Any employee or non-Medicare retiree who can fulfill the eligibility requirements of the University of California can enroll in UC Health Savings Plan (HSP). The university defines who can enroll in UC HSP. See below for more information about eligibility and rules for the Health Savings Account (HSA).

About the Health Savings Account

Questions about medical expenses

Questions about the HSA and Medicare


About the Health Savings Account

Who can establish an HSA?

The IRS defines who can establish an HSA. The IRS has strict guidelines to determine who is eligible to own and contribute to an HSA. Under the law, you are eligible if:

  • You are covered by a single or family high-deductible health plan.
  • You are not covered by any other health plan, unless it is also a qualifying high-deductible health plan.
  • You are not enrolled in Medicare.
  • You are not claimed as a dependent on another person’s tax return, excluding your spouse.

Who owns the HSA?

You do.

Who can put money in my HSA?

Anyone can contribute to your HSA. However, only the account holder receives tax deductions on monies contributed. 

Do I have to claim HSA contributions from others on my income taxes?

You don’t have to claim contributions you receive from others as gross income on your annual federal tax return. However, UC’s contribution to your HSA is subject to California income tax.

How much money can I contribute to my HSA?

For 2018, the maximum annual contribution as set by the IRS for an individual account is $3,450 and the maximum contribution for family coverage is $6,900. You must take into account UC’s contribution (up to $500 for individuals and up to $1,000 for families) to your HSA to determine your personal contribution for the year. If you are covering your domestic partner under this plan, your domestic partner can also establish his or her own HSA and contribute up to $6,900 for the year; this is in addition to what you as the subscriber contributes. People age 55 and over can make an additional “catch-up” contribution of $1,000. A husband/domestic partner and a wife/domestic partner who are over 55 years old can each contribute up to $1,000 to their HSA.

What happens to the money in my HSA if I leave my job or retire?

You take that money with you wherever you go. The HSA is in your name. It’s your account. If you’re on Medicare or go to another employer that doesn’t have a qualified high deductible health plan similar to the UC Health Savings Plan, you can still use your HSA money to pay for co-pays and qualified medical expenses, but you won’t be able to continue to make contributions to your HSA.

Does the money I have in my HSA roll over from year to year, or do I lose the money at the end of the year?

The money rolls over from year to year. You don’t lose the money left in your HSA or the interest it’s earned. It’s your money.

If I enroll in the UC Health Savings Plan, can I also enroll in the Health FSA?

No, IRS rules limit the use of both accounts simultaneously. If you are enrolling in the UC Health Savings Plan during Open Enrollment and are currently participating in a Health FSA, you must have a balance of $0 in your Health FSA on Dec. 31, 2017. If you think you will still have a balance in your Health FSA on Dec. 31, you should not enroll in this plan because you will not meet the IRS requirements. You may forfeit any unused Health FSA funds, including carrryover funds, by completing the Health FSA Carryover Waiver form (available on UCnet) by Dec. 31, 2017.

Can I take the money out of my HSA any time I want?

Yes. You can take money out anytime tax-free and without penalty as long as it’s to pay for qualified medical expenses. If you take money out for other purposes, however, you’ll have to pay income taxes on the withdrawal plus a 20 percent penalty.

Does the money in my HSA earn interest?

Yes, and the interest is tax-free. HealthEquity calculates, compounds and credits interest monthly. The interest rate is based on your account balance. For current rates see the interest rate page in the HealthEquity online resource center.

Can I invest the money in my HSA?

Yes. Similar to an IRA, many HSAs let you choose to invest your account balance in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, CDs, and/or annuities. With your HealthEquity® HSA, you can typically invest in pre-selected mutual funds after you reach a $1,000 balance in your account.

Is my HSA FDIC-insured?

Yes. However, if you choose to invest your account balance, those investments are not FDIC-insured.

Can I roll the money from an IRA into my HSA?

Yes. You can make a one-time rollover from your IRA into your HSA. You can’t, however, roll money into your IRA from your HSA. Note that a rollover will count toward your annual contribution amounts.

Questions about medical expenses

What is a qualified medical expense?

Qualified medical expenses are those that generally would qualify for the medical and dental expenses income tax deduction as outlined in IRS Publication 502─Medical and Dental Expenses. See www.irs.gov/publications/p502/index.html for a current complete list.

Can I use the money in my HSA to pay for my children’s medical expenses, co-pays and deductibles if I’m not enrolling them in the UC Health Savings Plan?

Yes. The money in your HSA can be used to pay for qualified medical expenses of any family member who qualifies as your tax dependent. However, if the tax dependent isn’t covered under your plan, his/her expenses won’t be applied toward your deductible.

If I cover my domestic partner through the UC Health Savings Plan, can I use my HSA for my partner’s medical expenses?

If your domestic partner meets the IRS qualifications of a tax dependent, you can legally use your HSA funds for his or her medical expenses. Otherwise, your domestic partner whom you cover in the UC-sponsored Health Savings Plan will need to establish his/her own HSA and can contribute up to $6,900.

Do I pay for the full doctor’s office visit when I go to the doctor?

You’re responsible to pay the amount your insurance has contracted to pay your doctor, typically a discounted rate, until your deductible is met. You can use your HSA for this expense. You may also choose to use your personal funds to pay for this expense and reimburse yourself later.  There is no claims submission deadline under the HSA. The IRS allows you to reimburse yourself for any and all eligible claims incurred in the future.

It’s best to have your doctor’s office put the charge through to your insurance, so that you receive credit toward your deductible and know exactly what to pay.

Some doctors may require that you pay up front, but most bill your insurance, and then bill you once the claim has been processed. Make sure you don’t pay more than your portion shown on the explanation of benefits you receive from your insurance carrier.

Can I use the money in my HSA to pay for insurance premiums?

Insurance premiums generally are NOT considered IRS-qualified medical expenses unless they are for:

  • Continuing COBRA coverage
  • Certain long-term care insurance
  • Health coverage during unemployment
  • Coverage over age 65, including Medicare or employer retirement health benefits

Can I use the money in my HSA for non-medical expenses?

Yes. If you do though, and are under 65, you’ll be taxed on the amount you use and assessed a 20 percent penalty. Once you’re 65, you’ll be taxed for monies used for non-medical expenses, but won’t pay a penalty.

Can I use my HSA for eyeglasses, contacts or LASIK surgery?

Yes. These expenses will not apply to your insurance deductible though.

Can I use my HSA to pay for dental expenses and orthodontics?

Yes. These expenses will not apply to your insurance deductible, though.

Can I use my HSA to pay for voluntary cosmetic surgery?

The HSA can be used for cosmetic surgery only if prescribed by a physician as being medically necessary.

Can I access my HSA online?

Yes. You will be able to see your account balances, HSA debit card balance, claim transactions, and more online. You also can pay providers, request reimbursements and manage your personal information. More information will be sent to those who enroll in the plan.

Questions about the HSA and Medicare

I’m retired. Can I still contribute to the HSA?

Retirees enrolled in the UC plan may contribute to the HSA.

If my spouse is on Medicare, can I contribute to the HSA?

It depends, per UC rules. UC will not allow you to enroll in the HSP if you are also covering a spouse enrolled in Medicare. If you are covering your spouse under the HSP, then you have to change medical plans and you cannot continue to contribute to the HSA. If you are not covering your spouse and you continue to be covered under the Health Saving Plan, then you can contribute to the HSA.