Using a Health Savings Account to Pay Long-Term-Care Premiums

You can tap an HSA to pay the premiums for a long-term-care insurance policy, but the amount you can withdraw tax-free depends on your age.

A person paying a doctor
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Question: Can I take out money tax-free from my health savings account to pay my long-term-care insurance premiums? If so, how much is tax-free?

Answer: Yes, you can use money from your HSA tax-free to pay your long-term-care insurance premiums, with the maximum annual tax-free amount based on your age.

If you’re 40 or younger, you can withdraw up to $420 tax-free from an HSA in 2019 to pay the premiums; if you’re age 41 to 50, you can take out $790; if you’re age 51 to 60, $1,580; if you’re age 61 to 70, $4,220; and if you’re age 71 or older, $5,270. If you and your spouse both have long-term-care policies, you can each use money tax-free from your HSA to pay premiums, up to the aged-based maximum for each of you (based on your ages by the end of the year). These limits increase slightly each year for inflation.

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To qualify, the long-term-care policy must cover only long-term-care services. And it must pay out if you need help with at least two activities of daily living or have cognitive impairment. Most traditional long-term-care insurance policies qualify. If you’re not sure, ask your insurer if your policy is “tax-qualified.”

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.