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Bend FAQs

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FAQs for Individuals

What’s an HSA?

A Health Savings Account (HSA) is a special type of savings account that lets you put aside pre-tax money to pay for qualified medical expenses now or in the future. Some of these expenses include copays or deductibles for doctor visits, prescription medications and more. Download a complete list of these qualified medical expenses (reference IRS Section 213d). By allowing you to save pre-tax money, an HSA helps you keep more of your hard-earned money and lower your overall healthcare costs.

How is an HSA different from a flexible spending account (FSA)?

Both an HSA and an FSA let you save pre-tax money for qualified medical expenses. But that’s where the similarities end. The eligibility requirements for these accounts and the annual contributions you can make are different for each. Perhaps the most talked about difference between these accounts is that the money you invest in an HSA does not expire at the end of the year. It can continue to grow and is yours to keep. With an FSA, you may have to forfeit your unused funds after the plan year ends or if you terminate with your employer.

Are there any requirements for opening and contributing to an HSA?

Yes. You need to have an HSA-eligible High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP). These types of health plans will be identified by your health insurance carrier or your employer. In 2018, health plans with a deductible of at least $1,350 for individuals and $2,700 for families typically qualify. The annual out-of-pocket expenses for an individual can’t be more than $6,650 or $13,300 for family coverage. For 2019 plans, the annual out-of-pocket expenses for an individual can’t be more than $6,750 or $13,500 for family coverage. Self-employed individuals who are covered under a qualified plan may also contribute.

You are not eligible for an HSA if you are covered by your spouse’s health insurance plan that is not a qualified HDHP. You are also not eligible for an HSA if you are claimed as a dependent on another person’s tax return or if you are enrolled in Medicare. However, if you already have an HSA and are enrolled in Medicare, you can continue to use your HSA funds for eligible medical expenses, but you cannot make new HSA contributions or open a new HSA.

Once you have an HSA and have contributed to it, you can spend it on qualified healthcare expense, regardless of the type of health care coverage you have.

Why should I put money in an HSA?

An HSA does more than just let you save pre-tax dollars to pay for qualified medical expenses. It can play a pivotal part in your long-term financial wellness. For starters, an HSA offers you numerous tax advantages. Your HSA contributions are not taxed and your funds are able to grow tax-free. Plus, all your withdrawals for qualified medical expenses are also free of any taxes.

You can also invest your HSA balance in mutual funds, just like a 401(k), and the money that you earn from these investments is tax-free. Your funds can continue to grow year after year and be used to pay for healthcare expenses incurred after the date you opened the account, as long as you have not already claimed them as a deduction.

Finally, you can take comfort knowing you’ll always have access to the money in your HSA—even if you switch jobs or decide to leave the workforce. Plus, after age 65, you can withdraw funds from your HSA for non-qualified expenses without penalty, although you will pay ordinary income tax on that withdrawal. There are no taxes, whatsoever, if you withdraw for eligible medical expenses.

What if I already have an HSA?

Your Bend HSA can be combined with a Limited Purpose Flexible Spending Account (LPFSA) and/or a Dependent Day Care Flexible Spending Account (DCFSA). An LPFSA can be used to pay for eligible out-of-pocket dental or vision expenses, while a DCFSA can be used to pay for eligible dependent care services, such as preschool, summer day camp, before or after school programs and child or adult daycare. You can also roll your other HSA accounts into your Bend HSA. Go into Bend, select Resources. On the Forms tab, download the “HSA Trustee Transfer to UMB from Other Trustee” form and follow the directions on the form.

Do I have to prefund my account?

Bend makes contributing to your HSA easy. If and when you have an eligible expense, you can easily update your payroll contribution amount in Bend for a one-time contribution or ongoing contributions. Bend also helps you proactively identify eligible expenses by letting you link up your personal credit or debit cards. Bend will look for potentially eligible expenses from your transaction history.

How much money can I put into my HSA?

The government determines how much you are allowed to contribute to your Bend HSA each year. For 2018, individuals could contribute a maximum of $3,450 and families could contribute $6,900. For 2019, individuals can contribute a maximum of $3,500 and families could contribute $7,000. If you are age 55 or older, you can contribute an additional $1,000 — which is considered a “catch-up” contribution allowing you to “catch up” on your savings.

If I leave my current employer, is the money in my HSA transferable?

Yes, that’s one of the advantages of having an HSA. The money in your account is yours. You can retain your Bend HSA as long as you want. You may also choose to transfer some or all of your HSA funds to another HSA at any time. There is a $25 fee associated with this transfer.

Can the money in my HSA be invested? If so, how?

Yes. Any amount in excess of the $1,000 cash balance reserve amount can be invested. Bend allows you to invest your funds into stocks, bonds and mutual funds. Simply access your investment account and complete the simple setup. Investment access is provided by our partner custodian bank, UMB Bank. Invested funds are not FDIC insured and may lose value, and they have no bank guarantee.

What about when I retire?

The money in your Bend HSA is yours regardless of whether you are working or not. Having a Bend HSA is a smart way to ensure that you have ample funds on hand to pay for even non-medical expenses long into your retirement.

How does contributing to my HSA help me lower my healthcare costs?

All funds contributed to your HSA are tax exempt, and when you contribute through payroll, you also save on payroll taxes. As you fund your Bend HSA, and as we help you find all of your healthcare eligible expenses, every dollar you spend on those eligible expenses keeps that money from being taxed. Furthermore, as you save and invest money in your HSA, any earnings on that money will also be tax free. For example, if you pay 25% taxes on your earnings, you would have to earn $1,000 to pay for a $750 doctor’s visit. If you spend out of your HSA, $750 of your earnings cover the expense, while the other $250 can go into your pocket. Better yet, you can put that $250 in your HSA, invest it and have it earn more money tax free. With Bend, we make finding those expense and taking advantage of your HSA seamless and simple, potentially saving you thousands of dollars through your working years and into retirement.

What expenses are covered? [PDF]
What if my coverage under a HDHP stops?

You can still use your HSA, but you can no longer contribute to your HSA.

How is the Bend HSA different from other HSAs?

Bend starts by being designed and delivered with an excellent user experience in mind, making it easy for customers to interact and engage with their HSA account. Bend’s HSA allows customers to start their HSA without needing to become experts, and through its Bend Advisor will deliver timely and unique advice to help consumers maximize their HSA with ease. The Bend Advisor also goes beyond the HSA and engages customers to help them achieve financial wellness.

What does the Bend Advisor do?

The Bend Advisor learns about the unique situation of each customer and provides actionable advice to the customer so they can easily maximize their tax savings, spend more wisely, save and grow their accounts and achieve financial wellness.

How does Bend work?

It’s simple. You open your HSA with Bend by following our few simple steps online.

Once your account is setup, you link your personal bank account to make reimbursement easy. You can also link any personal credit or debit cards you use to make health care purchases.

That’s it. From there, The Bend Advisor will identify potentially eligible expenses for you and offer to update your payroll deduction for you, or offer to send you a reimbursement from your HSA, etc. The Bend Advisor will learn about you the more you use it and will guide you to help you achieve those goals.

How does Bend help me with financial health?

Bend’s mission is to relentlessly look for ways to make health savings accounts better. We will revolutionize HSAs by implementing innovative and disruptive solutions that simplify the user experience, organize information and guide participants on how to best use their HSA. We enable individuals to more effectively contribute, grow, and use tax-free funds for qualified medical expenses, and simplify the plan administrators experience with an HSA.

FAQs for Employers

Why should my company offer a Bend HSA to our employees?

Bend makes it easy for your employees to go through their HSA Journey, whether they’re a spender, saver or investor. Our excellent user experience and innovative technology, the Bend Advisor, help employees feel confident they’re using their HSA correctly and maximizing its benefits. This drives greater engagement, satisfaction and tax savings to both your employees and your company. This unique and differentiated offering will also help you recruit and retain talent.

Why is Bend better than other HSAs?

Bend offers a superior user experience that engages individuals and helps them maximize their tax savings, spending and growth. It guides customers through the process and offers timely and unique advice to each customer. Other HSAs are mainly transactional accounts with some good tools but require customers to learn. Bend learns about customers, engages them and guides them towards financial health.

How does Bend support my company?

We’re here to help support you and your employees every step of the way. Using advanced technologies, Bend learns about your employees and their goals in order to guide them on what to do next. In addition, we’re here to do the heavy lifting for staff. Bend helps reduce the headache of managing an HSA program through automation. And with our integration into payroll, even frequent payroll updates are automated so you don’t have any additional workload to manage. Bend also offers educational material for pre-enrollment, online resources, videos and may participate in benefit fairs and enrollment meetings.

How does the Bend HSA help me save money?

Because Bend makes it easy for employees to identify eligible expenses and increase their pre-tax payroll contributions as they go, it leads to a growth in employee contributions. The more employees make an HSA contribution, the lower your payroll taxes and the greater your FICA tax savings.

How is Bend integrated within my ecosystem of other vendors?

Bend integrates with many other providers of services to employers, such as enrollment systems, HRIS and payroll. When those integrations are enabled, we leverage the existing integration to activate features and increase convenience to employers and employees.

Does Bend use the latest technology and security?

Bend is a completely new and innovative HSA platform built using the very latest tools and technologies. We make extensive use of the Amazon cloud infrastructure to build a platform that is highly available and highly scalable. Our security uses best practices to secure your data. All of your information is encrypted both in transit and at rest, and your credentials are stored so that no one at Bend has access to them.

We use the following technologies as part of our infrastructure: intrusion detection, intrusion prevention, malware protection, leading-edge firewalls, keyless computing and serverless computing (Amazon Lambda and Amazon Step Functions). Our data is stored in Aurora, Amazon’s high-speed, fully scalable database service. We also make full use of infrastructure as code (IaC) and can scale quickly and easily. Finally, your data is geo-replicated for absolute safety and recoverability.

FAQs for Partners

How can I be sure my client’s money is safe with Bend?

Bend’s HSAs are FDIC insured and held at market recognized institutions.

Can the Bend HSA be branded underneath my logo?

Yes, we can co-brand or white-label the experience. Please contact us to see if your program qualifies.

How does the Bend HSA make me look good to my clients?

Bend will increase employee engagement and satisfaction, along with increase tax savings for both employees and employers.

Is the Bend HSA more innovative than other HSAs?

Yes. Bend offers a superior user experience that engages individuals and helps them maximize their tax savings, spending and growth. Other HSAs are mainly transactional accounts. Bend takes advantage of leading technologies, including artificial intelligence, to learn about customers, engage them and guide them toward financial health.

How is Bend easier to use for both administrators and users?

Bend simplifies employer plan administration. Employer account set-up and activation can all be done online. Integration with payroll means data flows between the two systems, eliminating the need for double work, reducing time reconciling systems, and providing greater assurance that the information is consistent across systems. If we are not yet integrated with your particular provider, we offer a process that can achieve the same or similar results. Bend also automates updates communications so notifications are delivered directly to employees. 

How does Bend support me and my clients when there are issues?

Bend strives to be best in class customer support, dedicated to getting issues resolved rather than other support centers that measure success by call time. Bend will have customer support specialists based on whether they are helping an account holder or an administrator of the Bend platform. Bend uses best in class call center and ticketing technology to make sure issues are resolved timely. Larger groups will have access to dedicated account managers as well as access to the customer support center.

Does Bend help employers reduce their work load related to managing an HSA program?

Bend supports employers by reducing the headache of managing an HSA program through automation. And with our integration into payroll, even frequent payroll updates are automated so you don’t have any additional workload to manage. Bend also offers educational material for pre-enrollment, online resources, videos and may participate in benefit fairs and enrollment meetings.  

How does Bend integrate with other vendors that employers use?

Bend integrates with many other providers of services to employers, such as enrollment systems, HRIS and payroll. When those integrations are enabled, we leverage the existing integration to activate features and increase convenience to employers and their employees.

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Cash contributions to an HSA are 100% deductible from your federal gross income (within legal limits).

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Interest on savings accumulates tax deferred.

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Withdrawals from an HSA for “qualified medical expenses” are free from federal income tax.

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You can invest your HSA funds, just like you can for an IRA. Your HSA investments grow tax-free. This results in triple tax savings.