President Donald Trump said in his first speech to a joint session of Congress Tuesday that one of his main principles for replacing the Affordable Care Act is to have health savings accounts play a larger role in helping "Americans purchase their own coverage."
So what exactly is a health savings account?
HSAs, introduced in 2003, offer you triple tax advantages: First, contributions are tax-deductible. Second, those contributions can be invested and grow tax-free. Third, withdrawals aren't taxed as long as you use them for qualified medical expenses, such as doctor's visits, prescription drugs and dental care.
For older account holders, you can use your HSA to pay for Medicare premiums and out-of-pocket expenses including deductibles, co-pays and coinsurance (except Medigap).
If you use an HSA to pay for unqualified medical expenses, the tax penalty is 20 percent, unless you are 65 or older. At that age, you can take money out for whatever you want, but the withdrawals will still be subject to regular income taxes.
A drawback of HSAs is that currently they must be paired with a high-deductible health plan. Such a plan means you'll have to pay a deductible of at least $1,300 for individual coverage and $2,600 for families. The maximum annual out-of-pocket costs for these plans are $6,550 for individuals and $13,100 for families.
In 2017, you (and your employer) can contribute up to $3,400 to an HSA for individuals and $6,750 for families. Account holders age 55 and older can contribute an extra $1,000.