Future Healthy: How an HSA can benefit millennials now (and not just when they're 65)

As a young adult, you probably have a lot of different expenses competing for your paycheck right now - everything from rent to student loans to Saturday night fun costs money, so it's important to choose where you spend it carefully.

And if you've ever looked into what an HSA is all about, you've probably seen a lot of information about how it can help you save for your future. And it's true - the benefits of opting into a high-deductible health plan with an HSA are often associated with using your money later on in life.

The big picture

While future benefits are certainly appealing when you're thinking that far into the future, you're probably wondering what the benefit of contributing to an HSA is right now. After all, if you're a millennial, 65 is still several decades away - so why should you be putting your hard earned cash into an HSA instead of spending it?

The good news is that an HSA is a lot more than just a regular retirement account. Unlike a 401(k), you'll start to see the benefits as soon as you start contributing to it.

Smart savings

As a millennial, there's a good chance you have other expenses that are more pressing than those of your healthcare. Now, we're not telling you to put your health behind anything else. But the truth is, many millennials are still healthy individuals who don't need more medical care than their annual physicals and dental cleanings every year.

Many aren't even taking prescription meds on a regular basis. If you fall into this category, then you probably don't find yourself utilizing your health insurance very often.

So, you could ask yourself, "Why pay more for something that you aren't using?" When you opt into a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) with an HSA, less of your paycheck will be going towards your premium, meaning more money goes directly into your wallet and you can spend it on other expenses that are more pressing in your life.

Perhaps the best thing about an HSA is that the money will always be available to you. You don't have to worry about losing it at the end of your policy year as you would with an FSA. This means that you'll never have to worry about throwing your money away - it will be there if you need it tomorrow or if you need it in 25 years.

Unexpected expenses

Life is full of surprises - unfortunately, some of those are medical expenses. But if you have money set aside in an HSA, you'll have money to help you cover those costs.

You can also reimburse yourself for any past medical expenses that you have incurred since your HSA was established. So if you reimburse yourself for qualified expenses that you initially paid for out-of-pocket, you'll be able to put your tax-free funds towards any other expense that you might have. Just make sure you save your receipts to verify that you reimburse yourself for a qualified expense.

Whether it's for covering medical expenses, or planning bigger investments, our Future Healthy column will help support your path to retirement, no matter where you are on the journey. And for the latest info about your health and financial wellness, be sure to check out our HSA Learning Center, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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