Flexible Spending Account (FSA)
FSAs allow you to use pre-tax money to pay for qualified expenses throughout the year.
Dependent Care FSA
The Dependent Care FSA lets you use pre-tax money to pay for the day care you and your spouse need in order to work. It reimburses you for the care of your dependent children under the age of 13, a disabled spouse or a disabled dependent of any age.
In order to use a Dependent Care FSA, you (and your spouse if you’re married) must be gainfully employed, full-time students for at least five months of the year or disabled and unable to care for your children. It’ll reimburse you for:
- Licensed day care center or nursery school.
- A caretaker or companion who works in your home during working hours.
- Adult day care center.
- Before- and after-school day care.
- Day care expenses for children or the elderly including meal preparation, housecleaning and assistance with dressing.
- Transportation provided by your day care to its location.
- Day camp. There are some requirements your provider must meet for you to be reimbursed. Make sure to verify that your day care provider qualifies as an eligible expense.
Contributions – You can contribute a minimum of $120 and a maximum of $5,000 annually. You can only be reimbursed for expenses up to the amount deposited in your Dependent Care FSA. The annual maximum Dependent Care FSA contribution varies based on your personal situation; refer to the Benefits Handbook for more information.
Forfeiture – Your account balance does NOT carry over from year to year (“use it or lose it”). To avoid forfeiture, you must use all the money in your Dependent Care FSA during the calendar year. Reimbursements must be for services rendered from January 1 through December 31 of the calendar year. Claim filings must be postmarked by June 30 of the following year.
An FSA gives you real savings because the money is not taxed – not when you contribute and not when you use it to pay for qualified expenses. You can enroll regardless of which medical option you choose, though special rules apply for those in a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) with a Health Savings Account (HSA).
- You can contribute a minimum of $120 and a maximum of $2,700 annually.
- The full amount of your elected contribution (minus any reimbursements received) is available at any time during the year to help pay for eligible expenses.
- When you enroll, you’ll get a MasterCard debit card to pay for expenses.
- You can use your card anywhere it’s accepted, including doctor and dental offices, hearing and vision centers, hospitals, pharmacies, and mail-order prescription services.
Reimbursements – If you do not have an HSA, you will automatically have streamlined claims reimbursement for your HCFSA. Reimbursement is automatic and no claim forms are required for eligible expenses. If you do not want your medical and dental claims to be automatically forwarded to your HCFSA, you will need to opt out of this feature online by logging on to Blue Cross and Blue Shield. Sign up for direct deposit with Blue Cross and Blue Shield to receive your reimbursements faster.
Forfeiture – Your account balance does NOT carry over from year to year (“use it or lose it”). To avoid forfeiture, you must use all the money in your FSA during the calendar year. Reimbursements must be for services rendered from January 1 through December 31 of the calendar year. Claim filings must be postmarked by June 30 of the following year.
Limited Purpose Health Care FSA – The IRS allows you to enroll in both the Health Savings Account (HSA) and the Health Care FSA but your eligible expenses in the FSA will be limited to dental, vision and preventive medical expenses until you meet the deductible in your HDHP medical option, then non-preventive medical expenses will also be eligible.