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HSA vs. FSA Differences | Chime

There are several differences between an HSA and FSA, including ownership, eligibility, benefits, and limitations. One of the main differences is an HSA is owned by the individual (you!), while an FSA is managed by the employer. 

Overall, an HSA tends to have more flexibility and higher contribution limits. It also grants rollover if you don’t use all of your funds by the end of the year. But, to have an HSA, you must be enrolled in a high-deductible health care plan (HDHP). Some employees avoid high-deductible plans because of the potential for some high out-of-pocket expenses. 

Check out the HSA and FSA comparison chart below to get more details on how these options differ.

Health Savings Account (HSA) Flexible Spending Account (FSA) 
  • Owned by you, the individual
  • Offered and managed by your employer
  • Must be enrolled in a high-deductible health plan (HDHP)
  • Cannot be enrolled in Medicare
  • Cannot be a dependent on someone else’s tax return 
  • Must be set up by your employer
  • Cannot be self-employed
  • Cannot be unemployed
Annual Contribution Limits
  • $4,150 annual limit for self-only¹ 
  • $8,300 annual limit for families¹
Contribution Changes
  • You can change your HSA contributions at any time, but can’t exceed contribution limits
  • You can only change your FSA contributions during open enrollment, if your family situation changes or if you change employers
  • Ineligible purchases are subject to penalties and must be declared on your taxes
  • You may need to pay out-of-pocket and request reimbursement
  • You may need to pay for ineligible purchases
  • Unused funds roll over every year
  • After the age of 65, savings can be taken out tax-free
  • Funds expire at the end of each year, unless your employer has a small grace period

It’s also important to note if you leave your employer, you must give up your FSA. The only exception is if you’re eligible to continue it through Continuation of Health Coverage (COBRA).  

HSA vs. FSA qualifications

In order to access the benefits of HSAs and FSAs, you must meet a certain set of qualifications

For an HSA, you must: 

  • Have a high-deductible health plan (HDHP)
  • Not be enrolled in other health care plans (unless permitted by the IRS) 
  • Not be enrolled in Medicare
  • Not be listed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return 

For an FSA, you must:

  • Be employed by an employer who offers the benefit
  • Not be self-employed 

One of the major differences between HSA and FSA requirements is you don’t need to be part of an HDHP to have an FSA if it’s offered by your employer.



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