Can an employer make pretax contributions to a spouse’s HSA?


One of your employees cannot contribute pretax funds to his health savings account (HSA) because he is enrolled in Medicare. However, his spouse is covered by your company’s high-deductible health plan, and she recently opened up an HSA. Can you contribute funds into her account and exclude them from the employee’s gross income and wages? Also, can the employee contribute catch-up contributions into the spouse’s HSA?


The answer to both questions is no. An employer is not allowed to make pretax contributions to the HSA of a nonemployee — in this scenario, the spouse. Any contribution by an employer to the HSA of a nonemployee, including salary reduction amounts made through a Sec. 125 cafeteria plan, must be included in the gross income and wages of the employee.

The employee is not an eligible employee and cannot contribute pretax funds into his own HSA because he is enrolled in Medicare. He also is barred from making catch-up contributions into his wife’s HSA. An individual who is allowed to make catch-up contributions may only make them into his or her own HSA.

Source: IRS Notice 2008-59, July 21, 2008; Employee Benefits Management Newsletter, No. 588, June 23, 2015.

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