Any financially savvy person knows that opening an HSA can be a smart addition to your financial plan— provided you meet the right qualifications. An HSA is a tax-advantaged savings account that you can use to pay for medical expenses, offering discounts on many health and medical-related purchases. And although you can certainly use it as a traditional savings account, an HSA particularly shines when you tap into investing within the HSA. The various savings and tax benefits that an HSA provides make it a valuable tool, which has many families asking: Can my spouse and I open a joint HSA?
Unfortunately, there’s really no such thing as a joint HSA. HSAs are, by nature and by definition of the IRS, individual accounts. This is true even if you and your spouse are both covered by a family high-deductible health plan (HDHP).
However, that doesn’t mean you and your spouse can’t benefit from opening and having HSAs. If you and your spouse are eligible to do so—meaning that you’re both covered under a qualifying high-deductible health plan (they usually say HSA in the plan title)—then you can both open your own HSAs. Some employers offer HSAs (and even contribute to them!), but you don’t need to depend on an employer to open one.
Here are a few scenarios to keep in mind before opening an HSA for yourself and your spouse.
Can I open an HSA if my partner has a family non-high deductible health plan?
If you’re covered by your partner’s family non-HDHP, then you unfortunately cannot open an HSA, and neither can your partner. If you’re not covered by your spouse’s family plan, however, and you have a HDHP, then you can go ahead and open an HSA.
Can I use my HSA funds to pay for my spouse’s medical expenses?
You definitely can, even if your spouse doesn’t have an HSA or a HDHP. You can also use your HSA funds to pay for the medical expenses of any dependent children claimed on your income tax return. This is true even if your spouse has individual-only coverage under a traditional medical plan.
What are our total HSA contributions if my spouse has an HSA-eligible family plan and I have an individual-only HSA-eligible plan?
It’s enough for just one spouse to be enrolled in an HSA-eligible family plan in order to qualify for the family maximum contribution limit (which is up to $7,200 for 2021). However, this is only possible if both spouses are covered by an HSA-eligible plan. Whether the plan is a family-coverage or individual-only plan simply affects how much contribution room you have in your HSA.
The most common mistake when both spouses have their own individual HSAs and are covered under family versus individual plans is to think: Now we have more contribution room. It may be tempting to think that, together, you now have $10,800 in available contributions since your spouse is contributing the maximum family amount ($7,200) and you’re contributing the maximum individual amount ($3,600). But this is misleading: In the eyes of the IRA, you’re one taxable unit, which means you and your spouse share a contribution limit of $7,200—split among two separate HSAs.
What happens if both spouses work for the same employer?
If both spouses work for an employer who offers HSAs, then there are a couple of rules to keep in mind. As it stands, two spouses may not both contribute to a single HSA via payroll deduction. Both spouses may contribute to their individual accounts via payroll deduction and then use funds from either HSA to pay for each other’s medical expenses. Alternatively, they can choose to only have one spouse open an HSA and have only that spouse contribute to it.
Are there any benefits to my spouse opening their own HSA?
Of course! For one, you and your spouse can make use of an HSAs triple-tax-advantages. Since you can claim medical expenses at any time after your HSA was established, you can pay them or reimburse yourself with HSA funds from either of your accounts at any time. This is a great strategy to hack your tax bill down the line, especially if one spouse falls into a higher tax bracket than the other.
If you or your spouse are 55 or older and qualify for an HSA, then you should also definitely open one in order to take advantage of catch-up contributions of $1,000 pre-tax. This will allow you to stretch your yearly contribution limit, which usually can’t exceed the maximum family limit, a bit more.
So although there’s no such thing as a joint HSA, there are plenty of ways that you and your spouse can benefit from having HSAs, now and in the future. Just make sure you qualify and don’t exceed the contribution limit.