Which healthcare savings account is right for you?

Jun 20, 2023, 6:00 PM | Updated: Jun 23, 2023, 2:53 pm


SALT LAKE CITY — Because healthcare is expensive, you have decided to save money by spending tax-free dollars by using one of two accounts: health savings or flexible spending. But which one is right for you? An expert weighs in on the two options.

According to, a Health Savings Account is a type of savings account that lets you set aside money on a pre-tax basis to pay for qualified medical expenses. By using untaxed dollars in a HSA to pay for deductibles, co-payments, co-insurance and some other expenses, you may be able to lower your overall healthcare costs. But HSA funds generally may not be used to pay premiums.

If you have a health plan through a job, you can use a Flexible Spending Account to pay for healthcare costs, such as deductibles, copayments, coinsurance and some medications.

With an FSA, you submit a claim to the FSA (through your employer) with proof of the medical expense and a statement that it hasn’t been covered by your plan. Then, you’ll get reimbursed for your costs. 

An FSA can also lower your taxes, according to

To learn more about FSAs, including how to sign up. Get details from the IRS in this publication.

Let’s talk with an expert

Heidi Castaneda, assistant vice president of Individual and Small Employer Products at SelectHealth, joins Dave Noriega and guest co-host Maura Carabello to discuss what you should know about Health Savings Accounts and Flexible Spending Accounts.

“We’ve talked to you in the past, Heidi, about health savings accounts,” Dave said. “Can you help differentiate — like when do we use Health Savings Accounts and how do they differ from Flex Spending Accounts?”

“In general, when you talk about an HSA or an HSA plan, in order to be eligible, you have to pair it with the correct health plan, with a qualified high-deductible health plan,” Castaneda said.

“So in theory, the idea is that you purchase generally a lower cost health plan with higher deductibles and out-of-pocket [costs],” Castaneda said. “Then you get the opportunity to put tax-free money away into an HSA to help fund some of those upfront costs that you might be contending with when you have a high-deductible health plan.”

Contribution caps climb for next year

“Part of the reason why we’re talking about health savings accounts is because the IRS just announced that they’re raising the amount that you can put into your health savings account,” Dave said.

“Every year the deductibles, the out-of-pocket and the contribution limits usually adjust slightly, but we did just see a pretty big jump for 2024,” Castaneda said. “So for example, if it’s just you, you can contribute up to $4,150 into your account every year. If you’re a family, it goes to $8,300. And there are even provisions for people who are over 55 [who] can contribute a little bit more than that.”

Differences between two savings accounts

Dave said he has had a FSA for a long time. In one especially healthy year, he had $1,500 set aside in his Flexible Spending Account. 

“It is one of those situations where if you don’t spend the money, you just flat out lose it. I don’t understand the concept, but thems the rules. And I remember buying Gucci sunglasses, like prescription sunglasses, just to spend the money because that was covered. I must have had a $700 pair of glasses that I did not need.”

“One of the big differences between an FSA and an HSA is that those [Health Savings Account] dollars are yours,” Castaneda said. “And we just talked about, you spend it or you lose it at the end of the year. In an HSA, that’s not the case actually.”

Spend it or lose it

If you have an FSA, the government advises that you plan ahead:

At the end of the year or grace period, you lose any money left over in your FSA. Don’t put more money in your FSA than you think you’ll spend within a year on things like co-payments, co-insurance, drugs and other allowed healthcare costs.

But your employer may offer one of two options:
1. It can provide a “grace period” of up to 2½ extra months to use the money in your Flexible Spending Account.
2. It can allow you to carry over up to $610 per year to use in the next year.

Related: Here’s how AI could help Utah healthcare workers


Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play. 

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.



Michelle Lee

Find greater happiness through joy-filled connections

Let’s Get Moving Host Maria Shilaos spoke with Clinical Psychologist Dr. Carla Manly to learn how we can boost happiness through connections.

1 day ago

The Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City, Utah.A Utah cancer researcher says more study is n...

Don Brinkerhoff and Simone Seikaly

Utah cancer researcher says new accelerated aging study needs more examination

A new study says accelerated aging may be linked to early-onset cancer, but a Utah cancer researcher says more investigation is needed.

2 days ago

It's Child Abuse Prevention Month, and Intermountain wants parents to know how to deal with the str...

Devin Oldroyd

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month; Parents should know how to handle baby stress

It's Child Abuse Prevention Month, and Intermountain wants parents to know how to deal with the stress of a new baby

2 days ago

A team at the University of Utah has received funding to research if ultrasound technology can help...

Britt Johnson

University of Utah using funding for ultrasound research to treat addiction

Could an ultrasound help cure addiction? A team of researchers at the University of Utah thinks so.

3 days ago

Pickleball has exploded in popularity in Utah and across the nation. Perhaps not surprisingly, so h...

Amanda Dickson

Dickson: Preventing pickleball injuries

A Utah doctor reports seeing an increase in overuse injuries associated with pickleball, especially in players over age 55.

4 days ago

Melatonin is a hormonal sleep aid. According to the Mayo Clinic, melatonin is produced and released...

Alexandrea Bonilla

Melatonin companies given two years to childproof their product, after melatonin related ER visits increase

The CDC said more than 11,000 children went to the ER in the last two years after ingesting melatonin.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.


Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

Which healthcare savings account is right for you?