Lively HSA Review

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Lively HSA has become one of the most prominent providers of health savings account plans.

You can open an account with all the benefits HSAs provide, but you also have a choice between holding your money in a safe, interest-bearing account, or investing it through a full-service brokerage account.

Any funds you accumulate in the account can grow tax-free, but you can withdraw them for eligible medical expenses without tax consequences.

If you’ve been struggling to manage out-of-pocket health care costs, you should take a close look at a Lively HSA to help you get the job done.

About Lively HSA

The company was launched in 2018 and is based in New York City. As an HSA specialist, they offer accounts for individuals and are in conjunction with employer benefit programs.

In fact, if you work for an employer who doesn’t offer an HSA, you might want to make a suggestion of opening discussions with Lively to set up a program.

This can be especially beneficial for small employers, since offering HSAs may give them a competitive advantage in hiring new employees, as well as providing a valuable benefit for their existing workers.

Lively has a Better Business Bureau rating of “A-“, one of the highest ratings on a scale of A+ to F.

There are plenty of companies that offer health savings accounts as a program option. But Lively is a company with an exclusive focus on health savings accounts. HSA’s are all they do, and they aim to do it better than anyone else.

HSA Benefits:

  1. HSAs are designed to work with high deductible health insurance plans (HDHPs), which have become common.
  2. You can make annual contributions of up to $3,550 for a single plan, and up to $7,100 for a family plan for 2020.
  3. Your contributions are generally tax-deductible, providing you with a generous tax benefit.
  4. Qualified medical expenses can be paid through the account, and are not taxable when made.
  5. HSAs enable you to get the tax benefit of qualified medical expenses, even if you don’t itemize on your tax return.
  6. The plan enables you to budget funds over the course of the year to cover unexpected out-of-pocket medical expenses.
  7. Any funds held in your account at the end of the year can be retained and rolled forward, and invested to earn tax-free investment income.

Lively HSA Investment Options

Even though an HSA account is established primarily for the purpose of paying out-of-pocket medical expenses, any unspent funds in the account can be invested to earn tax-free income.

Lively gives you two investment options with your HSA account. You can either invest in an interest-bearing account in an FDIC insured bank, or in growth type assets through TD Ameritrade.

Fixed-Income Option

If you choose a fixed income option, your funds will be held with Choice Financial, a member FDIC bank. The current interest rate being paid on all account balances is 0.01%, as a result of interest-rate reductions by the Federal Reserve.

Equity Investment Option

If you invest through TD Ameritrade, you’ll be able to hold mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), individual stocks and bonds, and other investments.

In fact, TD Ameritrade offers more than 550 commission-free ETFs and more than 13,000 mutual funds. TD Ameritrade does not charge commissions to trade in your account using online trading. But there are certain regulatory fees as well as fees charged in connection with individual funds.

How Lively HSA Works

Minimum Investment/Balance

With either option, Lively has no minimum initial investment or balance requirements.

Funding Your Account

To fund your account, you can make contributions by linking your bank account to your Lively HSA account, or set up recurring payroll deductions. You can also transfer lump sum amounts into your Lively HSA account, or even do a roll-over of HSA funds from another trustee.

Paying Eligible Medical Expenses From Your Account

Your Lively HSA account comes with an HSA debit card that can be used to pay expenses directly at a medical provider’s office, a pharmacy, an outpatient clinic, a hospital, or any other eligible facility. You can also add expenses to be reimbursed either immediately or later if you choose not to use your debit card.

Lively Mobile App

Available on Google Play for Android devices 5.0 and up, and at The App Store for iOS devices, 11.0 and later, and is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. It can be used to make contributions, track spending, and even monitor your investments. You can even upload photos of receipts and expenses paid outside your HSA account and schedule them for reimbursement from your account.

The Lively Marketplace

This is a feature unique to Lively. The company has partnered with 10 service providers that offer related products and services. The providers are as follows:

  1. Access Labs: Get lab testing for less at a location near you.
  2. PlushCare: Online doctor service where you can get a prescription in 15 minutes.
  3. HSAStore: Provides tools to better manage your HSA account.
  4. Parasail: A service that will help you set up affordable monthly payment plans with medical providers to help you better manage large out-of-pocket bills.
  5. SimpleContacts: A service that enables you to renew or order your contact lenses from home.
  6. Jonas Paul: Provides designer children’s eyeglasses, while making a contribution to preventing childhood blindness in the developing world with every frame sold.
  7. ZendyHealth: A service to help you diagnose, find, and price-compare medical and dental services.
  8. Candid Co.: Provides clear aligners to help straighten your teeth at affordable prices.
  9. Audicus: Provides quality hearing aids as well as online testing and expert support.
  10. Pill Pack: A service that will sort your medications by time and day and deliver them to your home.

In considering the use of any of the above service providers, be sure to check with your health insurance company. They may have in-network providers for each of the above services, and either reimburse the above providers as out-of-network providers or even exclude reimbursement entirely.

Fees

One of the major advantages offered by a Lively HSA is that they charge no fees for an individual HSA plan. That also includes family plans.

There is a small monthly charge of $2.95 for employers, which could be paid either by the employer or passed on to the employees. But if you’re opening an individual account, that fee won’t apply to you or even to members of your family.

Getting Started

To set up an individual account, you can complete the entire process online in a matter of minutes.

You’ll start by entering basic information, including your name, your email address, and mobile phone number. Then you’ll need to create a password, and agree to the terms and conditions of the program.

Once your account has been activated, you’ll link your Lively HSA account to your bank account for funding. Micro-deposits will be performed to verify your account, and once those have cleared and been verified, you’ll be able to begin making direct transfers. You will also be given the opportunity to sign up for automatic deposits, either from your bank account or your paychecks.

The next step will be to choose your investment method. That will be either an interest-bearing, FDIC insured account, or a TD Ameritrade account where you can invest in a wide variety of funds and securities.

Once your account is funded, you’ll have access to the account to pay for qualified medical expenses or for investment purposes. A debit card will arrive several days after opening your account.

Security

Funds invested with Lively are insured based on the account type. For the fixed income option, your account will be FDIC insured for up to $250,000.

If you invest through TD Ameritrade, your account will be covered by SIPC for up to $500,000 in securities and cash, including $250,000 in cash. SIPC insurance covers losses due to broker failure, not those due to market losses.

As a health-related finance provider, Lively is also fully HIPAA compliant. That means they’re are required by law to keep sensitive personal information safe.

As to site access, Lively employs the following safeguards:

  • Industrial strength AES Disc Encryption to keep your personal information out of reach of unauthorized users.
  • SSL/TLS passwords and encrypted access, covering all data sent over the Internet and between internal networks. Passwords are also held in the database using industry best practices.
  • Two-factor authentication to ensure only you have access to your personal information.
  • Data security architecture in which all sensitive servers are hosted in a private subnet, and not accessible over the Internet.

Customer Support

Customer contact is available through both phone and email, Monday through Friday, from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm, Pacific time. The platform also maintains extensive resources, calculators, and a very detailed FAQ page to provide you with most of the information you’ll need on a regular basis.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Offers both individual and employer plans.
  • There are no fees to maintain your account as an individual or a family.
  • You have the option to invest either in FDIC insured, interest-bearing funds, or equity investments through TD Ameritrade.
  • Pay eligible medical expenses using a dedicated HSA debit card, or directly through your Lively HSA account.
  • Your entire account, including investments, can be completely monitored and managed from the Lively HSA mobile app.
  • Lively works with 10 service partners that can help you save money, particularly on healthcare soft spots, like dental, vision, and hearing.

Cons

  • The service is completely online, with no face-to-face contact.
  • Interest paid on the fixed income option is miniscule at 0.01%, but that’s common with many HSA trustees.
  • The service partners may not be eligible if they’re not included in your health insurance plan.

Alternatives to Lively

You can check out my post, Best Health Savings Accounts (HSA) for 2020 if you want to investigate alternative providers. And yes, Lively is on the list, since it is one of the very best HSA providers in the industry.

But if you’re shopping for an HSA account, you owe it to yourself to investigate the possibilities. My list contains brokerage firms, banks, and credit unions that operate nationally and will be available to you no matter where you live.

Is Lively HSA For You?

A Lively HSA is for anyone who either:

  1. Has predictable out-of-pocket medical costs
  2. Wants to use the account as something of a backup IRA

In the first case, a Lively HSA won’t make your out-of-pocket costs go away. But it will give you the benefit of being able to get a tax deduction for those costs even if you don’t itemize on your tax return. Plus, you’ll get the benefit of tax-deductible contributions and tax-free investment income on your account. You can also pay your medical expenses using the dedicated debit card, which will avoid the need to use a credit card or your checking account.

But the backup IRA benefits should appeal to just about everyone. You can have an HSA account – and the contributions will still be tax-deductible and any investment income tax-free – even if you have other retirement accounts. That includes an IRA or an employer-sponsored plan, like a 401(k) plan.

Though your Lively HSA account is specifically designed to cover eligible medical expenses, any funds you don’t use for that purpose can be retained in the account and invested for future growth. That’s why these accounts are sometimes referred to as medical IRAs.

Lively is one of the very best options for an HSA account since they give you the ability to choose either a safe, fixed income investment option – similar to banks and credit unions – or equity investments, like brokerage firms. You’ll have all the benefits of an HSA account, but complete control over how you invest funds in the account.

If you’d like more information, or if you’d like to open an account, check out the Lively HSA website.

Lively HSA

Overall Rating

9.5

Bottom Line

You can open an account with all the benefits HSAs provide, but also have a choice between holding your money in a safe, interest-bearing account, or investing it through a full-service brokerage account.

Pros

  • Individual and Employer Plans
  • No Fees to Maintain Account
  • Investment Option

Cons

  • All Online
  • Low Interest Rate

Fees

10.0

Investment Options

10.0

Interest Rates

9.0

Service Partners

9.0

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