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It’s Never too Late to Open Your HSA

Mar 10, 2021 8:00:00 AM

When it comes to health savings accounts, it’s never too late to start saving, investing and working toward better financial health. You know the saying—better late than never.

But what if you didn’t open an HSA during your open enrollment? Or what if you meant to open an HSA right at the start of the year, but simply haven’t gotten to it yet? Or what if you still just really don’t know exactly what an HSA is and why you should make the effort to open one?

Luckily, as long as you’re enrolled in an HSA-qualified high-deductible health plan (HDHP), it’s never too late to open your HSA. In fact, you can open an HSA anytime (as long as you have eligible HDHP coverage). So, even if your open enrollment window has come and gone, your best-laid plans to have your health savings account open and rolling in January haven’t quite come together yet or you’re still on the fence as to whether an HSA is even worth having, you can rest easy knowing you haven’t missed your window—you still have the ability to open an HSA.

And there’s no better time than right now to open your HSA and immediately begin benefiting in more ways than one.

No Open Enrollment Limitations with HSAs

It’s easy to get confused when it comes to enrolling in benefits every year, and even easier to let an HSA get lost in the shuffle when you’re making decisions and going through the enrollment process. But unlike most other benefits, including tax-advantaged accounts like flexible spending accounts (FSAs), you don’t lose out on being able to open an HSA just because your open enrollment period expired.

Simply put, an HSA can be opened anytime as long as you’re enrolled in an HSA-qualified HDHP. The open enrollment window is taken out of the equation, and you don’t have to wait until the next open enrollment period or until you experience a qualifying life event like marriage or the birth of a child in order to open an HSA and complete the HDHP/HSA puzzle.

So, even if you’ve had an HSA-eligible HDHP for years and haven’t yet opened an HSA, or whether you just enrolled in an HDHP for the first time this year, the same applies—you can open your HSA at any time you wish.

Where You Open Your HSA is Your Choice

Along with no open enrollment or other limitations tied to when you can open an HSA, where you choose to open your HSA is also up to you. There are no restrictions or limitations placed on who you choose as your HSA provider. In fact, you can even choose to open more than one HSA (more to come on that in a bit).

But while choices are a good thing, it’s important to know upfront—not all HSA providers are created equal.

From fees and fund security, to opportunities for investment account growth and overall ease of use—even including how easy it is to open an account—it’s important you take the time upfront to find the best HSA that helps you make maximizing all the benefits of your account quick, easy and headache-free, regardless of how much you may know or not know about HSAs.

A Special Note for Those Eligible for an HSA Through Your Employer

Your employer may have done the homework for you. If your employer sponsors an HSA program through Bend or otherwise, you’re eligible to set up your HSA contributions upfront as pretax payroll deductions, making your tax savings even easier and more seamless. Your pretax payroll deductions eliminate the need to calculate HSA tax deductions on the backend.

Depending on your employer, you may also be able to take advantage of dollars they’ll contribute to your HSA just by opening it. Now more than ever, you can’t afford to leave money on the table. So, be sure to open your employer-sponsored HSA as soon as possible to lock in your employer’s contributions and add even more to your healthcare savings. Get in touch with your HR department or whoever handles the benefits for your company to find out how to open your HSA outside of open enrollment.

If You Have an HSA-Eligible HDHP, You’re Missing Out With No HSA

It’s crucial to understand the main reasons how enrolling in an HDHP and utilizing an HSA help you keep more of your hard-earned money while lowering your overall healthcare costs, among many other benefits.

You can only fully harness the power of the HDHP/HSA combination by opening an HSA. Otherwise, you’re only going halfway and only getting a fraction of the financial benefits.

By completing the puzzle and opening your HSA to work with your HDHP, you unlock a powerful pairing and speed your path to better financial health and more control over your healthcare costs:

  • Save money on insurance premiums–HDHPs generally offer significant premium savings compared to traditional insurance plans. And it’s likely you’ll end up coming out even further ahead with an HDHP versus a traditional insurance plan once you open your HSA and factor in premium savings plus tax benefits.
  • Save money on taxes in three ways–An HSA’s “triple tax advantage” is one of its strongest benefits. Your contributions aren’t taxed, your funds grow tax-free and all your withdrawals for qualified expenses are tax-free.
  • Enjoy the flexibility and portability you need now more than ever–You own your HSA—not your employer or anyone else. That means it’s yours to keep and use no matter what, even after a job change, insurance plan change or retirement. There’s also no “use it or lose it” with an HSA. Your funds roll over indefinitely and can be used for a variety of eligible healthcare costs—including nonprescription medications, feminine care products and many other expenses you might think wouldn’t be eligible. You also receive immediate benefits for anything listed on the IRS’s ever-expanding preventive care list, like asthma, diabetes, heart disease and more. That means you bypass your deductible and the care is provided at no cost to you. And HSAs even allow for multiple contributors—whether your employer, family member, friend or anyone else.
  • Invest your HSA funds tax-free to boost your long-term financial wellness–If you partner with an industry-leading HSA provider like Bend, you can take advantage of the unique ability to invest your HSA balance similar to a 401(k), setting yourself up for an even brighter financial future and saving more for retirement. Best of all, your investment earnings grow tax-free, and if you decide to use your HSA contributions and earnings for other purposes after retirement, you can use your HSA funds for any expense—healthcare-related or not—without penalty after you turn 65.

If you want to learn even more about why it’s a smart decision to choose an HDHP and HSA combination, we’ve got you covered.

With the Right HSA Provider, Opening an HSA is Quick, Easy and Painless

We already covered the reality that not all HSA providers are created equal. In fact, there’s quite a spectrum when it comes to what you can expect depending on where you choose to open your HSA. You can often get a good gauge on how your HSA provider will perform simply by how easy (or how difficult) it is to open an HSA with them.

Be aware, many HSA providers offer HSAs as an afterthought tacked on to their other more established products and services. They offer HSAs to check a box. These providers don’t spend much time or effort with their HSA platforms, which most often means you’re stuck with an account that’s limited in use and cumbersome to manage.

You stand to benefit most short and long-term if you take the time to search out an HSA provider that specializes in HSAs and makes it quick and simple to both open and manage your account.

With a Bend HSA, you can open your account online easily in a matter of minutes and start getting all the HSA benefits with none of the hassle. You don’t have to be an insurance specialist to open your account or a financial expert to maximize it. In fact, you can open and set up your account and take great strides toward better financial health without any HSA knowledge at all.

Here are just some quick highlights on what you get when you choose an HSA-centric provider like Bend:

  • Easy, hassle-free account management—from funding your account and tracking eligible expenses, to monitoring tax savings, reimbursing yourself and much more
  • Bend’s exclusive Deductible Tracker—helping you quickly see your deductible and annual out-of-pocket maximum information directly from your health plan in real time right on your account dashboard
  • Bend’s Contribution Planner—giving you an easy-to-use tool to see how different contribution strategies can produce different results when it comes to covering your short and long-term healthcare costs
  • The Bend Advisor—the industry’s only AI-driven resource that provides you with timely guidance and teaches you as you go to ensure you make the most of your HSA, no matter what type of HSA user you happen to be

And if by chance you have an existing HSA, you can easily roll over the funds from that account into your new HSA. Or, you can leave your existing HSA open and still open a new HSA. The theme continues—with an HSA, the choice is yours.

Already Have an HSA But Want to Open Another? No Problem!

Another common misconception about HSAs is that you can only have one account. It’s actually quite the opposite.

You can open and have as many HSAs as you want, as long as you don’t exceed the maximum annual contribution limit between all the accounts combined. For 2021, that means you can’t exceed $3,600 in total HSA contributions across all your accounts if you have individual coverage, or $7,200 if you have family coverage.

If you’re 55 or older, you’re also eligible for an additional $1,000 catch-up contribution on top of either coverage-level maximum HSA annual contribution limit, meaning you could contribute up to $4,600 with individual coverage or $8,200 with family coverage.

The ability to have multiple HSAs can be especially helpful if you have an HSA through your employer, but would also like to take advantage of the features a different HSA provider like Bend offers. It also doesn’t force your hand if you choose to open a new HSA for any reason at any time. You may ultimately decide to roll your existing funds over to your new HSA, or you may choose to simply leave them in your old HSA until they’re used up. Your HSAs, your choice.

Don’t Wait Another Day to Open Your HSA

If you have an HSA-eligible HDHP but haven’t yet opened your HSA, you’re missing out. Plain and simple, an HSA saves you money on taxes, helps you take control of your healthcare costs and boosts your overall financial health. You can’t afford to wait another day missing out on all the benefits an HSA offers. And Bend is the perfect partner to help you maximize your HSA quickly, easily and without any headaches.

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