Flexible Spending Accounts
Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) enable you to set aside some of your pay, on a pre-tax basis, into an account to pay for eligible health care or dependent care expenses. "Pre-tax" means you do not pay federal income or FICA taxes on the amount of money you put in the FSA. You save money by paying less tax. For reimbursement from your FSA account(s), you submit a claim form and required documentation to the spending account administrator, Benefit Express.
There are two types of Flexible Spending Accounts at Vanderbilt:
- Health Care FSA reimburses items such as eyeglasses, co-payments, prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs — any eligible health care expenses that are not covered by a benefit plan. The annual election minimums and maximums are $104 to $2,500 per employee. If both spouses work, both can claim $2,500 - for a total household limit of $5,000.
- Dependent Day Care FSA reimburses the cost of day care expenses for your children (under the age of 13) or other eligible dependents. The day care must be used as a means to allow you and/or your spouse to be gainfully employed. You can contribute up to a family maximum of $5,000 (for married couples filing jointly) or a minimum of $104 each calendar year to a Dependent Day Care FSA.
The money contributed to your FSA account must be used during the calendar year; it does not carry over from year to year. You do have a grace period in which you are allowed additional time to incur claims for reimbursement. This grace period allows participants to incur claims up until March 15 of the following plan year. Money not used will be forfeited. Please plan your election amount carefully.
How to Submit a Claim
Benefit Express is Vanderbilt’s FSA and HRA vendor. There are three ways to submit a claim:
- Online using the Benefit Express website. Log in with your VUnetID and ePassword and then click on "View My Reimbursement Account."
- Fax a receipt to 1.253.793.3766
- Email a Reimbursement Request Form, with receipts, to firstname.lastname@example.org
How to EnrollFor New Employees
If you want to enroll in an FSA, you must enroll within three months of your hire date. Then your FSA start date will be the first day of the month after three months of eligible employment. You can file and be reimbursed for claims for eligible services received on or after your FSA start date. Payroll deductions begin upon the first paycheck after eligibility. For example, if you were hired on July 10, your payroll deductions would start with your November paycheck. The amount you elect will be deducted evenly from each paycheck for that year, beginning with the first paycheck after three months of employment.
For Current Employees
To continue an FSA each calendar year, you must request FSA enrollment during the benefits Open Enrollment period each fall. The FSA start date will be January 1 of the next calendar year. You can file and be reimbursed for claims for eligible services received on or after your FSA start date. Payroll deductions begin upon the first paycheck after eligibility.
End of Employment
If your employment with Vanderbilt ends, you may still submit claims to be reimbursed. However the claims must be incurred prior to your end of employment date. You can still use the Flexible Spending Account Reimbursement Request Form and submit your claims to Benefit Express by the deadline of the run-out period, which is April 15.
- IRS 2 1/2 Month Extension for FSAs
- Notice for Highly Compensated Faculty and Staff with Dependent Day Care FSAs
- IRS Publication 502 "Medical and Dental Expenses"
- IRS Publication 503 "Child and Dependent Care Expenses"
- IRS Publication 969 "Health Savings Accounts and Other Tax-favored Plans" (refer to Publication 969's page 14 for our FSA and page 15 for our HRA)
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