What makes a friend? Not an acquaintance, not a buddy, but a true, lifelong friend? Someone who’s loyal, someone who gives instead of takes, someone who will support you no matter what… All of these make for relationships that will stand the test of time.

They’re also indicators of a good health savings account or HSA.

In many ways, an HSA is just like a good friend, only better. Your HSA is there when you most need it, always pays you back when you lend it money (with interest! But we’re getting ahead of ourselves), and only gets better with time. It’s no wonder HSA assets reached an estimated $7 billion at the end of 2016, growing 22% over the year before… they’re the popular friend who never lets it go to their head. Below are six reasons you should start a friendship with an HSA, and how it can benefit you both. However, before we get into it…

What is a Health Savings Account?

A Health Savings Account, or HSA, is a bank account that you contribute pre-tax money to in order to pay qualified out-of-pocket medical expenses, to include your deductible, co-payments, and other eligible medical expenses. It’s a smart, convenient option for patients to make payments for medical expenses and benefit from tax savings in the process. By pairing with a high-deductible health plan (HDHP, if you prefer), patients are more easily able to pay for medical expenses, unexpected or otherwise, not covered by insurance. Best of all, by having an available fund for these out-of-pocket expenses through a HAS, patients can simultaneously save for the future, including retirement contributions.

Simply put? If you’re expecting to spend money on medical expenses sometime between now and seventy years from now, HASs are one of the most cost-effective and savvy ways to do so. Moreover, with healthcare-related expenses nearing 20% of total GDP in the United States, it’s important that you’re prepared. Once you form that friendship with an HSA, you’ll reap the benefits for years to come.

I’ll Be There for You

Ever asked a friend to help you move, only to be greeted with awkward silence? HSAs don’t play that game. You are the owner of your HSA funds. The balance carries over from year to year and grows, meaning contributions to an HSA not used are always available and eligible to make payments from as long as you have the account, even if you switch jobs. Just make the call, and your HSA will be there in a jiff.

Invested in Us

You’ve heard the phrase, “Friendship, like HSAs, gets better with age”? Or was it wine? Either way, the HSA comes with interest benefits, too. You will earn monthly interest and have the option to invest in stocks, bonds, or mutual funds, as you would another retirement account like a traditional IRA or 401k. This isn’t money that kicks up its feet… this is money that works for a living. And with healthcare costs rising faster than ever, it’s good to save more.

The Best Things in Life are Free

A good friend wouldn’t charge you every time you wanted to hang out. Why should your money? The tax benefits of an HSA are substantial; contributions are tax-free, interest on the account is not taxed, and all eligible healthcare payments used from your HSA are made with tax-free money. That’s a whole lot of free.

With a Little Help from My Friends

You can always rely on a friend to help you through a difficult time, and HSAs are no different. If your contributions to your account are maximized each year, those pre-tax dollars used for HSA payments offer significant opportunity to save on taxes as HSAs can reduce one’s adjustable gross income and lower taxable income. Money that makes you more money? That’s not friendship… that’s love.

Easy Like Sunday Morning

HSAs have no interest in drama or other needless complications. When an HSA is set up, the account owner will be given a payment card, like a debit card, or checks, that can be used to for qualified expenses. Most banks even offer online portals that allow you to manage your account and make payments You can also use your HSA funds to reimburse yourself for any qualified medical expense that was incurred after the HSA was established.  That’s a maintenance-free relationship if we’ve ever heard of one.

Enough for Everybody

We all have that one friend we love, but the one we can’t really bring around the kids. HSAs, on the other hand, are fun for the whole family. Not only can your account be used to pay for the medical expenses of family members (so long as they labeled as dependent on your taxes), but your family can also contribute to your HSA if they have a qualified HDHP.

A best friend helps bring out the best in you… If that’s the case, health savings accounts may be the best friend you’ll ever have. Using an HSA to facilitate the payment process of medical expenses is a great opportunity to save money by using those tax-free earnings instead of paying with taxed earnings. With HSA payment options available through online bill payments from an HSA, an HSA card, and the ability to reimburse yourself for eligible expenses made out of pocket, paying for medical expenses with an HSA is a smart decision.

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Heather Turnbaugh is the Content and Social Media Marketing Manager at MailMyStatements. She enjoys snowboarding, working out, and napping.

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