My employer offers/manages an FSA (Flexible Spending Account) as part of my health care plan. I put in $800 last year and barely managed to use it up, including expenses in the allowed grace period (through Mar 15). Since I'm pretty new to this, I decided not to put any in this year for fear of losing it (and plan to reevaluate based on expenses this year).
Since I am enrolled in an HDHP, though, I've also been looking at the HSA (Health Savings Account) option, which rolls over year-to-year, but I've read through IRS publication 969 and can't tell if I can even have an HSA. The only part I found that touched on this was:
Other employee health plans. An employee covered by an HDHP and a health FSA or an HRA that pays or reimburses qualified medical expenses generally cannot make contributions to an HSA.
And it doesn't say a whole lot more about the situation (at least as far as I could see).
Am I considered 'covered' by a health FSA if my employer offers it as an option, or only if I elect to participate? I.e., if I do not elect to participate in an employee-offered FSA, can I open my own HSA (assuming I meet all other qualifications)?
If I do participate in the FSA but contribute under maximum (so say I put in the minimum of $240 or w/e), is there any provision for also contributing to an HSA, or does this clause eliminate that? (I assume the latter in this case, but would like some resources describing this interaction)