Flexible Spending Accounts

The Flexible Spending Account is a tax-free account that allows you to pay for health care and child care expenses that are not covered, or are partially covered, by your medical, dental and vision insurance plans. By contributing a portion of your payroll dollars into your Flexible Spending Account on a pre-tax basis, you can save from 25% to 40% on the cost of eligible expenses you are already incurring.

When you enroll in a Flexible Spending Account, you decide how much to contribute to each account for the entire Plan Year. The money is then deducted from your paycheck, pre-tax (before Federal & State income taxes and FICA taxes are deducted) in equal amounts over the course of the plan year. After you incur expenses that qualify for reimbursement, you submit claims (reimbursement requests) to Flex Made Easyto request tax-free withdrawals from your Flexible Spending Account to reimburse yourself for these expenses.

The key to getting the most out of your Health Care Flexible Spending Account is to maximize your contributions based on the expenses you, or any of your tax dependents, anticipate incurring during the plan year. To plan your annual election amount:

  • Review your medical expenses from last year.
  • Write down any additional eligible expenses you anticipate incurring in the coming plan year.
  • Be sure to include at least some money to cover your deductible expenditures.
  • Estimate your cost for each of these Flexible Spending Account eligible expenses. (Don’t forget that your tax dependents’ expenses qualify, too, even if they are on a different health insurance program.)
  • Review the list of Eligible Expenses.

Things to remember about the Health Care Flexible Spending Account:

  • Your election amount is typically fixed for the entire plan year (unless you have a qualifying event)
  • You must submit valid claims before the end of the claims run out period. Any unclaimed remaining funds will be forfeited to your employer, so estimate your expenses carefully and set money aside accordingly.
  • Expenses for any of your tax dependents are eligible for reimbursement, even if they are not on your employer’s health insurance program.

Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts create a tax break for dependent care expenses (typically child care or day care expenses) that enable you to work. Additionally, if you have an older dependent who lives with you at least 8 hours per day and requires someone to come into the house to assist with day-to-day living, you can claim these expenses through your Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account. If you are married, your spouse must be working, looking for work or be a full-time student. If you have a stay-at-home spouse, you should not enroll in the Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account. The IRS allows no more than $5,000 per household ($2,500 if you are married and file a separate tax return) be set-aside in the Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account in a calendar year.

Please note that IRS regulations disallow reimbursement for services that have not yet been provided, so even if you pay in advance for your expenses, you can only claim service periods that have already occurred. For example, if you are required to pay for all of January’s child care expenses on January 1st, you cannot claim the entire month’s expense until the end of January. However, you may submit a claim every week, at the end of that week, for those expenses.

Eligible expenses include day care, baby-sitting, and general purpose day camps.

Ineligible expenses include overnight camps, care provided by a dependent, your spouse or your child under the age of 19 & care provided while you are not at work.

Expenses may only be claimed for dependents that are under the age of 13; or for older dependents that live with you at least 8 hours each day and are incapable of self-care.

Please visit Flex Made Easy today and log-in to your very own Account Detail.