Archer MSA is the tax-exempt custodial account or trust that is set up with financial institutions like the insurance companies or the banks. Contributions that are made into this account can also be used as payment for healthcare costs that are not under the health insurance policy coverage.
Benefits from the Archer MSA
- Insurance costs can be lowered
- Contributions, as well as any interest or earnings on these contributions, can grow free of tax until it withdrew. This is like the contributions that are tax-free when it is used to cover the expenses for qualified medical costs.
- It is possible to deduct the individual’s contributions atop the income tax return even if this is not itemized.
Who can have Archer Medical Savings Account?
There are two rules to determine whether the person qualifies for the Archer MSA or not:
- The individual must be working for a small business or a small employer. The definition of a small employer is an entrepreneur who has an average of 50 or even fewer employees in the course of two years.
- The individual must have an HDHP or high deductible health plan. The HDHP has a higher deductible than a number of health plans out there and also has maximum limits when set alongside the amount that must be paid for out of pocket costs.
The premiums for the High Deductible Health Plan are usually 20 to 50% lower than the health plans that have lower deductions. If the individual is self-employed, then these are also tax-deductible.
The HDHP must also meet specific IRS requirements so that the individual can qualify and get his or her own Archer Medical Savings Account. The basis is types of coverage, the minimum annual and the maximum annual.
Who Would This Work For?
The individual can only obtain an Archer MSA if he or she is enrolled in a high deductible health plan that is eligible and qualified. The kind of plan that is ideal for a young individual who is in good condition and single is the Archer MSA because, for others, this can be quite a big and serious gamble financially due to the high deductibles as well as the requirements that must be met to be qualified for the insurance coverage.
If the Archer MSA is the only kind of insurance that is possible to get, then it is better the individual saves and has enough money in order to meet the deductions from the MSA. In doing so, this ensures that he or she is saving money that is tax-free instead of paying the amount right there and then, fresh from the person’s checking account, even after it has already been taxed.
Archer MSA must be paired with HDHP
Usually, the Archer MSA is paired with HDHP or what is called the High Deductible Health Plan. This is because the HDHP has higher deductibles compared to most health plan coverage. It also has a limit on the total amount that the individual must pay to cover the expenses that he or she first shelled out cash for. The premiums for HDHP must also meet the certain requirements set by the IRS so that it can be used with the Archer Medical Savings Account.
Requirements for Archer Medical Savings Accounts
The legislation that provides Archer MSAs expired toward the end of 2007. Taxpayers, as well as their employers, cannot establish Archer Medical Savings Accounts any longer. However, if they have existing accounts prior to 2007 then they can use and contribute to this.
How MSAs Work
Archer MSAs are custodial accounts that come with insurance providers and financial institutions. These are accounts that are tax-deductible and can be used to qualify for medical expenses. Similar to HSA or what is also known as health savings accounts, the Archer Medical Savings Account function in a similar manner as the IRA or the individual retirement accounts. The employee or the employer can also contribute to Archer Medical Savings Account. The individual can deduct from the contributions in the taxes, these are also subject to a couple of rules. Archer Medical Savings Account has an interest that can be tax-free and even tax-deferred. The withdrawals for these medical expenses may often be free from tax withdrawals for the non-medical reasons for it being taxable. If that is the case, then the penalties apply.
Archer Medical Savings Accounts Are Not Substitutes for Health Insurance
It is important to note that the MSAs are not substitutes for health insurance plans. It may be eligible for health care costs that are not included in the insurance. The individual must then cover the high-deductible health care insurance during the time that this has been established in Medical Savings Account.
Qualifying Medical Expenses
There are tax-free contributions and distributions from the Archer Medical Savings Account that can also be brought into consideration all for the purposes of following the medical costs. These are:
- Emergency treatment
- Dental Care
- Prescription drugs, which also includes insulin and medications that can be ordered over the counter as long as these are prescribed by physicians
- COBRA continuation coverage
- Premiums from the health insurance and policy plan if the individual is unemployed
- Ambulance service
- Chiropractic Care
- Lab work
- Vision care
- Doctor’s visits
If the individual withdraws money from his account for other purposes, then the funds are regarded as taxable and considered as regular income.
There is a 20% tax penalty that is applied to the amount of the withdrawal unless the individual is aged 65 or older and disabled. This increase in penalty ranges from 15% in 2011. When the individual is older than 65, then he or she can withdraw the unused portion of the Archer Medical Savings Account in order to supplement the costs of retirement.
The distributions and contributions that have been made must be reported especially when these are eligible medical expenses.
The contributions that are limited based on the amount of the individual’s health plan policies are also deductible. If there is a family healthcare plan, then it is possible to deduct 75% on the annual premium. Other than that, 65% can also be deducted.
Both the employee and the employer can contribute to the Archer Medical Savings Account of the former. The only difference is this contribution is done on different dates. The health insurance policy of the employee cannot have lapses at any given time of that year. The contributions of the employer cannot also exceed the annual earnings.
If the employer is the one responsible to make contributions to the account then it also exceeds the maximum that is allowed by the health plan of the employee. As mentioned previously, the employee must pay a 6% tax atop the amount.
Making Contributions to the Archer MSA
The tax-deductible on the contributions to the Archer Medical Savings Account is made by either the employee or the employer but not by both in a similar year. The employee must also be covered by the HDHP that whole year in order for the full amount to be deducted. The contributions of the employer are also nontaxable to the individual.
There are limitations to the total amount that is contributed to the Archer Medical Savings Account. The maximum of this is 75% on the annual plan deductible on the health care costs. This is for the family plan. It is 65% if it is a family plan. An example of this calculation of this is that a family plan has a deductible of $4,800 and it is possible for the individual to contribute $3,600 every year. If it is, on the other hand, an individual plan, then it has a $2,400 deductible. The most that the individual can contribute is a total of $1,560.
Any contributions that go beyond the maximum cannot be deducted from tax and the individual will also pay 6% for the excise task on the amount. Another limitation is contributions cannot exceed what the individual earned for the whole year.
Withdrawing Money from Archer MSA
It is possible for the policyholders to withdraw funds from their Archer Medical Savings Account in order to cover for the medical expenses that have not been reimbursed. There are some trustees that furnish the checks for the individual to write himself or herself. Then there are others who give them debit cards so that it can provide instant access to the Medical Savings Account of the Archer funds.
The individual and the trustee must report the distributions. However, the individual is not required to pay the income tax as long as this was used for an eligible medical cost like ambulance service, dental expenses, emergency treatment, hospitalization, prescription drugs, chiropractic and acupuncture, wellness and preventive programs, vision care that includes glasses, lab services, health insurance premiums while unemployed, doctor’s office visits and COBRA continuation coverage.
If any portion of the contribution was regarded as non-qualified medical costs, like the premiums for the HDHP, then the individual must pay the income tax including the penalty tax of 15% on the amount. However, there is also no penalty if the individual is disabled, aged 65 and older or passed away in that said year.
Archer Medical Savings Accounts are portable and will stay with the policyholder even if there is a change in employers. Any money that was not used for that year primarily for medical reasons can continue to grow and even be tax-deferred and remain in the account. The option to invest is still a choice and it will affect the return rate. Just like any investment, the individual must make sure that there are risks when they do choose to sign up.
What Happens to the Money from Archer MSA?
If the person does not use the money by the end of the year, then it rolls over. If the individual dries to access the allotted money for other expenses aside from medical reasons, this will be taxed. It is possible to control how little or how much money can be deposited so policyholders are advised to plan wisely.
Deciding Between the HSA and the Archer MSA
When the individual has the Archer Medical Savings Account, it is only necessary that he or she also checks the same kind of savings, specifically the HSA or the health savings account. The latter was created as a significant part of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Modernization, and Improvement Act in 2003 to expand the benefits that were offered by the MSA Funds from the Archer Medical Savings Account and that can then be carried over to the HSA, therefore making it easier and simpler for the individual to just go to one kind and then to another. However, before the individual can do this, he or she should understand the major differences between the HAS and the Archer MSA.
- An eligible individual below the age of 65 who is under health insurance that qualifies for HDHP can have a HAS; on the other hand, an individual who is self-employed or a small business employee who his covered by an HDHP that qualifies can also start having an Archer MSA.
- The minimum amount that is deducted can also be applied to the individual’s HDHP and also used alongside the HAS that has $1,200 for the individual as well as $2,400 for plans that cover family. It is also lower than the usual minimum annual deductions that are applied to the HDHP when putting alongside the Archer Medical Savings Account.
- Both the employee and the employer (if there are) can contribute to the HAS in the same year. The Archer MSA does not let the contributions from the employee and the employer be processed in a similar year.
- The individual can contribute more every year to the HSA than he can contribute to the Archer Medical Savings Account. The annual contributions to the HSA can be limited to the amount of $3,050 for individual plans and $6,150 for family plans.
- If the individual reaches the age of 55 by the end of the year, then they can also catch up in terms of contributions to their HSA. It can even amount to $1,000. There are no more catch up contributions that can also be made to the Archer Medical Savings Account.