Episode 4. Everything you need to know about HSAs and FSAs for freelancers

Opolis understands the importance of health insurance for independent workers and freelancers. For too long, they have had to forego affordable coverage or pay for expensive private insurance – but no more. 

With Opolis, now anyone can find a plan that fits their needs and doesn’t break the bank.  


What Is an FSA and HSA Account?

Medical bills are one of the leading causes for why people use up their savings and even sell assets. But with an FSA or HSA account, you can save tax-free money from your salary to cover medical expenses.


How FSA and HSA Accounts Work and Who Can Use Them

An FSA account is established by your employer. You and the employer can contribute to the account, but the ownership remains with the employer. So, you lose the account when you switch jobs.

An FSA is only accessible to individuals who are employed. Additionally, the account works on the principle of ‘use it or lose it’.  You will lose the money set aside for that year if you don’t use it. 

With an HSA account, you control the amount you wish to invest. Secondly, you open the account and own it. The money you save in an HSA rolls over to the next year. If you didn’t use all the funds, you can use them in the following year.

Anyone, including freelancers, can use HSA accounts.

You also need to meet the following requirements to contribute to an HSA:

  • No one claims you as a dependent on their tax returns
  • You are not enrolled in Medicare
  • You are covered under a high-deductible health plan

A debit card will be issued to any account holder of an HSA or FSA, and you use it like any other debit card to pay for pharmaceutical services, copays, and other medical expenses. 


Major Tax Advantage

With an HSA account, whatever amount you select to be held from each paycheck is saved in your account. The amount you save is not taxed.  For example, say you earn $5,000 and decide to save $500 to your HSA; $4,500 will be the total amount taxed from your pay.

FSA contributions are also made tax-free. In addition, distributions given for acceptable medical costs are exempt from taxation.


HSA Flexibility & Investment Options 

HSAs give you flexibility – you can increase or decrease the amount you save from each paycheck. 

You are also allowed to invest your HSA funds in stocks or bonds. If you utilize the money from your HSA account for qualified medical expenses, neither the growth inside the account nor the distribution of the funds is taxed. 

On the flip side, FSAs lacks this flexibility and only allow you to save the amount contributed until the end of the year.


How Freelancers can Access an HSA 

Opolis urges members to open a HealthEquity Health Savings Account (HSA), available with our High Deductible Health Plans, to help defray the high upfront plan medical fees.

Being a member of Opolis also gives you access to both in-network and out-of-network providers and services, which is a significant benefit. 

You can learn more about Opolis benefits packages at Opolis.co. 

Payroll and benefits for independent workers

Health Insurance, Retirement, Payroll and more for independent workers and freelancers.