What Is an HSA and What Are Its Advantages?

A Health Savings Account, or HSA, is a tax-advantaged savings account you can use to pay for eligible health care expenses now and in the future. The HSA is a savings account—meaning you can save the money until you need it most. Whether you need it now, a few years down the road or after you retire, the money in your HSA is yours to use for eligible health care expenses whenever you choose.

The account is triple-tax advantaged, which means that:

  • Pre-tax contributions lower your taxable income.
  • Growth tax-free, even on investment earnings.
  • Tax-free distribution so you don’t pay taxes when you use HSA dollars to pay for eligible health care expenses.

The HSA is similar to a Health Care Flexible Spending Account (HCFSA), but there are a few important differences. While the funds in an HCFSA are meant to be used during the Plan year, the unspent funds in an HSA remain in your account from year to year, so you can save the money until you need it—even into retirement. You can also use the funds in your HSA account if you switch coverage or leave the Firm. As long as you use the funds for eligible health care expenses, there is no limit on how or when you use the money in your account. When you fund an HCFSA, the full amount of your election is available to you at the beginning of the year; with an HSA, only the amount you have already funded is available.

The Morgan Stanley HSA is only available to employees enrolled in Medical Plan Option C.

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