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Flexible Spending Accounts and Health Savings Accounts: How these accounts work and their tax advantages.

Updated: Feb 2

Navigating healthcare expenses can be daunting, but Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) offer valuable tools to manage these costs efficiently. At Ross & Yerger, we demystify these accounts, shedding light on their functionalities and the tax advantages they bring. Let's delve into the world of FSAs and HSAs, simplifying their complexities for a clearer understanding.



Understanding Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs)

FSAs are employer-sponsored accounts that allow employees to set aside a portion of their pre-tax salary to over qualified medical expenses. These accounts typically cover various healthcare expenses, including deductibles, co-payments, prescription medications, and some over-the-counter items.

Key Aspects of FSAs


1. Pre-Tax Contributions:

Employees can contribute to an FSA with pre-tax dollars, reducing their taxable income and consequently lowering their overall tax burden.


2. Use-It-or-Lose-It-Rule:

One crucial aspect of FSAs is the "use-it-or-lose-it" rule, wherein funds not utilized by the end of the plan year or the grace period are forfeited. However, some plans may offer a carryover option or a grace period to spend remaining funds.


Unlocking Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)

HSAs are savings accounts available to individuals enrolled in high-deductible health plans (HDHPs). These accounts allow individuals to save money for qualified medical expenses on a tax-free basis.


Key Aspects of HSAs


1. Triple Tax Benefits:

Contributions to an HSA are tax-deductible, grow tax-free, and withdrawals for qualified medical expenses are tax-exempt.


2. Portability:

HSAs are portable, meaning the account stays with the individual even if they change jobs or health insurance plans.


3. No Use-It-or-Lose-It Rule:

Unlike FSAs, funds in an HSA roll over from year to year, allowing individuals to build a significant savings cushion for future healthcare expenses.


The Tax Advantages of FSAs and HSAs

Both FSAs and HSAs offer tax advantages that can significantly benefit participants:


1. Reduced Taxable Income:

Contributions made to FSAs and HSAs are made with pre-tax dollars, lowering participants' taxable income.


2. Tax-Free Growth and Withdrawals:

Funds in HSAs grow tax-free, and withdrawals for qualified medical expenses from both accounts are tax-exempt, providing substantial savings.


Choosing the Right Option

When deciding between FSAs and HSAs, individuals should consider factors like their healthcare needs, expected expenses, and the flexibility of each accounts. While FSAs offer pre-tax contributions but have a "use-it-or-lose-it" rule, HSAs provide triple tax benefits and long-term savings potential but require enrollment in an HDHP.


Conclusion

Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) are valuable tools for managing healthcare expenses while enjoying tax advantages. Understanding their functionalities and tax benefits can empower individuals to make informed decisions regarding their healthcare savings. At Ross & Yerger, we specialize in providing guidance on navigating these accounts, maximizing their benefits, and securing financial well-being.


Contact us today to learn more about how FSAs and HSAs can work for you, offering tax advantages and efficient healthcare expense management.



 

Will Garner

VP/Shareholder

601-944-0960

Jackson Office


Will Garner is a Producer at Ross & Yerger on the Employee Benefits team. He joined Ross & Yerger in 2007.


 

ABOUT ROSS & YERGER


Ross & Yerger – one of the largest independent, privately-held insurance agencies in the Southeast – was established in 1860 and is headquartered in Jackson, MS. The firm has 150 employees throughout their five offices in Jackson, Tupelo, Hattiesburg, New Orleans, and Memphis. Ross & Yerger is licensed in all 50 states and offers a full range of brokerage services, including insurance, employee benefits, bonds, financial services, and risk management consulting. For more about Ross & Yerger, visit www.rossandyerger.com.

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