HSA Headlines - 2/15/19 - HSA spending habits and more flexibility for seniors?

It's been a very active start to 2019 for HSA holders. A new, major piece of expansive legislation could revolutionize how HSAs are used in this country (if it passes, of course). And more Americans are taking a closer look at their healthcare spending than ever before.

For this week's HSA Headlines, let's take a closer look at what HSA users are really spending their money on, along with a new bill presented to Congress that could make these accounts more versatile for seniors in the middle of their retirement years.

Study shows where HSA users spend their savings - Amanda Umpierrez, PlanSponsor

Today, most third-party administrators market HSAs as retirement accounts in the hopes that account holders will use their HSA as needed while saving the remainder of their HSA funds for retirement.

After all, HSA funds can be withdrawn without a tax penalty at age 65 for non-medical expenses, so that can be a serious chunk of change by the time you reach Medicare eligibility.

But unfortunately, healthcare needs are outweighing the need to save. Lively Inc., an HSA provider, recently released its "2018 HSA Spend" report which surveyed 15,000 HSA users and their spending habits.

Interestingly, the average Lively user spent 93% of their HSA funds on household healthcare expenses, such as prescription drugs, dental costs, over-the-counter items and more. With healthcare costs continuing to rise in the U.S., saving HSA funds is still a smart choice for the future, but it's quickly becoming a luxury option for many Americans, instead of the norm.

Latta introduces 'Stop Penalizing Working Seniors Act' to expand access to health savings accounts" - Sentinel-Tribune

We talk a lot about preparing for retirement, but not as much about using an HSA once you get there. There's a little-known loophole in HSA regulations that could leave seniors ineligible to use their HSAs: if you are receiving social security benefits, you cannot contribute to an HSA at the same time.

If that sounds wacky, it's because it is, and Congressman Bob Latta (R-Ohio) has introduced a bill to correct this issue after an outpouring of inquiries called the "Stop Penalizing Working Seniors Act." This bill would remove the prevention of HSA contributions by individuals enrolled solely in Medicare Part A, which covers hospital care. This is a welcome change and one we hope will pass and be signed into law in the near future.

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HSA Headlines is a weekly roundup of the latest, most relevant news and conversations about your health savings. It appears every Friday, exclusively on the HSA Learning Center. And for more about your physical and financial well-being, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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