5 Surprising Things You Can Use Your HSA to Pay for This Summer

5 Surprising Things You Can Use Your HSA to Pay for This Summer



With open enrollment many months behind us, few people think much about their health savings account (HSA) during the summer. But now is a great time to take a fresh look at which expenses these accounts can cover, as you can use an HSA to pay for many of your summer essentials—and not all of them are obvious.


The IRS defines medical expenses as “the costs of diagnosis, cure, mitigation,

treatment, or prevention of disease, and the costs for treatments affecting any part or function of the body.” As you gear up for summer travels, remember that these things are considered HSA-eligible products and services:


  1. Sunscreen: You can buy thousands of over-the-counter products with your HSA, and one of them is sunscreen/sunblock, so lather it on. Lip balm with an SPF of 15+ is also covered.


  1. Prescription Sunglasses: You likely already know that contacts and prescription eyeglasses are a qualified medical expense, but you may not have realized that this also includes prescription sunnies needed for medical reasons.


  1. Allergy Testing: All those summer blooms can wreak havoc on your sinuses; feel free to use your HSA to test for allergies to pollen, ragweed or anything else.


  1. Band-Aids: Your boo-boos are all covered under your HSA this summer—whether you’re in the market for bandages or Band-Aids, gauze or first aid kits.


  1. Medical care outside the U.S.: Worst case scenario, you’re out of the country on a vacation and require medical care. You can use your HSA to pay for treatment in a foreign country as well as any prescribed drug you purchase and consume in another country if the drug is legal in both the other country and the U.S. Further, you can include amounts you pay for transportation to another city if a trip is primarily for, and essential to, receiving medical services. You can also include lodging for the person traveling with the person receiving medical care. However, you can’t include in medical expenses a trip or vacation taken merely for a change in environment, improvement of morale or general improvement of health, even if the trip is made on the advice of a doctor.


Things not eligible for HSA coverage: summer camps (even for dependents incapable of self-care), and dancing or swimming lessons (even if they are recommended by a doctor). For the IRS’s full list of qualified medical expenses, visit their website here.


Did you know most consumers are enrolling in HSAs to save for their future healthcare needs? Read findings from our new 2018 WEX Health Clear Insights report here.

The IRS Has Issued Another Change to 2018 HSA Contribution Limits




And the saga continues—yesterday the IRS issued its second amendment this year to the 2018 health savings account (HSA) contribution limit.

After announcing in March that it would reduce the maximum amount that a family can contribute to an HSA to $6,850, due to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, it has now returned to the original $6,900 contribution limit for family coverage.

What’s the big deal about $50? A article explains, “In the world of tax-advantaged savings accounts, excess contributions come with a price. In this case, a 6% excise tax—or $3. Really. So, taxpayers were stuck with the quandary: Do I leave the extra $50 in the account, and pay the $3 (and apply that $50 towards 2019 funding), or do I deal with pulling out the excess contribution? Enough people complained, that the IRS came up with a common-sense solution to go back to the $6,900 limit for 2018.”

The Treasury Department and the IRS determined that it is in the “best interest of sound and efficient tax administration” to allow taxpayers to treat $6,900 as their annual limitation. All other HSA/HDHP dollar limits for the calendar year 2018 remain the same, including the HSA contribution limit for single coverage for 2018, which is $3,450.


Want to know more about HSAs? Read our blog post with frequently asked questions about these triple-tax advantaged accounts.

What to Expect at Partner Conference Next Week


by Jeff Young


Around the WEX Health offices, we’ve got all hands on deck to prepare for next week, when our go-to industry event Partner Conference 2018 will be held in Scottsdale, Arizona, from April 30 – May 2. Once again, we anticipate record-breaking attendance from our WEX Health Partners.


As our Partners, you help us connect WEX Health to more than 300,000 employers and more than 25 million consumers across the U.S. and Canada. Because you work tirelessly with us to reduce costs and simplify the business of healthcare, we’re committed to providing a superior value proposition for you in multiple ways. One of these is through Partner Conference, which gives our Partners the opportunity to come together for an intense agenda of learning, networking and celebrating. Here are some of the good things to look forward to this year:


A motivational keynote message will be delivered by two-time New York Times best-selling author Sally Hogshead, the creator of Fascination Advantage®, the first communication assessment that measures how others perceive you.


I’ll also be speaking at the conference, as will these keynote speakers:

  • Jeff Bakke, chief strategy officer, WEX Health
  • Chris Byrd, executive vice president and corporate development officer, WEX Health
  • Matt Dallahan, senior vice president, WEX Health
  • Sarah Gordon, chief strategy officer, Center for Financial Services Innovation
  • Brad Holmes, managing vice president, Gartner


This year’s conference will also include concurrent breakout sessions, innovation demo stage presentations, spotlight sessions, hands-on labs and partner panels. Additionally, there will be numerous networking opportunities, a sponsor expo and the annual Partner Awards dinner and program.


And as Partners, you will get a sneak peek of the exciting new features and functionality in the upcoming WEX Health Cloud June 2018 release, which will include user interface refreshes and mobile payments for COBRA.


You will also hear about upcoming WEX Health 2018 Marketing & Sales Bootcamps planned for June 12-13 in Buffalo, New York, and July 17-18 in Boston, Massachusetts.


Find the full agenda here.


We look forward to hosting you, and encourage you to share your Partner Conference 2018 experience in real time via Twitter #WEXPC2018.

Jeff Young

President, Health | WEX Inc.

Jeff joined WEX in 2014 when the company acquired Evolution1 to expand its healthcare payments business. He spearheads the company’s efforts to simplify the business of consumer-driven healthcare and is responsible for WEX’s growing healthcare business, with a focus on industry-leading technology and a strong partner network. Before joining Evolution 1 as CEO and chairman in 2008, Jeff was the vice president of business applications at Microsoft Corporation in the U.S., and prior to that, he held senior leadership positions at Great Plains Software, helping lead Great Plains through its successful IPO and eventual sale to Microsoft for more than $1 billion. A graduate of the University of Jamestown (N.D.), Jeff serves on the boards of Bell Bank in Fargo and West Fargo (N.D.) Baseball.

Must-Listen Podcast: Opportunities for Banks in the HSA Market

Must-Listen Podcast: Opportunities for Banks in the HSA Market



It’s been only 15 years since the first health savings account (HSA) hit the market, but by the end of 2017, there were 22 million open HSAs, totaling $45.2 billion in assets. The trajectory of HSAs continues to climb rapidly: By the end of January 2018, HSA assets had risen to almost $50 billion and are expected to surpass $60 billion by 2019.


WEX Health sponsored the most recent episode of the ABA Banking Journal Podcast, through which two experts explore the breadth of opportunities that all banks have with HSAs, including account and revenue growth, interchange, account stickiness, and greater engagement with commercial customers.


We invite you to take a listen: