A tax-advantaged medical savings account accumulates funds the owner may use for qualified medical expenses without federal tax liability. Funds rollover from one year to the next, providing money that can be used to pay for health care as needed.
To use an HSA, you must also have a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP), an inexpensive health insurance policy with much higher out-of-pocket costs than usual. The deductible paid on this plan covers all medical expenses and preventative care, prenatal care, and physicals. All other expenses are paid using funds in your health savings account.
Portable, flexible and affordable (as long as you rarely seek medical care), an HSA provides a place where you can deposit non-taxable money to be collected when you retire (if never used). Each year, you and your employer can contribute to your HSA up to the deductible amount of your HDHP.
Unlike most managed-care insurance policies, HSAs require no gatekeeper, allowing participants to manage and be responsible for their own health care. Because of this, the Health Savings Account is often referred to as a “consumer-driven health care” plan.