How Much You Can Stash in a Health Savings Account

If you had an HSA-eligible health policy for only part of the year, special rules determine how much you can contribute to your HSA account.

Female Doctor Holding Piggy Bank. Doctor's hands close-up. Medical insurance and health care concept.
(Image credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

I had a high-deductible health insurance policy for only part of the year. Does that mean I can’t contribute the max for the year to an HSA? What’s the deadline for my 2015 contribution?

You have until April 18, 2016 (the tax-filing deadline) to make your 2015 contribution. But because you had the HSA only part of the year, you may not be able to contribute the maximum amount ($3,350 for individual coverage or $6,650 for family coverage, plus an extra $1,000 if you’re 55 or older anytime in 2015).

The amount you can contribute depends on when you had the eligible coverage. For a policy to be eligible in 2015, it must have a deductible of at least $1,300 for single coverage or $2,600 for family coverage and meet a few other requirements (for example, the policy cannot have a separate deductible for prescription drugs). Your contributions will be pretax if they’re made through your employer or tax-deductible if you make them on your own.

Subscribe to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

Be a smarter, better informed investor.

Save up to 74%

Sign up for Kiplinger’s Free E-Newsletters

Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice on investing, taxes, retirement, personal finance and more - straight to your e-mail.

Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice - straight to your e-mail.

Sign up

If you had an HSA-eligible policy for only the first few months of the year, the size of your HSA contribution is based on the number of months you had the eligible coverage. If you had the policy from January through April, for example, you can contribute one-third of the full year’s contribution.

But there is a special rule if you had an HSA-eligible policy on December 1. In that case, you can make the full year’s contribution, even if you didn’t have an HSA-eligible policy for the entire year. Note, however, that you must continue to have an eligible policy for all of 2016 or you will have to pay taxes and a 10% penalty on the money you contributed for the months that you didn’t have the policy in 2015, says Stephen Neeleman, founder of HSA administrator HealthEquity. For more information about the last-month rule and the penalty calculation, see the Instructions for IRS Form 8889.

For more information about HSAs, see FAQs About Health Savings Accounts.

Kimberly Lankford
Contributing Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

As the "Ask Kim" columnist for Kiplinger's Personal Finance, Lankford receives hundreds of personal finance questions from readers every month. She is the author of Rescue Your Financial Life (McGraw-Hill, 2003), The Insurance Maze: How You Can Save Money on Insurance -- and Still Get the Coverage You Need (Kaplan, 2006), Kiplinger's Ask Kim for Money Smart Solutions (Kaplan, 2007) and The Kiplinger/BBB Personal Finance Guide for Military Families. She is frequently featured as a financial expert on television and radio, including NBC's Today Show, CNN, CNBC and National Public Radio.