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)|
|Annual Contribution Limits||
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.