Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs): Save $300 for Every $1,000 Contributed

Open Enrollment October 13 – December 4 for Half-Year Benefits

How does a FSA work?  Watch this Video.

Flexible Spending Account Open Enrollment Brochure pdf format of FSAbrochurefall2015.pdf

It’s Open Enrollment time for the GIC’s pretax benefits.  From Tuesday, October 13 through Friday, December 4, 2015, state employees have the opportunity to enroll in the GIC’s pretax benefits.  On average, participants save $300 for every $1,000 contributed.  There are two options: 

Health Care Spending Account (HCSA) for Out-of-Pocket Health Care Expenses

With recent increase in GIC copays and deductibles, more state employees will want to take advantage of the savings of the HCSA program.  Examples of eligible expenses:

  • Physician office visit and prescription drug copayments
  • Medical deductibles and coinsurance
  • Eyeglasses, prescription sunglasses, and contact lenses
  • Orthodontia and dental care
  • Hearing aids and durable medical equipment
  • Smoking cessation programs and childbirth classes
  • Chiropractor and acupuncture visits

All active state employees who are eligible for GIC health benefits are eligible to enroll in the HCSA. Employees must work at least 18.75 hours in a 37.5-hour work week or 20 hours in a 40-hour work week to be eligible. 

Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP) 

With DCAP, employees pay pretax for qualified dependent care expenses for a child under the age of 13, a disabled child age 13 or older, and/or an adult dependent.  The program addresses such expenses as day care, after-school programs, elder day care, and day camp.  Active state employees, including contractors, who work at least half-time can participate.

How These Programs Work

Through payroll deduction, you will contribute to your HCSA and/or DCAP accounts.  If you’re a HCSA participant, you and your eligible spouse or dependent will receive two free debit cards to conveniently pay for eligible expenses as you incur them.  For example, when you pick up a prescription, you can use the card to pay your prescription copay.  An additional set of two cards can be ordered for $5.00. With either HCSA or DCAP, you can pay for expenses and then submit a claim form (with receipt for HCSA or provider’s signature for DCAP) to receive reimbursement by check or direct deposit, depending on which option you elect.  

Each time you use your FSA debit card

Ask the provider for an itemized statement that includes:

  1. Provider name and address
  2. Patient name
  3. Date the service/supply was provided (regardless when paid or billed)
  4. Description of the service/supply
  5. Dollar amount you owe

IRS regulations require you to provide an itemized statement to ASIFlex for FSA expenses upon request.  Submit online, via the mobile app, by fax, or mail.  Also retain a copy with your personal tax records.

Open Enrollment for Half-Year Benefits

The FSA program is transitioning from a calendar year program to a fiscal year program so that it aligns with other GIC benefits.  For this fall’s October 13 – December 4, 2015 open enrollment only, enroll for half-year benefits for January 1 – June 30, 2016.  During the GIC’s spring annual enrollment, state employees will be able to enroll in full year benefits that begin July 1, 2016.   Choose a half-year election:

  • HCSA:  $250 to $1,275
  • DCAP:  Up to $2,500

The monthly administrative fee for HCSA only, DCAP only, or HCSA and DCAP combined is $2.50 on a pretax basis.

2 ½ Month Grace Period for Short Plan Year

It’s important to consider your election carefully.  Because of the tax benefits of FSAs, the IRS imposes a strict “use-it-or-lose-it” rule, which means money left in a pre-tax account at plan year end is forfeited.  However, you’re given additional time with the 2 ½ month grace period to use your benefits.  For the short plan year, you have until September 15, 2016 to incur claims and until October 15, 2016 to submit claims.

Don’t Miss Out On Saving Money: Enroll No Later Than Friday, December 4

Enroll no later than December 4 to save on federal and state taxes in the first half of 2016.  Participants must re-enroll each open enrollment period by re-enrolling online and giving the enrollment confirmation page to your payroll coordinator.  New participants complete and return the FSA Enrollment form to your payroll coordinator. 

Online re-enrollment instructions and the new enrollment form are on our website.  For additional assistance, contact ASIFlex, the plan administrator: 1.800.659.3035.

This information provided by the Group Insurance Commission .