4 Reasons to Start Investing Your HSA Assets
If you can afford to cover your family’s health care costs out-of-pocket (without spending your Health Savings Account (“HSA")), consider investing those HSA assets instead! The tax-free growth in these assets can accumulate significantly over time to help fund health care costs in retirement, freeing your retirement assets up to help fund your retirement goals.
Not everyone has access to an HSA, but if you do, there are opportunities to potentially integrate these accounts into your overall financial plan. HSA accounts are only available for individuals and families covered by a high-deductible health plan (“HDHP”). Since HDHPs have higher out-of-pocket deductibles than traditional coverage, individuals and families must be comfortable with paying “first dollar” expenses out of pocket up to the maximum deductible.
Here are four reasons to stop spending and start investing your HSA assets:
Take advantage of federal triple tax benefits
- Annual contributions of $7,100 per family (2020) are made with pre-tax dollars
- Tax-deferred growth
- Tax-free withdrawals for health care expenses
Pay for medical expenses, past and present
HSA accounts allow you to withdraw these assets to reimburse yourself for health care expenses, both past and present.
- If you have retained detailed documentation of all medical expenses since your HSA was opened, and you paid for these expenses out of pocket, you can repay yourself from the HSA later, even if those expenses were from 10 or 20 years ago. It is crucial that you keep detailed documentation of medical expenses and payment sources to substantiate these eventual reimbursements.
- This retirement strategy will allow you to generate income tax-free in retirement, which has the added benefit of helping to avoid income-related Medicare surcharges.
As an example, consider someone who incurred an average of $7,000 a year in medical expenses over the 15 years she held an HSA account, but paid all of the medical expenses with other money (did not use the HSA funds at all and kept them invested). If she documented these expenses, she can withdraw $105,000 from the HSA at a later date as a tax-free reimbursement. In addition, this $105K of distributions will not count as income in calculations for Medicare premiums (nor for many other tax calculations).
Know that you will have "enough" for health care expenses, without having to spend your retirement assets
Health care costs will likely be one of the largest expenses individuals face in retirement, and they continue to rise unpredictably. On average individuals pay $285,0001 in health care expenses during their retirement, not including long term care. These expenses are a combination of prescription drug out-of-pocket costs, premium payments associated with Medicare Part B and D, and Medicare cost-saving provisions.
Invest your HSA assets as part of your overall portfolio
Your wealth advisor can help you invest these assets into a diversified portfolio of mutual funds or exchange traded funds (ETFs), which integrate into your overall financial plan to support your lifetime goals.
According to research, paying for health care is the number one financial concern among investors, including millionaires.3 An HSA can be an effective long-term saving vehicle to help cover health care expenses in retirement, and it can provide important tax benefits and investment growth opportunities. Talk to your wealth advisor about how you can start taking better advantage of your HSA, or, if you do not have a Mesirow wealth advisor, we will introduce you (link to find an advisor).