Health savings accounts offer three tiers of tax breaks for saving for retirement. Your contributions are tax deductible. Your money in the HSA grows tax-free. And finally, when you take the money out for qualified health expenses, the Internal Revenue Service won't charge taxes on the distributions. However, there are limits to how spouses can contribute to their own HSAs.
Eligibility for HSAs
When you're single, you're eligible to contribute to an HSA as long as you have a high-deductible heath plan, have no other coverage, aren't enrolled in Medicare and can't be claimed as a dependent on someone else's tax return. When you're married, both you and your spouse can have an HSA if you're both eligible. If both you and your spouse are eligible, you must each have a separate HSA -- you're not allowed to have a joint HSA.
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If either you or your spouse has family coverage and you're both eligible to have an HSA, you can contribute up to $6,650 total to your HSAs. The IRS doesn't require the contributions be split evenly between the two HSAs. For example, you could split the contributions so that each spouse contributed $3,325 to his or her own HSA, but the couple could also contribute $6,650 to the wife's HSA and nothing to the husband's HSA, or vice versa.
Extra Contributions if Over 55
The IRS permits people over 55 years old to contribute an extra $1,000 to an HSA each year. If both you and your spouse are over 55, you each can contribute an extra $1,000. However, the $1,000 is specific to the spouse who is over 55. For example, if one spouse is over 55, the total contribution limit is $7,650 in 2015. At least $1,000 must be contributed to the spouse who is over 55, but the remaining $6,650 can be allocated in any way between the two.
Qualified Expenses for HSAs
When you're married, you can spend your HSA dollars on not only your own medial expenses, but also those for your spouse. For example, if your spouse needs surgery, you can spend the money in your HSA to pay for it and not pay any non-qualified withdrawal taxes and penalties on the withdrawal.