Long-Term Care Insurance

Using a Health Savings Account to Pay for Long-Term-Care Insurance

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

Question: Can I withdraw money tax-free from my health savings account to pay my long-term-care insurance premiums? If I can, is there a limit to the amount I can use? Does it have to be for a stand-alone long-term-care policy, or can it be for a life insurance policy with long-term-care benefits, too?

Answer: You can use HSA money to pay premiums for an eligible long-term-care insurance policy, but the amount you can withdraw tax-free each year is based on your age at the end of the year. The older you are, the more you can withdraw tax-free. The amount increases slightly every year, and the limits are per person. In 2018, people who are 40 or younger can withdraw up to $420 tax-free from an HSA to pay their long-term-care premiums. People age 41 to 50 can withdraw $780, those age 51 to 60 can withdraw $1,560, those age 61 to 70 can withdraw $4,160, and if you’re 71 or older you can withdraw $5,200.

To qualify for the tax-free HSA withdrawals or the tax deduction for long-term-care insurance premiums (see below), the policy must be a "qualified long-term-care insurance contract," which includes most stand-alone long-term-care policies currently on the market. Ask your insurer if your policy is eligible. Life insurance policies that can also provide a long-term-care benefit don’t qualify.

If you don't have an HSA or you don't use HSA money for these expenses, your long-term-care insurance premiums may be tax-deductible up to the same limits listed above. To qualify for the medical-expense deduction in 2018, you must itemize, and your eligible medical expenses are deductible only to the extent that they exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income. Your state may offer an additional break from your state income taxes for qualified long-term-care insurance premiums.

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