HSA: What is a Health Spending Account?

The end of the year is fast approaching, so it’s time to get those last-minute appointments in before your benefits reset! We tend to get busy around the holidays, and who wants to visit the dentist in -30 degree weather? Fall is the prime time to check your health plan to see the remaining benefits, including your health savings account (HSA). We all want to make the most out of our insurance, and Health Plans are the type of coverage you can use readily.

What is HSA?

A Health Spending Account is a group benefit employers may provide for their employees residing in Canada that includes reimbursement for health-related expenses under their workplace plan. The health expenses you can claim on your HSA would be for the over and above costs that fall outside the regular benefit plan. The best way to think of it is a top-up for certain health plan expenses like dental, vision, etc. However, like all good things, there is a limit. Make sure you review your HSA account limit to know how much wiggle room you have in your budget.

Benefits of HSA

An HSA is a cost-effective way for many employers to provide health and dental benefits for employees. It can cover expenses outside of the plan benefits and address employees’ diverse needs. As the Health Spending Account recipient, it is flexible to your needs. You can choose to apply it as you wish to the eligible expenses, so you don’t have to pay out of pocket for that next message.

Medical Expenses can you Claim under HSA

Like all insurance, we always recommend referring to your insurer for an exact list. You can claim any item or service typically allowed under the Income Tax Act of Canada as a medical expense. Your HSA is designed to be available to pick up the overflow in unpaid expenditures from your benefits plan, like the provincial plan, your group benefits, and, if applicable, your spouse’s group benefits plan. Some typical expenses are vision care, such as glasses and contact lenses.

Carried Forward and Forfeited Amounts

Some plans include what is called a carry forward. Any balance remaining on the HSA account you didn’t use for the current year can carry the credit to next year. Keep in mind that the credit is forfeited if you do not use the amount carried forward in the following year, i.e. not used by the end of the following plan year. So use it, or lose it, as the saying goes.


Personal Health Insurance Plans can pick up where the government plans to leave off to cover expenses such as Physio, Massage therapy, Vision care and Dental care. Connect with one of our brokers to receive a no-obligation quote today, as we offer individual and conversion plans for when your group benefits end.

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