What You Need to Know About the Portability of Your Health Savings Account

A health savings account (HSA) is portable, meaning that if you change jobs or health insurance plans, the account and its funds are all still yours. But that's not the only good news about your HSA! Here's what you need to know.
by Julia Rubano January 9, 2020
One of the things we love most about health savings accounts (HSAs) is that they truly exist to help you. An HSA is super-flexible, unlike a flexible spending account (FSA) which is administered by an employer (who can pull back funds if you move to another job! Yikes). Meanwhile, your HSA, well, it can go with you wherever. The HSA owner keeps their account should their employment status change due to job loss, company-change, or retirement. Employers may also choose to contribute to their employees’ accounts… but the individual remains the account owner no matter what.

In case you weren’t already convinced, let’s run through a few instances that may cause some confusion regarding the portability of your HSA.

My former employer contributed their yearly maximum to my HSA right before I left. Can that money still come with me?

Yes. Even though your employer may have been making contributions to your HSA on your behalf, the account still belongs to you. And when you leave one employer for another, that fact doesn’t change. The account, and the money in it, is always yours.

My new employer doesn’t have an HSA-compatible health insurance plan. Now what?

Not being in a qualifying high-deductible health plan (HDHP) complicates things a little bit, but not to worry. While you are not allowed to contribute to your account while without an HDHP, the money in your HSA is still yours.

If your situation ends up like the one described above, don’t fret; you can continue making withdrawals for eligible medical expenses—until the money runs out, at which point you’ll have to wait until you’re HSA-eligible again and open a new account.

My new employer offers an HSA-compatible plan (woo!) and I’ve enrolled. New contributions will be added to my old fund?

Yep. Both you and your employer are entitled to make contributions (up to the annual limits) to your HSA. And of course, you may continue making purchases with eligible medical expenses using your account. And also of course, unlike other savings accounts, the money you contribute to your HSA rolls over from one year to the next year if you don’t spend it.

My new employer’s HSA uses a different bank. Do I have to switch banks?

Theoretically, no, this shouldn’t matter a single bit! You should be able to keep your HSA with the bank of your choice, whether it’s your old bank or a new one.

That said, if you’d like to switch banks, that also should not present an issue. While there’s no benefit to having more than one HSA open at any one time, there’s no limit on how many accounts you can have. So, you can close your existing account and move your funds to a new bank, or you can keep your funds where they are and open a new account. 

Or, if you have Starship already, just close your other accounts and move all of your funds to us!

Once I elect my contribution amount, can I change it?

Of course. With an HSA, account owners can change the amount they contribute at any given time. For instance, if you want to set aside $500 in June but don’t want to do that in July, it’s no problem. Note: This is different than with an FSA, in which contributions are selected for the entirety of the year, and cannot be altered once the plan year begins. Yikes!

I’m a gig worker, does all of this still apply? 

Keep on giggin’ on. Whether you plan on “gigging” full time forever or taking a 9-to-5 down the road, your HSA remains fully portable. It’s with you for the long haul.

Ready to learn more about HSAs and why they’re so great? Awesome, we’re ready to tell you all about ’em right here

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