insurance

Paying Health Insurance Premiums From a Health Savings Account

You can tap HSA money for COBRA, Medicare and a portion of long-term-care premiums.

I’m leaving my job and keeping my employer’s health insurance through COBRA until I start my new job in a few months. Can I pay the COBRA premiums from my wife’s flexible-spending account or from a health savings account she has from an old job? Does it matter that it’s her account rather than mine?

You can’t use money from a flexible-spending account to pay COBRA health insurance premiums, but you can tap money in a health savings account tax-free for COBRA costs (COBRA is a federal law that lets you continue group health insurance coverage after you leave your job or no longer qualify as a dependent). It doesn’t matter whether it’s your own or your wife’s account. Money in an HSA can be used tax-free for eligible medical expenses for the account holder, his or her spouse, and any current tax dependents.

In addition to COBRA premiums, you can use HSA money tax-free for Medicare Part B, Part D and Medicare Advantage premiums as long as the account holder is age 65 or older. You can also use HSA money for a portion of long-term-care insurance premiums, based on your age (see How Married Couples Can Pay for Long-Term-Care Insurance With HSA Funds for details), and for any health premiums paid while receiving unemployment benefits. Otherwise, regular health insurance premiums – whether for an employer plan or a policy you buy yourself – are not an HSA-eligible expense.

For more information about HSAs, see FAQs About Health Savings Accounts and IRS Publication 969.

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