Revised Limits for HSA & FSA Contributions

FSA-HSA-contributionsThe IRS and Department of Health and Human Services recently released new limits for contributions to HSAs and Health FSAs for 2017. Contributions by individuals to HSAs cannot exceed $3,400 in 2017, with the maximum family contribution remaining at $6,750, the same as 2016. Once again, a $1,000 catch-up contribution also applies.

Health FSA limits for 2017 have been increased by $50 from $2,550 per employee to $2,600. Health FSA transportation fringe benefits for parking, transit passes or vanpooling are remaining the same this year, with a limit of $255 for each.

The IRS began indexing affordability safe harbors to inflation last year. This year, minimum annual deductibles for High Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs) remain unchanged at $1,300 for individuals and $2,600 for families, with required out-of-pocket maximums remaining at a minimum of $6,550 for individuals and $13,100 for families.

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Comparing Spending Accounts

spendingIf your health plan is like most, finding ways to help members manage healthcare expenses is a top priority. Offering one or more tax advantaged healthcare spending account can help.

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) – Employers and employees can contribute to an HSA tax free and funds can roll over from year to year. To qualify, a compatible health plan must have a minimum annual individual deductible of $1,300 or $2,600 for a family. All contributions count towards the annual maximum, which is $3,350 for individuals and $6,750 for a family. Catch-up contributions of $1,000 are allowed at age 55 or older.

Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRAs) – Like an HSA, this account can be used before a deductible is met and no minimum plan deductible is required. Unlike HSAs, only the employer can contribute; the account is not portable and the employer can approve a rollover provision.

Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) – Section 125 FSAs allow employees to defer part of their income to pay for medical expenses. Both the employer and employee can contribute, but the amount employees pledge to contribute cannot change during the year. If a required provision is in place, up to $500 can roll over to the next year.

The features of these accounts vary somewhat. HSAs offer great flexibility to the employee without an administrative burden for the employer. HRAs do not require a qualifying high deductible health plan, but only employers can contribute. FSAs allow the employee to contribute pre-tax dollars, but the use-it-or-lose-it requirement can be a disadvantage. For help in determining which option is most appropriate for your group, talk with your Third Party Administrator.

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HSA Act of 2016

hsa-fsaLegislation expanding health savings accounts (HSAs) and flexible spending accounts (FSAs) has been introduced in Congress and assigned to committee in the Senate. Just a few of the proposed changes contained in the bills include renaming “High Deductible Health Plans” to “HSA-Eligible Health Plans”; allowing Medicare recipients to contribute to their HSAs and use their funds to cover a hospital admission deductible; and allowing distributions to be used for over-the-counter medications as well as prescription drugs.

While these proposed changes and others included in H.R. 4469 and Senate Bill S. 2449 have received a good amount of support from legislators and industry trade groups such as the American Bankers Association (ABA) and the ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC), no action has yet been taken.

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