HSA Contribution Limit: Family Coverage vs Individual Coverage

maths

Reader and fellow blogger Joe brought up an interesting point on my previous post about the 2015 HSA contribution limits. The contribution limit for family coverage is just $50 shy of twice the limit for individual coverage.

Individual Coverage Family Coverage
2013 $3,250 $6,450
2014 $3,300 $6,550
2015 $3,350 $6,650

Why would they do that instead of making it simply 2x?

Actually if we go back a few more years, it was just the opposite. The contribution limit for family coverage was $50 more than twice the limit for individual coverage.

Individual Coverage Family Coverage
2011 $3,050 $6,150
2012 $3,100 $6,250

Why would it be sometimes $50 less and sometimes $50 more? Wouldn’t it be cleaner if it’s just 2x?

It would be and it was when it started. The original limit was set to $2,250 for individual coverage and $4,500 for family coverage. Then the law says these limits must be adjusted for inflation, but rounded to the nearest $50. The problem is somebody forgot to say the limit for individual coverage should be rounded to the nearest $50 but the limit for family coverage should be rounded to the nearest $100.

So we ended up with the 2014 limit for individual coverage at $3,283, rounded up to $3,300 and the limit for family coverage at $6,566, rounded down to $6,550. When one number rounds up and the other number rounds down, you no longer have the neat relationship of exactly 2x.

Someone goofed up the math. Now everyone bears the consequence.

[Photo credit: Flickr user Sean MacEntee]

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Comments

  1. Steve says

    Alternatively, they could have simply encoded the math in the law – “Family contribution is equal to twice the individual contribution as calculated in (section number)”

    • Harry Sit says

      They did exactly that for the HDHP minimum deductible and maximum out-of-pocket. The numbers for individual coverage adjust for inflation and get rounded. The numbers for family coverage are always exactly twice those for individual coverage.

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