fee of $4/month applies for balances below $2,500. Access to TD Ameritrade is available only if your account balance at time of enrollment is at least $2,500. Transfers between your HSA and TD Ameritrade accounts are wire transactions and incur a $25 fee.[34][35]


Fidelity offers HSAs for employers and, as of November 2018, individuals.[36] Individual HSAs have no account opening or transaction fees.[37] In a favorable review of the Fidelity HSA's features, the The Finance Buff wrote: "No other HSA provider comes close to what Fidelity offers."[38]

Health Equity

Health Equity Includes many Vanguard index funds, along with a annual 0.396% fee on the balance (0.033% per month times 12 months).[39]

HSA Bank

HSA Bank has a Charles Schwab brokerage option which offers commission-free trades on most ETFs. A minimum balance must be maintained in cash at HSA Bank to avoid monthly fees.


Lively offers a TD Ameritrade brokerage account which offers commission-free trades on over 100 ETFs (excluding Vanguard). There is no fee to invest (beginning on January 1, 2019)[40][41]; prior to 2019, there was a $2.50 monthly fee but no minimum cash balance.[42]

Optum Bank

Optum Bank Offers a suite of some 20 investment options, including Admiral shares of Vanguard's 500, mid-cap, and small-cap indexes. Monthly fee but no asset-based fee. Minimum $2,000 cash in order to invest, and you can't directly spend investment funds.

Saturna Capital

Saturna Capital offers a stand-alone brokerage account through Pershing. You do not need a separate bank account with the HSA. There is no monthly maintenance fee. Vanguard and Fidelity Spartan funds are available for $14.95 per trade. Saturna does not offer checks or HSA credit cards.[43] Saturna Capital's brokerage account has a $10 surcharge for Vanguard funds, as well as other fund families. The list can be found here: FundVest Focus Fund Families[44]


SelectAccount offers two levels of investment options. Once a minimum of $1,000 in an HSA savings account is achieved, you can open a basic investment account. Vanguard and Fidelity funds are among the choices in the HSA Investment Options. Account balances above $10,000 may utilize a self-directed brokerage account with Charles Schwab. (You must keep at least $1,000 in the base balance of your HSA account.) Both investment options impose an $18/year management fee. Schwab's standard brokerage commission schedule applies to transactions in the self-directed brokerage account.[45]

The Sterling HSA

The Sterling HSA offers full-service medical record keeping with the Standard Plan, and the ability to use any brokerage account which is willing to open an account in the name of "Sterling HSA for The Benefit of (account holder)"when using the eSavings Plan. Sterling HSA Fee Schedule (there is an additional $16 annual fee for using their brokerage). Vanguard will not setup an account in accordance with Sterling HSA specifications.[46]


WageWorks is a an employee benefits system that includes a HSA. Unlike Fidelity, Lively and many other HSA custodians, an individual HSA holder cannot enroll in WageWorks independently of their job, only through their employer.

A WageWorks HSA has a low-interest FDIC-insured savings account and an optional separate investment account on the BNY Mellon platform for HSA investing. In order to invest, you must maintain at least $1,000 in the savings account, with any balance above that available for optional investing.

WageWorks HSA Fees

Depending on the specific terms of your plan, you might pay a $2.00 monthly fee if the balance in the savings account is under $5,000; some employers may pay all or part of this fee for their employees. There are no investment trading fees or fees to use the investment platform, beyond standard mutual fund expense ratios. WageWorks also charges an additional $3.95 monthly fee for account holders who are no longer employed by their employers; as such, an individual who is enrolled in a WageWorks HSA and who leaves their employer should transfer out of WageWorks to a different custodian and close their WageWorks HSA. Additionally, there is a $16.00 transfer of asset (TOA) to another custodian fee.[47]

WageWorks HSA Investing

In the investment platform, there are approximately 35 mutual funds in the following asset classes: Large Cap US Equity, Small and Mid-Cap US Equity, International Equity, Fixed Income, and All-in-One (target date and two Vanguard LifeStrategy funds).

Of interest to Boglehead investors are the following Vanguard index funds, which are the only index funds in the platform:

  • Vanguard 500 Index Admiral (VFIAX)
  • Vanguard Small Cap Index Admiral (VSMAX)
  • Vanguard Developed Markets Index Admiral (VTMGX)
  • Vanguard Emerging Markets Index Admiral (VEMAX)
  • Vanguard Short Term Investment Grade (VFSTX)
  • Vanguard Long-Term Bond Index Investor (VBLTX)
  • Vanguard LifeStrategy Moderate Growth Investor (VSMGX)
  • Vanguard LifeStrategy Conservative Growth Investor (VSCGX)

Note that only the two listed Vanguard LifeStrategy Funds are included; Vanguard has two other LifeStrategy funds (Income and Growth) but they are not available in WageWorks. The other WageWorks funds are actively managed funds.

A WageWorks account holder may configure their account to automatically invest new contributions into designated funds, for hands-off account management.


  1. "IRS Pub 969" (pdf). IRS. p. 7. Retrieved March 7, 2018. Reporting Contributions on Your Return. Contributions made by your employer aren't included in your income. Contributions to an employee's account by an employer using the amount of an employee's salary reduction through a cafeteria plan are treated as employer contributions. Generally, you can claim contributions you made and contributions made by any other person, other than your employer, on your behalf, as an adjustment to income.
  2. Bogleheads forum post: "HSA question - reimbursing expenses from deceased spouse", Spirit Rider. 10 November 2017. "[T]he [surviving] spouse [who inherited the HSA] has the inherent right as the account owner to reimburse for any distributions for qualified medical expenses. Those medical expenses became qualified at the time of the expense and the death of the original account owner does not change this."
  3. Eli Lilly Federal Credit Union changed its name to Elements Financial on January 6, 2015. Source: Elfcu has proudly become… Elements Financial, viewed September 20, 2017.

See also


  1. "The Triple Tax Break You May Be Missing: A Health Savings Account". The New York Times. March 19, 2021.
  2. "IRS Revenue Procedure 2022-24 in Internal Revenue Bulletin 2022-20". IRS. Retrieved 22 October 2022.
  3. "IRS Revenue Procedure 2023-23 in Internal Revenue Bulletin 2023-22". IRS. Retrieved 14 November 2023.
  4. "IRS Pub 969" (pdf). IRS. p. 7. Retrieved 10 March 2020.
  5. "IRS Pub 969" (pdf). IRS. p. 5. Retrieved March 7, 2018.
  6. "Mid-year HSA Changes: How Status Affects Annual Contribution Limits". Lively Inc. Retrieved 26 Jan 2020.
  7. "Health savings account (HSA) contributions and mid-year changes" (PDF). Optum Bank. Retrieved 26 Jan 2020.
  8. Bogleheads forum post: "HSA vs 401K". 22 Nov 2014
  9. HSA State Income Tax, from HSA for America.
  10. "IRS Pub 969". IRS. Retrieved 11 Jun 2019. Age 65 waiver is under "Distributions From an HSA", then 'Additional tax., then Exceptions..
  11. Sit, Harry (March 14, 2017). "One-Time Transfer From IRA To HSA: Forget About It". The Finance Buff. Retrieved 2017-11-04.
  12. "Original Medicare (Part A and B) Eligibility and Enrollment". Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Retrieved 28 Aug 2016.
  13. "Can I Have a Health Savings Account as Well as Medicare?". AARP. Retrieved 28 Aug 2016.
  14. 14.0 14.1 "Medicare and You" (PDF). Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service. Retrieved Nov 13, 2017., page 23.
  15. "IRS Publication 969". IRS. Retrieved Nov 12, 2017.
  16. Bogleheads forum post: "Re: Medicare [Can I contribute to Health Savings Account?]", Spirit Rider
  17. "IRS Publication 969". IRS. Retrieved Nov 13, 2017., Excess contributions.
  18. Bogleheads forum topic: "Confused by Wiki Advice on HSA Spending". 10 Nov 2014
  19. FAQs for government entities regarding Cafeteria Plans, from the IRS, viewed June 19, 2015
  20. Topic 424 - 401(k) Plans, from the IRS, viewed June 19, 2015
  21. Bogleheads forum topic: "The problem with 'saving receipts' for future qualified HSA withdrawals". 19 Aug 2018
  22. "Publication 969 (2016), Health Savings Accounts and Other Tax-Favored Health Plans". 2016. Retrieved 2017-11-04.
  23. Bogleheads forum topic: "HSA as stealth IRA - Inheritence issue". 25 February 2014
  24. Garber, Julie (6 March 2017). "Choosing Beneficiaries for Your Health or Medical Savings Account". The Balance. Retrieved 2017-11-04.
  25. Bogleheads forum topic: "After death, is an HSA still an HSA?". 25 June 2014
  26. Spirit Rider (10 September 2013). "Fairmark Forum :: Retirement Savings and Benefits :: HSA non-spouse beneficiary". Retrieved 2017-11-04.
  27. Bogleheads forum topic: "HSA beneficiary options (tax considerations)". 23 June 2017
  28. Bogleheads forum post: "HSA as stealth IRA - Inheritance issue". 25 Feb 2014
  29. Bannen, John T.; Occhetti, Kristin A. (December 2009). "Health Savings Accounts - The New Asset on the Estate Planners' Checklist - Nov/Dec 2009 | Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law". Volume 23, Number 6. Probate & Property Magazine of the American Bar Association. Retrieved 2017-11-04.[dead link]
  30. Helen Modly; Tommie Monez (October 22, 2016). "Handling HSAs After Death or Divorce". Morningstar. Retrieved 2019-01-22.
  31. BenefitWallet HSA Investment Options
  32. BenefitWallet information at HSA Search
  33. Bogleheads forum topic: "BenefitWallet HSA Lowers Fund Expenses, adds Vanguard Institutional Shares", 1 September 2017
  34. 0901–2017 Fee Schedule, Elements Financial, September 1, 2017, viewed September 20, 2017.
  35. HSA Welcome Kit, Elements Financial, viewed September 20, 2017.
  36. Bogleheads forum topic: "Rumor mill - Fidelity starting individual HSA's Nov. 15th". 11 Nov 2018
  37. "HSA - Health Savings Account - Benefits | Fidelity". Fidelity Investments. Retrieved 18 November 2018., Footnote 4.
  38. The Finance Buff (19 November 2018). "Best HSA Provider for Investing HSA Money". Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  39. Bogleheads forum topic: "Health Equity HSA--New Passive Plan", 5 September 2014
  40. "No-Fee HSA - Lively". Lively. Retrieved 21 December 2018.
  41. "Lively Drops Investment Fees, Offers No-Fee Health Savings Account". 20 December 2018. Retrieved 21 December 2018.
  42. Bogleheads forum topic: "New HSA provider Lively offers investments for $30/yr fee". 26 September 2017
  43. Bogleheads forum topic: "my review of my HSA with Saturna brokerage". 18 Mar 2014
  44. Health savings account Discussion page.
  45. HSA-Reference-Guide, pages 46 - 48, viewed October 22, 2017.
  46. See Talk:Health savings account, reader feedback.
  47. "WageWorks HSA Fee Schedule". 1 April 2016. Retrieved 22 January 2019.

External links

IRS and Treasury

Outside links

Forum discussions

State income tax

This list is not complete, please add info for other states.