Flexible Spending Accounts
Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) allow you to set aside pre-tax money to pay for health care or dependent care costs. You may want to consider an FSA to help with eligible expenses for health care or childcare/elder care. The rule regarding using funds during the calendar year apply and your FSA may be subject to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) “Use it or Lose It” rule as noted below.
FSAs expire every year on December 31. You must re-enroll each year during Open Enrollment to participate in this program.
Eligibility for Health Care and/or Dependent Care FSAs
- Benefits-eligible Faculty and Staff:
- Eligible Staff: Regularly scheduled to work at least 17.5 hours a week for a minimum 90-day period
- Eligible Faculty: Half-time or more with an appointment of at least two semesters (as determined by the academic department)
- Eligible Postdoctoral Scholars: Regularly scheduled to work at least 17.5 hours a week with at least a twelve-month appointment, have a Social Security number, and pay FICA taxes
- Eligible International Employees
Health Care FSA
The Health Care FSA lets you pay for eligible health care expenses for you and your eligible tax dependents using pre-tax dollars. Deductibles, co-insurance, and co-payments can all be reimbursed from your Health Care FSA. Your health plan premium is not an eligible expense. Please note that you may not contribute to both the Health Care FSA and the Health Savings Account (HSA) in any given year.
- FSA-Eligible Health Care Expenses (PDF)
- FSA-Allowable Over-the-Counter Expenses (PDF)
- Effective January 1, 2020, many Over-the-Counter (OTC) medications are eligible for reimbursement through your Health Care FSA. Due to the CARES Act, many OTC items no longer require a prescription, letter of medical necessity (LMN), or doctor’s directive. You can use your EBPA debit card, or you can pay for the OTC medications out-of-pocket and submit receipts for reimbursement to EBPA. For more information please visit the FSAstore.com.
- You may contribute an amount up to the annual limit set by the IRS. The Health Care FSA limit for 2022 is $2,850 per employee.
Minimums and Carryover Provision
- There is a $100 minimum annual enrollment contribution required to enroll in a Health Care FSA.
- IRS guidelines permit active employees to carry over up to $570 of unused contributions from their Health Care FSA into the following plan year. The amount carried over will not count against the IRS limit for the following year.
- Unused contributions that are carried over into the next plan year must be used to pay for or reimburse eligible health care expenses.
- Unused amounts under $100 or over $570 are forfeited under the IRS “Use It or Lose it” rule. This means that you may carry over a minimum of $100 and a maximum of $570 of unused contributions in your Health Care FSA into the next year.
Dependent Care FSA
The Dependent Care FSA lets you pay for day care, elder care, and other eligible dependent care expenses using pre-tax dollars. The IRS rule is that is available to use when dependent care is necessary to allow both you and your spouse/domestic partner to work or your spouse/domestic partner to attend school full time.
Since your individual situation determines if this account is appropriate for you, we suggest that you consult a tax advisor before enrolling in the Dependent Care FSA.
- You may contribute an amount up to the limit set by the IRS. The Dependent Care FSA limit for 2022 is $5,000 per family for dependent children (less than age 13) or adult/ elder daycare expenses.
- If you elect an FSA for dependent care services (child daycare), you will need to verify that your children are under age 13.
- There is a $100 minimum annual enrollment contribution required to enroll in a Dependent Care FSA.
- There is no carryover provision for Dependent Care FSA. The IRS “Use it or Lose it” rule applies; if you do not incur eligible expenses during the calendar year in which you were enrolled, you forfeit the funds in the subsequent year.
How to Submit a Claim
You can either use your Benefits Debit card to pay for eligible expenses or you can pay out of pocket and submit your claim online for reimbursement.
- EBPA Benefits Card FAQs (PDF)
- How to Submit Claims Online (PDF)
- FSA-Health Care Reimbursement Form (PDF)
- FSA-Dependent Care Reimbursement Form (PDF)
Important Reminders for FSAs
- When you initially enroll in a Health Care and/or Dependent Care FSA, you will receive a letter from EBPA, our FSA vendor, that explains how to set up an online account and use the Benefits Debit Card. You will receive a debit card the first year you enroll. Each year after that, your card will be electronically updated with your new FSA election.
- If you contribute to a Health Savings Account (HSA), you cannot contribute to a Health Care FSA. To learn more about Health Savings Accounts visit the Health Plans section of Access Tufts.
- The IRS allows you to submit requests for reimbursement until April 30 for eligible FSA expenses that you incurred during the prior calendar year.
- Expenses incurred before your FSA participation commences or after you cease participation cannot be reimbursed.
- If you leave the university or your benefits eligibility changes, you will have a 120-day run-out period following your benefits termination date to submit eligible FSA expenses incurred during the year of your participation in the plan.
For More Information
If you have questions about your FSAs or you (or a family member) need an extra Benefits Debit Card, call EBPA at 888-678-3457.