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Using Your Health Savings Account (HSA) for LASIK

A health savings account (HSA) can help you save money on LASIK surgery. 

HSA for LASIK

An HSA is a tax-advantaged bank account that can help you save money on your federal income tax. LASIK surgery is a good candidate for using an HSA, as the relatively high cost of the surgery means you can use that portion of your income in a way that avoids a significant amount of taxes. 

How to Use a HSA for LASIK Surgery

It’s common to use funds in a health savings account to pay for LASIK surgery. 

Many people can reduce their health care costs by using HSAs, which allow a person to put aside money on a pre-tax basis. In essence, money that goes into an HSA is exempt from federal income tax. Ultimately, this means you may save 20 percent or more on the cost of the surgery through tax savings, depending on your income bracket.

Several caveats need to be considered when choosing this option. First, an HSA can only pay out for qualified medical expenses. This covers deductible medical expenses you would put on a tax return. 

Second, you can only contribute to an HSA if you have a high deductible health plan (HDHP). As of 2022, the minimum deductible is $1,400 for an individual and $2,800 for a family. HealthCare.gov marks plans that qualify for your convenience.

HSAs vs. FSAs to Pay for LASIK

Not everyone can or should use an HSA for LASIK. Another option is using a flexible spending account (FSA)

While FSAs offer somewhat fewer advantages for many people, you can open an FSA while enrolled in a low-deductible plan. If you have concerns a high-deductible plan may cause financial difficulties for you, an FSA-centered approach may fit your needs better.

One type of FSA that can help with LASIK specifically is a limited purpose FSA (LPFSA). These accounts have a more limited scope than other FSAs, but the money can still usually go toward LASIK surgery. Some people even use a blended approach, having a high deductible health care plan and an HSA, but then using an LPFSA where it would maximize savings.

An FSA offers similar tax benefits to an HSA, although you have less control over the account. An employer controls certain aspects of your FSA that can make an HSA more advantageous if it is an option.

Planning Ahead to Fund LASIK

Making proper use of a health savings account requires some planning. The most obvious example is that your insurance package must allow for it. 

HDHPs by definition have a high deductible, which may require financial planning to maximize. If your yearly health care costs are low, and you may not meet your deductible until late in the year, this also means an HSA is likely not a good option for you.

Your contributions are also an important consideration if using an HSA. Make sure your HSA can meaningfully help pay for your LASIK surgery. Research how much the procedure costs at the facility you want to use and plan accordingly.

Will Insurance Plans Cover LASIK?

Insurance usually doesn’t completely cover LASIK, although many plans offer ways to use your package to partially cover costs. 

Companies consider LASIK an elective surgery. It is nonessential for your long-term health, and a cheaper vision correction option usually exists, such as glasses. 

How much your provider may cover depends on the specifics of your plan, but it is worth researching to see if you could save more with a different plan.

Opening a HSA Account

Most people set up an HSA with a financial institution, but insurance companies also sometimes offer their own HSA programs. You may need to do some research to find the plan that works best for your needs. 

Using a FSA for LASIK FAQs

Will the contribution limit on HSAs impact my ability to pay for LASIK?

The individual contribution limit for an HSA in 2022 is $3,650. A family HSA has a contribution limit of $7,300. 

Assuming an individual has either low yearly medical expenses or is making good use of their insurance, this means the contribution limits on HSAs generally aren’t major obstacles in using them to pay for LASIK. Many companies can also help you plan for the express purpose of using your HSA for LASIK if you have concerns about making it work.

What are the benefits of paying for LASIK with an HSA?

An HSA is a tax-advantaged bank account. In essence, it allows you to claim tax deductions for medical expenses. You don’t pay federal income tax on money put into your HSA. Unspent money in your account also rolls over year to year. 

Even if you have money left over in your HSA after LASIK, you can wait and spend it on future medical expenses. This means an HSA doesn’t have many disadvantages, as it is almost inevitable you will have future out-of-pocket medical expenses, and thus can make use of your money.

Where can I find advice for using my HSA on LASIK?

Most companies that provide LASIK welcome questions about HSAs and how they can help you pay for your procedure. You can also contact the organization where you set up your HSA, and they can walk you through their recommendations for using your account for LASIK. 

By contacting both a LASIK provider and the company that hosts your HSA, you may get a more balanced mix of advice. While both organizations likely want to provide genuine help, using the resources of both can help avoid some of the inherent biases any one company has for its own interests.

References

  1. Cost & Payment Options. Kaiser Permanente.

  2. Health Savings Account (HSA). U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

  3. High Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs) & Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

  4. HSA vs. FSA: What’s the difference? Aetna.

  5. LASIK. (March 2018). U.S. Food & Drug Administration.

  6. When Is LASIK Not for Me? (July 2018). U.S. Food & Drug Administration.

Last Updated April 12, 2022

Note: This page should not serve as a substitute for professional medical advice from a doctor or specialist. Please review our about page for more information.