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Using a health savings account for medical costs — and retirement

Health savings accounts, or HSAs, can be a good value for some people. They are investment accounts — like a 401(k) retirement plan or a 529 college savings plan — that can be opened by anyone enrolled in a qualified health insurance plan with a deductible of at least $1,300 for an individual or $2,600 for a family.

HSAs allow you to set aside money, tax free, to spend on a wide range of medical expenses, including doctor visits, prescriptions, eyeglasses, hospital and dental care, as well as some drugstore items. This year, you can set aside $3,350 for an individual policy and $6,650 for families. If you’re 55 or older, you can kick in an additional $1,000 through what’s called a “catch-up” contribution.

Read more about the benefits of HSAs, particularly when it comes to saving for retirement, in this Los Angeles Times Health Care Watch column.

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