What is an HSA in Canada, and How Does it Work?

By  //  February 2, 2023

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An HSA, or health savings account, is a type of savings account that can be used to pay for medical expenses. HSAs are available in Canada and the United States.

In Canada, you must have a valid health insurance plan in order to be eligible for an HSA. You will also need to set up an account with a financial institution that offers HSAs.

Once you have an HSA, you can pay for any medical expense, including prescription drugs, dental care, and vision care. You can also use your HSA to save for future medical expenses, such as retirement healthcare costs.

HSAs are a great way to save money on medical expenses. If you are considering opening an HSA, talk to your financial advisor about the best way to use one.

Eligibility for an HSA in Canada

To be eligible for an HSA in Canada, you must:

-Be a resident of Canada

-Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident

-Be enrolled in a qualified health insurance plan

-Not be covered by another health insurance plan that is not compatible with an HSA

Contributions and limits for an HSA in Canada

An HSA is a savings account used to pay for healthcare costs. In Canada, HSAs are available through some employers and financial institutions.

Contributions to an HSA are tax-deductible, and the money in the account grows tax-free. Withdrawals from an HSA can be used to pay for eligible healthcare expenses, including dental and vision care, prescription drugs, and more.

There are restrictions on how much you can contribute to an HSA each year. For 2020, the contribution limit is $3,500 for individuals and $7,000 for families.

How to use HSA funds in Canada

The Health Savings Account (HSA) is a special savings account that can cover healthcare expenses. To qualify for an HSA, you must be enrolled in a high-deductible health insurance plan.

You can use your HSA funds in Canada in a few different ways. You can use them to pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses like prescription drugs, dental care, and vision care. You can also use them to pay health insurance premiums.

If you have money left over in your HSA at the end of the year, you can either roll it over into the next year or take it out in cash. If you take it out in cash, you will have to pay taxes.

If you want to save money on your healthcare costs, an HSA may be a good option for you. Talk to your financial advisor or insurance agent to see if an HSA is right for you.

Tax benefits of an HSA in Canada

An HSA in Canada can offer some great tax benefits. 

First, any contributions you make to your HSA are tax-deductible. This can help lower your overall taxes owed each year. Second, any money you withdraw from your HSA to cover eligible medical expenses is not taxed. This means you can get some significant tax savings on the money you use to pay for things like prescription drugs, dental work, and more. 

Finally, if you invest the money in your HSA wisely, the earnings on those investments will not be taxed either. This can help your HSA grow even faster over time.

Comparison of HSAs to other savings options in Canada

There are a few different savings options in Canada, and each has its own pros and cons. Here’s a quick comparison of HSAs to some of the other options:

RRSPs: Registered Retirement Savings Plans are a great way to save for retirement, but they have strict contribution limits, and you can only access the money once you retire.

TFSAs: Tax-Free Savings Accounts are another excellent option for saving, but there are limits on how much you can contribute each year. With a TFSA, you can withdraw the money without penalty.

RESPs: Registered Education Savings Plans are designed to help families save for their children’s education. The significant benefit is that the government will provide a grant (up to $500 per year) for every dollar you contribute, up to a maximum of $7200 over the plan’s lifetime.

HSAs: Health Savings Accounts are new savings accounts that can cover medical expenses. The significant advantage of an HSA is that contributions are tax-deductible, and withdrawals are tax-free (as long as they’re used for eligible medical costs). There is no limit on how much you can contribute to an HSA, and you can use the money to cover any medical expense (including dental and vision).

Common misconceptions about HSAs in Canada

Let’s discuss a few common misconceptions about Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) in Canada. Here are a few of the most common:

  1. HSAs are only for those with private health insurance.

This is not true! Anyone with a valid health insurance policy can open an HSA, regardless of whether it is private or public.

  1. HSAs are only for high-income earners.

Again, this is different. Anyone with a valid health insurance policy can open and contribute to an HSA, regardless of income level.

  1. HSAs are only for those with extensive medical expenses.

While HSAs can cover eligible medical expenses, they can protect other health-related costs such as dental and vision care, prescription drugs, and more.


An HSA in Canada is a great way to save for future medical expenses. It offers tax advantages, allows you to put money from your paycheque pre-tax, and can be used for eligible health care expenses. It’s an excellent way to make sure you have resources available when needed. 

If you are looking for a flexible savings option that provides long-term benefits and peace of mind about your healthcare needs, an HSA should definitely be on your radar.