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CRS — Tax-Advantaged Accounts for Health Care Expenses: Side-by-Side Comparison, 2013

October 24, 2013

Tax-Advantaged Accounts for Health Care Expenses: Side-by-Side Comparison, 2013 (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Four types of tax-advantaged accounts can be used to pay for unreimbursed qualifying medical expenses: health care flexible spending accounts (FSAs), health reimbursement accounts (HRAs), health savings accounts (HSAs), and medical savings accounts (MSAs). Qualifying unreimbursed medical expenses are defined in the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) and typically include deductibles, copayments, and goods and/or services not covered by insurance. The goods and/or services can include medical services rendered by physicians, surgeons, dentists, and other medical practitioners. The costs of equipment, supplies, diagnostic devices, and prescription drugs are also qualifying medical expenses.

Although these four tax-advantaged health accounts share some common features, they also differ in important respects. This report provides brief summaries of the tax-exempt accounts and compares them with respect to eligibility, contribution limits, use of funds, and other characteristics for tax year 2013. A basic discussion of the four accounts is followed by a sideby- side comparison of their key features.

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