MSAs Going, Going, Gone?

December 1, 2000 ( - Unless Congress intervenes, the medical savings account (MSA) program is scheduled to expire on December 31, leaving self-employed and smaller employers without a replacement option.

A two-year extension, to December 31, 2002, of the program is included in the tax-cut bill pending before the Senate.

Pilot Program

The MSA program was established in 1996 as a pilot program that would provide self-employed individuals and employees of small employers with high-deductible health plans to contribute on a tax-free basis to medical expense reimbursement accounts.

If the program expires, no new MSAs can be established after December 31, 2000.  However, individuals who previously made or received MSA contributions may continue to do so if they remain eligible.

The Internal Revenue Service has released the 2001 Form 1099-MSA (Distributions from Medical Savings Accounts) and 2001 Form 5498-MSA (Medical Savings Account Information). 

You can find them at and