Update(4/21/14): ElfCU now charges a $24 wire transfer fee for transferring your money from ElfCU to TDA.
Update(5/28/14): ElfCU now charges a $3 monthly account fee if you don’t hold at least $2,500 in the savings account. Still the best option in my opinion though.
Last year I wrote an article about how to rollover or use a trustee transfer in order to invest your HSA money for free using HSA Bank. Well it’s been a year and my investments have done very well(thank you S&P Gods), but I was only able to invest about $7,000 of my $12,000 balance. The reason why is that HSA Bank requires you to hold $5,000 in their savings account in order to avoid maintenance fees.
I had a short discussion with Blake in the comments section of that article about the opportunity cost of investing that $5,000. He argued that the investment gain would outweigh the few bucks a month in fees. Blake was totally right, but I still didn’t want to invest that money because I just couldn’t bring myself to pay a fee – it goes against everything I believe in But alas, I’ve found a new credit union that allows me to invest all of my HSA money(hat tip to TFB).
ElfCU to Save the Day
I used to have two HSA’s. The first one was my HSA Bank account that was formed when I rolled over my last employer’s HSA(I no longer have this account anymore now that I’ve rolled it over to ElfCU) and the second one was through my current employer. I still have the second one but it’s administered by Health Equity and the investment options are very poor. There are a limited array of funds and most of the expense ratios are around 1%, yikes!
ElfCU is a small credit union that anyone can join with a $5 contribution to TruDirect. They have no monthly fees on their HSA’s and you can invest 100% of your account through TD-Ameritrade. TDA charges normal brokerage fees but they do have a wide selection of no cost ETF’s. Since HSA Bank also used TDA I’ll be able to keep the same funds and asset allocation.
So now I have two HSA’s: one with ElfCU and one with Health Equity. I plan on keeping my Health Equity account in cash and rolling it over once or twice a year for free to my ElfCU HSA where I can invest everything with no fees. So there you have it, I finally have an HSA that has no minimums and no fees and it lets me invest in my no cost ETF’s with TD-Ameritrade.
If you’re interested in rolling over your HSA to ElfCU the first thing you’ll want to do is open an account with ElfCU. You’ll have to make a $5 donation to TruDirect but that ends up showing up in your savings account once you’re all done. After I signed up, I got an e-mail confirmation from ElfCU with my member ID, HSA account number and money market savings account number.
Logging in to ElfCU HSA
Logging in to your ElfCU HSA is relatively easy. You can navigate to www.ElfCU.org/HSA and select HSA Account Login or you can use this link to go directly to their HSA login page.
I wasn’t able to register/create an ID for my HSA using my HSA number until the day after I signed up though. ElfCU uses a third party site called Marsh HSA Services to manage their HSA accounts. You can login/create a new ID using this page.
Logging in to ElfCU Online Banking
Since ElfCU uses a third party site for their HSA accounts you’ll need to create a separate login for their online banking system. You will also get a savings account when you sign up for an HSA since they are a credit union. This is the account that you would link to Mint or Quicken in order to view your HSA balance.
It took a few days(HSA login will be instant) before I was able to register for a new ID but the process was nearly identical to registering for the HSA member ID. After 3-4 days, I went to www.ElfCU.org and selected enroll in eBranch. When I logged on for the first time, I saw that I had $5 in my savings account and it also showed my HSA balance of $0.
Transfer Money from HSA Bank to ElfCU
Since I had investments through TDA/HSA Bank, I had to first liquidate my TDA account and transfer it back to HSA Bank(this process took about a week). Once the entire account balance was in the savings portion of my HSA Bank account and my accounts were all set up at ElfCU, I filled out a transfer form and e-mailed it to ElfCU at: Sping@elfcu.org.
This transfer form will effectively close out your old HSA and transfer it entirely to ElfCU. HSA Bank charges a $25 account closure fee but there are no other fees to transfer. If your HSA provider charges a transfer fee you can write yourself a check and do a direct rollover(only one of these allowed per year though) but that seemed like a lot of work for $25.
About 4-5 days after I e-mailed in my transfer form to ElfCU I noticed that my HSA Bank account had been liquidated(and I was charged a $25 account closing fee). 10 days after that, the money showed up in my ElfCU HSA and I opened a TDA account and got to investing!
Editor’s Note: I have no financial relation with ElfCU. But I use them because they don’t charge any monthly fees on my HSA account and I can invest my entire balance for free.
Readers, where do you invest the money in your HSA? Do you pay for all of your medical expenses out of pocket like I do so that you can maximize the triple-tax power of the HSA? Think it’s worth it to switch to ElfCU?
-Harry @ PF Pro