A Guide to Evaluating HSAs3 min read • October 19, 2017
Evaluating HSAs differ slightly for individuals, employers, and brokers, but the base strategy remains the same – what is the most I can get, for the least cost and time required. HSA features, like investments options, continue to grow so making sure you are up to date with new options is going to prepare you for open enrollment season.
What could be more valuable than your time? No matter if you are opening an HSA for the first time, rolling over funds or transferring from one HSA to another, the faster and more seamless the interaction, the more time you can save.
Many traditional HSAs are outdated and run by large overburdened financial institutions that lack the focus and customer care to help you get up and running in seconds. So if features like paperless onboarding and an online dashboard are important to you, review HSA provider details to make sure these boxes are marked. The more time you can save, the more value your HSA can offer not only for qualified out-of-pocket medical expenses but for your general wellbeing.
You can tell us if your time or money is the most important thing in your life, but either way, these must be at the top of the list. HSA fees typically include monthly management fees, HSA usage fees and features fees – like enhanced interest rates or investment options. HSA management fees are often charged on a monthly basis. On top of standard and simple administrative fees, there are more unknown fees like HSA debit card usage, statement requests, and of course account closure fees. Be aware of these cost nuances to make sure you don’t get nickeled and dimed.
Finally, there can be fees for higher interest rates or investment options. These can provide greater flexibility but their value offering will differ from individual to individual based on HSA balance, usage and investments. This seems a little too complex for the team at Lively, hence why we made our HSA free for individuals.
The value of your HSA can be measured in your ability to pay for qualified out-of-pocket medical expenses and create meaningful health savings for years to come. Here is a more detailed look into some of the features that can influence those considerations.
- Online Dashboard – HSAs are relatively new, but some of the incumbent providers seem to be stuck in the stone age. Make sure you can review your HSA platform details so you can review your account details, upload receipts, and make contributions online to get the most out of your HSA. HSA management should be easy, online dashboards make your HSA accessible 24/7.
- FDIC-Insured – this is the easiest way to make sure your HSA funds remain safe, and ensures the long-term value of your account, not matter if providers change, get acquired, or leave the space. It’s a simple checkbox, make sure it’s marked “yes”.
- Interest Bearing Account – use your HSA for qualified out-of-pocket medical expenses and make money at the same time. It might not be much, but interest-bearing HSAs can help you grow your HSA funds just like a regular saving account.
- Investments – Using your HSA as a long-term savings vehicle might be a new topic, but using investments to grow your account value sure is not. HSA investments can provide additional value to pay for qualified out-of-pocket medical expenses well into retirement. Just like a 401k, you can invest your HSA and let it grow for years to come.
All this being said, things might go wrong, you might need help, and the faster you can speak or chat with someone, the quicker you can get on with your life. It’s nice to call a company, like Lively, speak (or chat) to their customer service team, not wait on hold, get your problem solved, and get on with your day knowing that your HSA is cared for.