Search News Posts

HealthSavings Blog

Three Fees Your HSA Provider Might Not Be Telling You About

Three Fees Your HSA Provider Might Not Be Telling You About


When comparing HSA providers, knowing how much they’ll charge is a major consideration. And while some fees are easy to calculate, there are a couple of under-the-radar costs you may not know about until they come out of your account. We’ll show you what they are and how to find them.


Typical HSA Provider Fees

First, let’s quickly review the main fees HSA providers typically charge:

Administrative fee: This is the fee charged by your provider for managing your HSA. HealthSavings’ administrative fee is $45 per year.

Custodial fee: If you invest your HSA funds, you’ll often be charged a custodial fee for the service of safeguarding your assets. Typically, custodial fees vary by investment type. To find the custodial fees for your HealthSavings investments, go to our Investments page and click on your fund, then click “Fees” on the next page.

Transactional fees: These fees are typically charged for specific account-related actions. Typical examples are if an accountholder tries to make a purchase with non-sufficient funds or if they need to correct an excess contribution. See our transactional fees here.


Lesser-Known HSA Provider Fees

Now, here are three other expenses you might not be aware of, but can be a significant cost (especially if you’re investing your HSA funds):

Expense ratios: This fee is taken out of your investment account annually by your fund company and covers the cost of operating the fund. Typically, expense ratios are measured as a percentage of the total funds in your account. If you have $10,000 invested in a fund with an 0.75% expense ratio, you’d lose $75 from your account that year. For instance, if you had a 6% return for the year ($600), your net return will only be $525 ($600 – $75).

Since expense ratios are deducted from funds’ returns rather than being charged as separate bills, they’re very easy to miss. You can find the expense ratio for a particular fund in that fund’s prospectus, and you can use this calculator to compare long-term costs of funds with different expense ratios. At HealthSavings, we pride ourselves in offering funds from both Vanguard and Dimensional, which have some of the lowest expense ratios on the market.

Investment transaction fees: Some HSA providers charge a fee for making trades in your investment account. Depending on how involved of an investor you are, this could really cost you. If your provider charges an $7 fee for making trades and you make just one trade per month, you’d lose $84 each year in trading fees. HealthSavings doesn’t charge any investment transaction fees, so you don’t have to worry about any surprise costs here.

Opportunity cost: This isn’t an actual fee, but it still can cost you. Many HSA providers require accountholders to maintain a threshold in your cash account (typically, $1,000 or $2,000) in order to invest other funds. If your HSA provider requires a minimum investing balance, your opportunity cost is the difference in what you could have earned by investing those funds subtracted from what you actually earned in interest.

For example, if your HSA provider had a $2,000 minimum cash balance, with an average market rate of 6% you would miss out on $120 (6% of $2,000) that year from not being able to invest those funds. Subtract the interest you made on that $2,000 from $120, and you’ll have that year’s opportunity cost. And your opportunity cost will increase each year as your balance compounds over time.


At HealthSavings, we think every dollar should have the chance to grow for you, so we offer first-dollar investing across the board, eliminating opportunity cost. And with 50% of our customers investing their funds, we’ve seen the results of telling a different story by promoting HSAs as part of a holistic retirement strategy. Learn more about investing your HSA for the future here.

Author: James Denison