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How Spouses and Domestic Partners Can Manage HSAs

Whether you are married to a spouse or have a domestic partner, there are IRS rules in place for how you can open, contribute, and spend from your HSAs. This article explores those rules and offers tips to maximize your account.

When someone in a household has an HSA, that could bring benefits for the entire household. Here are common situations regarding marriages and domestic partnerships and how you can use your HSA.

Married Spouses

The IRS treats married couples as a single tax unit, which means if one or both of you are using a qualified family health play, you must share one family HSA contribution limit, which is currently $7,100. If both of you have self-only coverage, each spouse may contribute up to the annual individual max, currently $3,550, in their own account each year.

A married couple maintaining two HSAs -- with one spouse having family coverage and the other with self-only coverage -- has three options:

  • Split the family contribution evenly between the spouses
  • Allocate it according to a division they both agree on
  • Put 100 percent in one spouse’s account

If you both plan on contributing to your HSAs, you must have separate accounts. This is true even if you’re both covered by the same high-deductible health plan (HDHP).

Additionally, if you each have your own HSA you can either HSA to pay for your spouse's eligible expenses without penalty. Also, if you both work for employers who offer employer contributions, both of you can take advantage of those contributions if you each have your own account.

You can each take advantage of the ability to make $1000 catch-up contributions when you turn 55, and you can build your savings faster if your or your spouse's employer contributes money to employee HSAs as part of their benefits package. See HSA Contribution Limits - Catch-up Contributions for more information.

Domestic Partners

A major HSA benefit for domestic partners is the ability to contribute up to the annual family max in separate accounts. This is possible if neither of you is a tax dependent of the other partner. Since domestic partners are not married, they are viewed as separate tax entities. This means you can both contribute up to the family maximum to your own HSAs if both of your are covered in a family health plan, even if it is the same family health plan. That means both of you could contribute up to $7,100 for the 2020 tax year. However, you are not allowed to pay for your partner's eligible medical expenses with your HSA.

If one partner is a tax dependent of the other partner, and both are covered by a family health plan, only the partner carrying the coverage can open an HSA and only that HSA can be funded. Both partners could contribute to the annual max, currently $7,100, and the account holder could pay for the partner's eligible medical expenses with it, but the other partner could not contribute to his or her separate HSA.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is my HSA a joint account with my spouse?
No. Spouses cannot have a joint HSA. Each spouse who wants to contribute to an HSA must open a separate HSA. Dollars cannot be transferred between the HSAs. However, one spouse may use withdrawals from their HSA to pay or reimburse the eligible medical expenses of the other spouse, without penalty. Both HSAs may not reimburse the same expenses.
Can I roll my HSA into my spouse’s HSA?
No, you cannot roll your HSA into his or her HSA.
I am married, covered by a family HDHP with an HSA. My spouse is enrolled in Medicare but also covered under the family HDHP. Can I still contribute to the HSA?
Yes. Being eligible to contribute to the HSA is determined by the status of the HSA account holder, not the dependents of the account holder. Your spouse on Medicare does not disqualify you from making contributions to your HSA, even though your spouse is covered by your HDHP.

 

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