Reasons to Sign Up for a Health Savings Account

Some employers contribute seed money to H.S.A.s — about $572 on average for single coverage, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation — and cover monthly bank maintenance fees for workers. For 2021, H.S.A. contribution limits are $3,600 for an individual and $7,200 for family coverage. (People 55 and older can save an extra $1,000.)

Nor do you need to have health insurance through an employer to have an H.S.A. Many plans available through HealthCare.gov, the federal health insurance marketplace.

If you need help in choosing an H.S.A., the research firm Morningstar recently evaluated accounts from about a dozen prominent providers. Accounts from Fidelity, Lively, Health Equity and HSA Authority topped the recommendations for savers, while Fidelity, HSA Authority, Health Equity and Bank of America were recommended for investors.

Look for a plan with no maintenance fee, a low minimum balance threshold for investments and a manageable selection of investment funds, said Leo Acheson, director of multi-asset ratings at Morningstar. Interest rates on savings are so low these days that it really isn’t a factor in choosing an account, he said. But you’ll want to avoid accounts that charge extra fees, like those for mailing paper statements.

If your health plan qualifies for an H.S.A., don’t assume that one will be opened for you. Just a third of employers automatically enroll workers in an H.S.A. if they choose an eligible health plan, according to the Plan Sponsor Council of America, an industry group.

Here are some questions and answers about health savings accounts:

Can I use my H.S.A. to buy masks and other personal protective equipment?

Masks and other types of personal protective equipment aren’t eligible, and neither is hand sanitizer, said Rida Wong, president of Health-E Commerce, which oversees HSAstore.com and FSAstore.com, online sellers of eligible health items.

Health-E Commerce is participating in a campaign to put those items on the “approved” list, including support for federal legislation, introduced as House Resolution 8450. The outlook for the measure, however, is uncertain.