How To Access Your Health Savings Account


Calley Means

Published Date:

January 31, 2024


Health savings accounts (HSAs) are designed to help people save money on purchases necessary for their health and wellness. An HSA empowers you to take your health into your own hands. When it comes time to make an HSA-eligible purchase, you need to know how to use health savings account funds to cover the cost of healthcare-related goods and services. Here’s how to use your HSA.

What is a Health Savings Account?

A health savings account (HSA) is a special bank account used to reserve pre-tax money for health and wellness-related purchases. These accounts work to save you money by reducing the amount of taxes you pay and by making it easier to deduct healthcare-related expenses at the end of the year.

HSAs are an excellent solution for entrepreneurs, small business owners, freelance professionals, and independent contractors who are responsible for their own healthcare planning. They’re also a great solution for people who don’t like their employer’s FSA option and don’t want to lose unused funds at the end of each year. 

Where Can I Get a Health Savings Account?

There are financial institutions that exist specifically for HSA accounts and other similar accounts. Some health insurance companies partner with banks to offer HSAs to people with active insurance plans. 

Most major banks and credit unions offer HSA accounts to their members. There may be perks or incentives to opening up an HSA at the financial institution you currently use, like special interest rates. Since funds in an HSA never expire, it may be a good idea to pursue an HSA that will accumulate interest. 

An HSA account will be separate from your personal checking and savings accounts. If you keep them both at the same financial institution, you can easily transfer money from a personal account to an HSA account almost instantly.

What Can You Buy With a Health Savings Account?

Health savings accounts can be used to pay for copays and prescriptions. They can also be used to pay for most over-the-counter medications, including contraceptives. HSAs will cover first aid items like bandages, gauze, ointments, and hand sanitizer. Toiletries covered by HSAs include medicated shampoos, acne cleanser, and moisturizers for dry skin.

HSA funds can be used to pay for menstrual products (like pads and tampons), pregnancy supplies, pregnancy and lactation coaching, and lactation supplies. Birth control, emergency contraceptives, and over-the-counter contraceptives are also covered by HSA funds.

A Letter of Medical Necessity (LMN) can be used to justify expenses for many things that aren’t ordinarily covered but are still valuable for your health. HSAs can be used to cover expenses for things like workout equipment, gym memberships, supplements, wellness trackers, saunas, hot tubs, vitamins, and health foods if a doctor deems them necessary for your well-being. 

Who Maintains a Health Savings Account?

Some savings accounts, like flexible spending accounts (FSA) are managed by an employer. Your HSA is managed exclusively by you. You don’t need to seek permission to gain approval from anyone before you contribute or use HSA funds. The only thing that matters is that the purchases you’re making actually qualify as HSA purchases or are eligible for HSA reimbursement.

How To Use Health Savings Account Funds

Your health savings account is just like a normal bank account. You can make deposits and withdrawals whenever you’d like, although withdrawals will come with a 10% tax penalty. The balance of your HSA will even accumulate interest. 

The only difference is that the funds in your HSA are earmarked specifically for healthcare purposes. If you use them as they’re intended, you’re able to keep the money within the account tax-free. When you’re making an HSA-eligible purchase, you can use your HSA account as you would use your everyday bank account.

Direct Debit Payments

Your credit union or bank can issue you a debit card linked directly to your HSA account. You can use this card to make HSA-eligible purchases. Just make sure you’re purchasing eligible items and non-eligible items in separate transactions. When you use your HSA card at the grocery store, you can’t ring up your antihistamines and your coffee at the same time because your coffee isn’t an eligible expense.

Keep the receipt from your HSA card purchase to serve as proof that you spent your HSA funds appropriately. As long as you’re able to prove that the funds were used as intended, you’ll never have to pay taxes on the income you used to make an HSA purchase.


When you pay for an HSA-eligible expense with cash or your normal bank account, you’re eligible to reimburse yourself. Save receipts that contain HSA-eligible items, add up the total of those items, and give yourself money back from your HSA account.

You can use a direct bank transfer, a bank withdrawal, or write yourself a check from your HSA account to cover your reimbursement. It doesn’t always make sense to immediately reimburse yourself for a $5 bag of cough drops. You can wait until you’ve accumulated enough HSA-related purchases to make it worth the time and effort of reimbursement. 

There is no time limit on reimbursements as long as the purchases were made after your HSA account was opened. If you want to hold onto your receipts for five years, collect interest, and reimburse yourself in the future, you’re able to do so. Just consistently maintain your HSA until you’re ready for reimbursement.

Using HSA Funds With a Letter of Medical Necessity

If you’re making a purchase outside of what’s ordinarily covered by an HSA, you may still be able to use HSA funds to make that purchase. Many things that benefit our overall health and wellness don’t come in pill form and can’t be found in the first aid aisle — but that doesn’t mean they’re any less effective at keeping us healthy and vital.

If your doctor declares that the purchase of an item outside the scope of normal HSA coverage (like a massage chair, a gym membership, or a sauna), your doctor can write you a Letter of Medical Necessity.

A Letter of Medical Necessity (LMN) states that your doctor feels as though you’re using your HSA funds appropriately for a specific purchase. You can pay for your purchase through your debit card or through reimbursement. 

Keep your Letter of Medical Necessity with your receipt. It will serve as confirmation that your purchase was HSA eligible.

Can You Use HSA Funds To Shop Online?

Many retailers offer goods and services that are eligible for HSA funds, with or without a letter of medical necessity. HSA funds are easy to access with a debit card, but it’s a little more of a hassle to go through the process of reimbursement. Most people choose to shop with retailers that accept direct HSA payments via card. It saves them a lot of time and stress.

An increasing number of retailers are offering HSA/FSA payments for health and wellness goods and services. If your goods and services are HSA eligible, you can prioritize the needs of your company by integrating HSA/FSA payments into your online payment portal. 

How To Access Health Savings Account Funds for Purchases

Truemed offers simple HSA/FSA payment integration services for eligible businesses, and we make it easy for you to use your HSA funds on purchases. 

Shop with one of our merchants, and choose “Pay With Truemed” at checkout. Enter your payment details, and you’ll be asked a few questions about your health circumstances. We’ll match you with a provider to determine eligibility — if you qualify, you’ll receive a Letter of Medical Necessity so you can complete your purchase with your HSA.

The Wrap-Up on Your HSA Funds

Having HSA funds directly tied to a dedicated debit card makes it easy to track your health and wellness spending without worrying about reimbursement. Just add what you need to your cart and check out. Keep your receipts for later use. They’ll serve as proof that your HSA funds were used appropriately.

To make the most of your HSA, check out our list of merchants that make health and wellness accessible to everyone. 


The New Trend in Healthcare: Do-It-Yourself | Wall Street Journal

What's a Health Savings Account? | Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

9 facts about HSAs that might surprise your clients | Journal of Accountancy

Publication 969 (2022), Health Savings Accounts and Other Tax-Favored Health Plans | Internal Revenue Service

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