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About Kim Parr

Kim Parr is a private practice optometrist, freelance writer, and personal financial blogger. You can follow her journey to 20/20 financial vision at Eyes on the Dollar.

26 comments

  1. Sounds like a great idea Kim! I am so envious- our insurance is not HSA eligible. We are thinking we may need to make some changes in our employment situation over the coming years, and crummy insurance is one of the reasons. We are hoping to have an HSA eligible insurance plan at some point!

    • I don’t know why all plans aren’t HSA ones. Once you understand the basics, it is so easy to at least save in taxes, even if you don’t plan to use an HSA as an investment vehicle.

  2. Vanguard wins again! This sounds like a really good deal and great way to avoid paying more taxes than you have to. We’ve got a flex plan through my wife’s work, but I’m interested to see how an HSA would work better.

    • The limits are so low in Flex plans. I think they are useful,especially if an employer contributes, but HSA’s have soooo many more advantages if you qualify to have one.

  3. Obviously in the ideal world I would invest the funds that I get in my HSA, but unfortunately with my sinus surgeries I maxed out my insurance the past two years so despite putting the max in I don’t have a HUGE amount in it. My wife will likely have surgery pretty soon here so we will be spending money on that. I’m just happy I have an HSA and can prepare for these things. Eventually, though, I anticipate us NOT maxing it out and looking more into investing the money we are putting in there and I definitely will be putting it in Vanguard funds!

    • Obviously if we had a huge medical or dental expense that wasn’t covered by insurance, we’d use the HSA funds, but here’s to hoping we can swing those without having to dip into the HSA.

  4. I don’t have an HSA but had no idea that you could invest the money in the account. Seems like a great idea. Makes me reconsider my options.

    • I have learned so much about these plans over the years, but I’m finally learning how to maximize our money. When I first opened my HSA account, even my accountant really didn’t understand them. I think they are one of the greatest laws to pass from the last decade. I only hope the laws don’t change regarding HSA other than to increase your annual contribution limits.

  5. We got our first HSA last year and are pretty close to maxing it out, and likely will – as well as for this year. I think if you’re not going to spend the money it can be a great option to try and grow the money even further, especially with the costs of LTC insurance. Given that you’d be doing something lie that then going the Vanguard route would be a no-brainer I think to keep those costs as low as possible.

    • I would love to have no fees for the carrier, but I guess it does take something to invest and keep all the tax documents straight. I really, really don’t want to shell out a ton for LTC insurance. It seems like such a waste if you end up healthy. This way, it will be our money and we get to use it for other things if we don’t need the nursing home.

  6. We usually use up our HSA money too. All of it comes from Rick’s employer, though, so we’ve got that going for us. 🙂

  7. Great post Kim.
    Am I reading it right that you use your Emergency Fund to pay for the Medical expenses rather than the HSA? I’d love to do that, but in our situation, we have a lot of high-cost maintenance Meds which wipes out any savings at the start of each plan year 🙁

    • Yes, we plan to use emergency funds for unexpected medical expenses and we can cover things like routine doctor or dental visits through our monthly budget spending. It took a long time to get to that point, though.

  8. We just started using Mr PoP’s HSA as an investment account and I think it will really benefit us in the long run. The only downfall for now is that to get our deposits free of FICA, we’re stuck using he company account provider which has kindof limited investment options.

    • That is a bummer. One good thing about having a private insurance policy is that I get to make my own choices, although I’ve seen that be to overwhelming for some people who end up never opening up the HSA account. It is not hard to switch account providers if he ever changes jobs. All I had to do was fill out one form and fax it in.

  9. I had no idea. Thanks Kim! My HSA funds are invested somewhere but I’m not 100% sure where (I don’t have a lot in there!) This is a great reminder to check things out!

  10. I really need to consider getting an HSA. What are the cons, if any?

    • The only cons I see are if you have to take out the money for non-medical expenses, you get charged a penalty. You also have to be careful about using it for approved medical expenses. You used to be able to use HSA money for over the counter medicines, but now you can’t, so keeping up with the rules is important. However, the list of approved medical spending is huge. Dental, vision, and if your doctor recommends an over the counter medicine, like vitamins or aspirin, you just need to have them write in in prescription form, and keep that for your records. I really can’t think of any other negatives.

  11. I have an HSA account but right now the money is sitting in cash. I don’t have enough in the account to invest it per my HSA administrator. But once I do, I am going to start investing the money so I can get a better return. I don’t plan on paying current medical bills with the money, so investing it for the long-term makes sense for me.

  12. Very informative post. This is the first year I’m contributing to an HSA and it’s pretty exciting. I agree that if you can cover a medical expense without dipping into the account, do it. The tax advantages are just too good. It’s pretty much like an IRA you can only use for medical expenses until 65.

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