Category Archives: Reader Question

How Much Did I Contribute to My HSA?

This question was submitted by a user of EasyForm8889.com. Feel free to send in your question today to evan@hsaedge.com.

I don’t know where to find the amount I contributed to my HSA. The IRS says I had $774 in my HSA account. My W2 says my employer contributed $850. Does this make sense?

The bad way to determine your HSA contribution

First off, using your bank account, HSA transaction history, or W2 isn’t the way to determine your HSA contributions for a given year. Why is this? While these numbers may often equal the amount you contributed to your HSA, they may not equal what was reported to the IRS as contributed to the HSA. Mistakes happen, and sometimes your HSA administrator will miss a contribution or mess up the dollar amount. If this happens, they will report a different amount than you report on your taxes. This discrepancy can be a red flag to the IRS, which is why it is critical to have a “source of truth” for your HSA contributions. This serves as the official amount contributed to your HSA for the year, and if it is not correct, you can have your custodian fix it fairly easily.

Form 5498-SA reports contributions for the year

Each year, your HSA custodian (bank where you have account) is required to send you IRS Form 5498-SA. This form provides an accounting of all contributions to your HSA for the tax year, including personal, employer, prior year, and rollover contributions. Form 5498-SA is the “source of truth” we describe above, and is the final say in what was contributed. It is basically the “writing in stone” between you, your HSA custodian, and the IRS. Thus, if it is not correct, contact your custodian and make it so.

Here is an example of what Form 5498-SA looks like:

HSA_Form_5498-SA_2016 completed

For more detailed information on Form 5498-SA, please see this article.

Where is my Form 5498-SA?

Your HSA custodian is required to send you this form each year before you file your taxes. Generally, you should get the form by January 31st. However, mail gets lost or sent to wrong addresses. If you do not have your Form 5498-SA, don’t worry, you should be able to find this form on your custodian’s website in the document archive. Worst case, give them a call and ask to resend it or email it to you.

Why HSA Contribution amounts are important

Getting your HSA contribution amount is critical when you go to file Form 8889 each year, as an incorrect value can cost you money. If you under report your contribution to your HSA, you will not receive the tax deducation that Form 8889 allows you (by means of Form 1040). You basically did all the hard work for the HSA and didn’t get any benefit. On the other hand, if you over report your contribution, you risk taking too much of a deduction. This results in filing your taxes wrong and spending time dealing with fixing them or wost case, a friendly chat with the IRS.

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Note: if you need help calculating your contribution on your HSA taxes this year, please consider using my service EasyForm8889.com to complete Form 8889. It is fast and painless, no matter how complicated your HSA situation.


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Paying for Health Insurance Premiums with HSA Funds

This question was submitted by HSA Edge reader Laura. Feel free to send in your question today to evan@hsaedge.com.

I was forced into early retirement and the company COBRA was outrageously expensive. I went to the marketplace and found a plan with Anthem. I have been paying for the coverage with HSA funds. Is this an eligible (covered) expense? I am not receiving unemployment benefits.

How to Pay for Premiums with HSA

It is unfortunate that HSA funds cannot be used for insurance premiums except in extenuating circumstances involving job loss. While it is possible this law will change in the future, currently it is not the case. Even so, the rules for paying insurance premiums while unemployed are strict. Long term care and Medicare are included, as is continuing health coverage such as COBRA. If those don’t apply, you can pay for health insurance while on unemployment benefits from the state/federal government. This clause explicitly requires being on state/federal unemployment compensation. Unfortunately this is usually the only real option as continuing coverage via employer sponsored COBRA insurance is excessively expensive.

The IRS spells this out when insurance premiums are considered qualified medical expenses in IRS Publication 969:

Insurance premiums. You can’t treat insurance premiums as qualified medical expenses unless the premiums are for:

  • Long-term care insurance
  • Health care continuation coverage (such as coverage under COBRA)
  • Health care coverage while receiving unemployment compensation under federal or state law
  • Medicare and other health care coverage if you were 65 or older (other than premiums for a Medicare supplemental policy, such as Medigap)

That leaves most people going back to the market place for coverage. In theory, you can pay for any health insurance premium using HSA funds, but you must be unemployed. Specifically these premiums are a qualified medical expense if you are receiving federal or state unemployment compensation. I believe they do this as their filter for who is truly unemployed seeking assistance. So if you lose your job, you can sign up for any health insurance you want, and if you are receiving unemployment benefits, you can pay for the expenses with your HSA. This is part the strategy of building up your HSA to use as an unemployment safety net, as it does provide some flexibility for your funds if you lose your job.

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Note: if you need help with your HSA tax forms, please consider using my service EasyForm8889.com to complete Form 8889. It is fast and painless, no matter how complicated your HSA situation.


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HSA Contribution with Upcoming Medicare Coverage

This question was submitted by HSA Edge reader Deb. Feel free to send in your question today to evan@hsaedge.com.


I will be purchasing high deductible medical insurance on Sept. 1 of this year. I will qualify for Medicare on Sept. 1 of next year. Being that is only 11 months, would it be best to prorate the $3400 for 11 months for 2017 taxes in order to avoid a penalty, or would it be better to prorate each year (2017 and 2018) separately?

HSA’s and Medicare are very entangled as some of the Medicare rules can lead to over-contribution. I would urge you to further research this and apply it to your situation.

Please see my article: Medicare Part A Retroactive Coverage and HSA’s.

Basically, there is a clause in Medicare Part A that applies if you sign up for Medicare after your 65th birthday. In those cases, your Medicare coverage will retroactively apply up to 6 months prior to that date it truly began. Weird and crazy law. The problem is having Medicare coverage makes you HSA ineligible, so if you contributed to your Health Savings Account for those months it can lead to excess contributions.

Best case is this does not apply to your situation and your upcoming Medicare coverage truly beings on September 1st of 2018. Worst case it is will retroactively begin on March 1st, 2018.

As such, this limits your contribution amounts for 2017. I do not recommend using the Last Month Rule to contribute more in 2017, since you may end up failing the Testing Period in 2018 if Medicare kicks in. For 2017, you can safely contribute 4/12 (Sep Oct Nov Dec) of your contribution limit without issue. For 2018, you can contribute the pro rata amount of the months you have HSA insurance and do not have Medicare.

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Note: if you need help determining your HSA contributions in light of Medicare coverage, please consider using my service EasyForm8889.com to complete Form 8889. It is fast and painless, no matter how complicated your HSA situation.


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