Joint HSAs between spouses cannot legally exist. Here’s why.
The IRS mandates that Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) are for individuals only. Therefore, joint HSAs between spouses cannot legally exist. If both spouses are eligible for HSAs, they must each set up individual accounts.
Both spouses may contribute to their individual accounts via payroll deduction, and funds from either spouse’s HSA can be used to pay for the other spouse’s eligible expenses. Additionally, family members or any other person may also make contributions on behalf of an eligible individual.
What if my spouse is also HSA-eligible, but does not work at the same company as me?
Most participants assume, as a lot of married couples do, that both of you can each contribute up to your respective IRS contribution limit as determined by your coverage (individual vs. family). This is true if both spouses are each eligible for the individual limit. However, if either spouse is eligible for a family contribution limit, it is intended to cover both spouses. The IRS views spouses as one tax unit, even if they are filing as married filing separately.” The IRS suggests that the family limit be split evenly between the spouses to avoid exceeding the annual family limit of $6,750.
See below scenarios of how the individual and family contribution limits interact for married couples:
- Each spouse selects an HDHP with individual coverage, then they each will have a single HSA contribution limit of $3,400 for 2017.
- Each spouse selects an HDHP and each insures one child, each of their coverage is considered family coverage, then combined the couple cannot exceed the family – HSA contribution limit, $6,750 for 2017.
- Each spouse selects an HDHP and one is insured as an individual and the other one selects family coverage to include the child(ren), then both will share the family – HSA contribution limit which is $6,750 for 2017.
Though the HSA’s must be separate, you should ensure that the combined yearly contributions for both spouses’ HSAs don’t surpass the annual family maximum. In most instances, it is best practice for each of you to open your own account, because this may increase your savings. If you only have one HSA, then one spouse could miss out on employer contributions, pre-tax contributions (reduction taxable income), and catch-up contributions if one of the spouses is 55 or older (catch-up contributions are available for each HSA holder so long as they have their own account).