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Smart Benefits: Help Employees Maximize the Benefits of HSAs

Monday, October 22, 2018


Rob Calise

Health savings accounts (HSAs), coupled with a high-deductible health plan, are on the rise, with enrollment growing steadily since their introduction in 2004.

That’s because the plans give participants more control and empowerment when it comes to healthcare decisions, which can help them save. But even though more employees are selecting HSAs for their insurance coverage, not all understand the full benefits of the accounts.

Here are three ways to help workers get the most out of the plans.

  • Encourage Employees to Think 401(k), Not FSA. With an FSA, savings don’t roll over from year to year. But an HSA can be part of a longer-term investment strategy because the funds roll over and the plans are portable, so they move with employees between jobs and at retirement.
  • Share the Triple-Tax Benefit: HSAs offer a number of valuable tax benefits to employees: contributions are tax deductible (or pretax if made through payroll deduction), savings grow tax free, and withdrawals on qualified expenses are also not taxed.
  • Communicate Covered Expenses: Participants can withdraw HSA funds tax-free to pay for eligible medical expenses. And the list of what the money can be used for, listed in IRS Publication 502, is extensive. Beyond medical and dental care, the funds can also be used for things like acupuncture, chiropractors, eye glasses, fertility treatments and more.


Rob Calise is the Managing Director, Employee Benefits of The Hilb Group of New England, where he helps clients control the costs of employee benefits by focusing on consumer-driven strategies and on how to best utilize the tax savings tools the government provides. Rob serves as Chairman of the Board of United Benefit Advisors, and is a board member of the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of RI Broker Advisory Board, United HealthCare of New England Broker Advisory Board and Rhode Island Business Healthcare Advisors Council. He is also a member of the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU), American Health Insurance Association (AHIA) and the Employers Council on Flexible Compensation (ECFC), as well as various human resource associations. Rob is a graduate of Bryant University with a BS in Finance


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