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Health Savings Account (HSA) & Health Tourism

  Can you use your Health Savings Account (HSA) for Health Treatment Abroad?

Does a Health Savings Account (HSA) allow you to shop overseas for medical care? It's no secret that foreign medical care is in many cases an excellent choice, being high in quality and big in cost savings. Large numbers of American citizens travel overseas each year seeking medical care, and the numbers are growing. The big draw in all of this is that it may be possible to fund these medical journeys through your Health Savings Account. A Health Savings Account can, in most cases, be used to pay the expenses associated with traveling overseas with for express purpose of seeking out medical care or a specific procedure. The money you withdraw is indeed tax free. Regulatory stipulations say that you can pay for travel expenses if the purpose of that travel is to seek medical care and not of a personal travel nature.

Which eligible medical expenses can be paid for with tax-deductible HSA funds?

As the number of people who have high-deductible policies paired with health savings accounts continues to grow, many patients are becoming more cost-conscious. You can use money in an HSA tax-free to pay for medical and surgical procedures that qualify under IRS rules.

All eligible expenses must be for services or treatments provided as necessary to alleviate or treat a medical condition as described in Section 213(d) of the Internal Revenue Code. For more detailed information, please refer to IRS Publication 502 or contact a tax professional.

Qualified health care expenses as defined include amounts paid for the diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of disease, and for treatments affecting any part or function of the body. The expenses must be to alleviate or prevent a physical defect or illness. Expenses for solely cosmetic reasons generally are not expenses for medical care. Examples include face lifts, hair transplants, and hair removal (electrolysis). Also, expenses that are merely beneficial to one's general health (for example, vacations) are not expenses for medical care.

If you do not currently have an HSA-qualified plan, you may want to consider obtaining one before you receive your medical treatment. If you qualify for coverage this may enable you to write off the entire cost of your trip. HSA instant quotes are available from HSA for America.

Below are partial lists of eligible and non-deductible medical expenses that may help determine whether an expense is eligible for reimbursement. The IRS has also allowed some over-the-counter drugs to qualify as eligible medical expenses.

The lists below serve as a quick reference and is not intended to be legal advice.