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I am just about to leave my high deductible plan for a plan that is not HSA-eligible. As I understand it, I could max out my HSA for the year right now, and then I could use the money in my HSA for medical expenses, even though I will no longer have an HSA-eligible insurance plan. Is that correct?

Theoretically, could someone change their insurance to an HSA-eligible plan for one month per year, contribute the max to your HSA, and then switch back to your regular plan. Is that right, or am I missing something?

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In short no you can't max out your contributions for the year and then switch to another non HSA plan or drop insurance altogether. You can contribute 1/12 of your contribution limit for each month you have a qualified HSA plan.

The only exception is for December if you have a qualified HSA plan December 1st you can take the entire years worth of contributions, but in order to do so and not be penalized you must remain in an HSA plan for at least 1 year. You should keep this in mind if you have had your HSA plan for less than a year and maxed out your 2010 contribution.

You would be advised to look at Pub 969 http://www.irs.gov/publications/p969/ar02.html

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In most places, you can only change your insurance during "enrollment period", which happens once a year, and if some event requiring change (new employee, new family member, change of eligibility status, etc.) happens. Otherwise, once you have signed up, it's with you for the year.

  • I wouldn't discount the "events requiring change" - you could lose your job at this company and decide not to continue COBRA coverage because its too expensive. I wouldn't prematurely max out an HSA because its a tax hassle to fix. – CrimsonX Jan 19 '11 at 18:03
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Not sure whether this would run afoul of the rule of having only certain types of other health coverage besides your HD plan. If you use another policy for most of the year, you probably can't pull this.

Pub 969 has the specifics.

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