Health Spending Account FAQ: 12 Questions Answered

November 12, 2018 4 min read

You have questions.  We have answers.  Health Spending Accounts, explained.

What is a Health Spending Account (HSA)?

An HSA is not only an alternative to a traditional benefits plan but it can also act a supplement to one. HSAs are used by small business owners all over Canada as a special account that is exclusively used to pay for health care services for you and your family. The main benefit of an HSA is it enables you to deduct 100% of your health and dental expenses – without paying premiums associated with a traditional group benefits plan.

How does an HSA work?

The company makes a defined contribution on behalf of an employee(s) into the HSA.  These funds are to be used on any covered medical expenses that are incurred by the employee. The main selling point of an HSA that makes it so valuable is that this is a non taxable benefit to the employee and a 100% business deduction to the employer. You determine the contribution amount when you set up the account.  Once this amount is set it cannot be changed for the year, you can revise the amount of your defined contribution on an annual basis.

What is the main benefit of an HSA?

Simply put, a health spending account (HSA) saves you money. Health care expenses for your family and your dependents can be paid with pre-tax income rather than after-tax income.

Do i qualify for an HSA?

You are a perfect candidate for an HSA if you own a business, have medical expenses and pay income tax.

How do I set up an HSA?

We just need some info about you and your business and then setup is very simple. Start here.

How do I submit receipts?

Take a picture of it.  Submit the picture on your smartphone or tablet(or an actual computer if that’s your thing!). Get paid.

Simple, easy, and clear.

I have a very small business (it’s just me), does an HSA still apply to me?

You are an even better candidate!  The value of an HSA really shines when applied to an owner/operator/one person business. You and your family will benefit immensely from being able to:

  • deduct 100% of your family’s medical expenses
  • get comprehensive medical coverage
  • have a defined amount you pay for coverage
  • reduce your personal taxes
  • and be able to complement your spouse’s plan if they have one

What are the types of health and dental expenses covered under an HSA?

Forget the restrictions of your traditional health insurance plans. The benefits of an HSA are endless.  An HSA offers 100% coverage on a wide array of expenses.  Someone in the family need physio?  Fully covered.  Someone need some new glasses?  No limits. Someone want to get rid of their glasses forever and get laser eye surgery?  !00% covered on . the HSA. See where this is going?

An eligible HSA expense, is a service performed by a licensed medical practitioner, and items must be prescribed by a licensed medical practitioner & dispensed by a licensed medical practitioner or a pharmacist.

Can i give different employees different contribution amounts?

Yes. As long as the employees fit into a clearly defined class, ex. owners, managers, employees, then you can set different limits for each class of employee. If two employees fall into the same class they need to be given the same limit.

I already have a private health plan, can i pay for this through my HSA?

Yes. Any premiums paid to an existing health and drug plan are an eligible expense and can be submitted under your HSA.

My spouse has coverage through work but it only pays 80%. Can i claim the leftover 20% on my HSA?

Yes. An Explanation of Benefits statement from the insurance carrier is needed. This can be submitted like any other claim, just snap a picture and submit.

How much does an HSA cost?

There are a few ways that an HSA can be set up. The majority are set up on a percentage of funds deposited basis, usually from 12-15%.  An HSA can also be set up on a smaller percentage base and a charge per claim basis. Talk to your advisor to see what would be applicable in your situation.

Make sense?  Did we miss anything? Let us know.

Ready to get started. Sign up for an HSA here.

Written by

Davis started in the insurance industry in 2009. He completed a Bachelor of Business Administration-Marketing at the University of Winnipeg in 2017 and us currently completing a Master of Management Innovation at Queens University.  He obtained his full CAIB designation in 2016, has his LLQP certification in 2018 and is currently working on his CIP designation. Although his everyday function is not primarily as a broker, as he works on sales and marketing strategy, he enjoys the opportunity of applying his insurance and corporate innovation knowledge to find new ways to integrate technologies to innovate and make insurance simple, easy and clear.