Happy December, everyone! It's a busy time here at FSAstore.com. The year is ending, which means many of you have FSA deadlines rapidly approaching!
Of course, year-end deadlines mean year-end headlines. The three articles we selected this week highlight just how different our understanding of health savings and flexible spending accounts is across the country.
More importantly, even though FSAstore.com and HSAstore.com have the best Learning Centers on the web, these links illustrate how many more people we need to help understand their accounts.
In these links - all of which were published this week, by the way - we see how studies can turn up very different results. One claims HDHP members are smarter shoppers. Another claims these people aren't using their options the right way. Which is right? That depends on your situation.
Luckily, our Learning Center and calculators, along with 24/7 customer service, and a 100% eligibility-guarantee can help clear up this confusion, and help everyone benefit more from their benefits.
HDHPs decline as sole benefit plan option - Employee Benefit News
Just 28% of U.S. employers are considering offering HDHPs as their sole benefit option to their employees in the next three years. This is a reduction from a high of 44% in 2014, according to PwC's Health Research Institute study.
Even when consumers have health plans that require them to pay a high amount out-of-pocket for care, they often don't talk to doctors about the price of treatments or shop around to get the best deal, a U.S. study suggests.
Most Americans with high-deductible health plans don't shop or save - Insurance Journal
A new study suggests that despite the rise in these high-deductible health plans (HDHPs), most Americans who have them aren't saving, shopping around for better prices, talking to their doctors about costs, or making other consumer-type moves.
With a new slate of temporary FSA changes being introduced in the Consolidated Appropriation Act 2021 in late December, flexible spending accounts (FSAs) are in the news yet again as millions of account holders turn the page to a new plan year and, potentially, new rules affecting how they will budget and spend their tax-free healthcare funds.
If you're one of the people who had an FSA plan year deadline on 12/31, or you're one of the 30 percent of Americans (SHRM, 2019) who have an FSA with a 2.5 month grace period, you should know about a little-known year-end provision that could help you maximize your tax savings from 2020: the FSA run-out period.
What is the FSA "run-out" period?
An FSA "run-out" period refers to the period of time in the new plan year during which account holders can file claims for expenses incurred during the previous plan year. This timeframe is chosen by the employer, not the IRS, and can last for any period of time, but the most common FSA "run-out" period is 90 days. For instance, if your FSA plan year ends on December 31 and you have a 90 day run out period, you would have until March 31 of the following year to submit claims for reimbursement.
Let's make thing one thing very clear at the outset: the FSA "run-out" period is NOT the same as the FSA grace period. The key difference being that the run-out period is to file claims from the previous year, while the FSA grace period is an extension of your current plan year to allow you extra time to spend down your remaining funds. So if you have a grace period deadline on March 15, that is the last day you can spend your remaining 2020 funds.
How can I take advantage of the FSA "run-out" period?
If you've been on top of your bookkeeping to keep receipts and invoices for FSA eligible products and services, you're already ahead of the game. The claims process during the "run-out" period is the same as during your plan year, and receipts and invoices should contain the following information. From WageWorks:
"To make sure your claims are processed quickly, please make sure that your receipts and documentation include the following five pieces of information:
- Patient's Name: The name of the person who received the service or for whom the item was purchased for. For retail store purchases, this information may be excluded.
- Provider's Name: The provider that delivered the service or where the item was purchased.
- Date of Service: The date on which services were provided or the item was purchased.
- Type of Service: A detailed description of the service provided or item purchased. A bag tag is sufficient for prescriptions.
- Cost: The amount you paid for the service or product and/or the portion that is not reimbursed through your insurance carrier."
Once you have this information on-hand, you're ready to file your claim! Simply log into your benefits portal and follow the instructions to have your claim processed. Remember, not all claims will be honored and benefits administrators may require additional documentation if a product falls outside of eligibility rules, there aren't enough funds in the account or if additional information is required to reimburse the expense.
Finally, it's important to remember that run-out periods are available as a helping hand to those who may have let claims slide over the course of a plan year. After 2020, who could blame you? But if you want to avoid the year-end scramble to file claims, make a process for filing them during your plan year instead. File claims at the end of each month, or quarterly so you can stay ahead and avoid adding one more thing to your year-end rush.
But first thing's first - check with your HR department or benefits administrator to see if your employer offers a "run-out" period, how long it lasts and what you need to do to be reimbursed for your eligible expenses. Don't leave your hard-earned dollars on the table and make sure you maximize your 2020 tax savings!
While FSA plan years can vary, the vast majority of plans will end on 12/31 and the remainder of the funds will be forfeited to the FSA plan sponsor if they are not spent. However, employers can choose one (or neither) of two regulations: the $500 rollover or the 2.5 month grace period. The $500 rollover allows FSA users to roll over up to $500 into next year's account, while the 2.5 month grace period gives FSA users 2.5 months after the end of their plan year to make purchases and submit claims for reimbursement. So if your plan ends on 12/31, the only way you can still spend 2016 funds is if you have the 2.5 month grace period extension that ends on 3/15. Double check with your benefits administrator to find out when your 2016 funds expire and how long you have to spend or file claims.
One of the easiest ways to stay competitive in the hiring world is offering amazing benefits for your employees. But with the high cost of health care and lack of knowledge of your plan options, you might find this low on your priority list.
If you haven't explored the consumer driven health care (CDH) trend, now is your time. What started as an industry buzz word has become a budget-friendly benefit offering you can't ignore.
Health savings accounts (HSAs) and flexible spending accounts (FSAs) are two elements that make up part of CDH. Both pre-tax benefits function similarly but do have distinct differences on factors like contribution limits, fund availability and rollover limits.
But don't worry – we've broken it all down for you.
PrimePay teamed up with the FSA Store to take you on a shopping trip that can actually save you money. View the infographic below for details on eligibility, deadlines and more.
Click the infographic to share on Twitter!
Do you have a March 15 Grace period deadline? It could be the last chance to spend your 2015 FSA dollars before it's too late.
March 15 Could be the Last Chance to Spend 2015 Flexible Spending Account Dollars
FSAstore.com offers tips, reminders on deadlines and easy ways to spend down FSA balance
NEW YORK, February 29, 2016 – FSAstore.com, the only e-commerce site exclusively stocked with Flexible Spending Account (FSA) eligible products, is reminding millions of Americans covered by an FSA that they may have a Grace Period to use remaining 2015 funds. For FSA plans that ended Dec. 31, 2015, the Grace Period deadline is March 15, 2016. The Grace Period provides a last chance to spend down an FSA and avoid forfeiting leftover FSA money.
According to an FSAstore.com survey, approximately 34 percent of employers offer a Grace Period, which gives individuals a two-and-a-half month extension to use FSA money from 2015. Alternatively, some FSA account holders may have a Carryover option that allows them to carry over up to $500 in FSA funds to the next plan year. An FSA may offer a Carryover or Grace Period option, but not both. An FSA may also offer neither option.
"Consumers tend to be confused about two things: deadlines and eligible expenses. Our goal is to educate people about deadlines and to make it easy and convenient for them to spend their FSA dollars on products and services that enhance their health," said Jeremy Miller, FSAstore.com founder and president. “The March 15 Grace Period is the last chance some people have to use their remaining funds, or risk losing their hard-earned money."
FSAstore.com urges consumers to contact their FSA administrator to find out if they have a deadline extension. Consumer can browse FSAstore.com's FSA Eligibility List to find products and services that can help them make the most of the remaining account balance.
FSAstore.com is the only e-commerce site exclusively stocked with FSA eligible products - eliminating the guesswork behind what is reimbursable by an FSA. Consumers with Flexible Spending Accounts can access thousands of FSA eligible products, and access much-needed information through the FSA Eligibility List and FSA Learning Center. FSAstore.com accepts all FSA and major credit cards, offers 24/7 customer service, one-to-two-day turnaround for all orders, and free shipping on orders $50+.
Have a year-end FSA deadline? Get spending tips from FSAstore.com CEO's and learn more about your FSA!
By Jeremy Miller, CEO & Founder of FSAstore.com and HSAstore.com
Open enrollment is a done deal for many companies, but employees – especially those who are facing a year-end flexible spending account deadline – still need support and direction from human resources and benefits professionals.
Recent surveys have shown that consumers still don't fully understand how their spending accounts work and, more importantly, that they look to their employers as a source of education and information about how to use their accounts. You can improve employee education, engagement and satisfaction with your company's FSA by reminding employees of these key spending account tips and reminders.
1. When is the deadline to submit expenses?
For many employers, December 31 is the deadline for employees to spend down FSA funds – or risk forfeiting unused dollars. This is commonly known as the “Use-it-or-lose-it" rule.
2. Is there an extension for spending FSA dollars?
Be sure to communicate clearly (and often) if your company offers one of the following plan features that give employees extra time to spend down their FSA or submit expenses for reimbursement:
- Carryover or Rollover Option: This allows employees to carry over up to $500 of unused FSA dollars to the next plan year. This amount is added to their balance for the next year.
- Grace Period: A grace period gives employees two-and-a-half months beyond December 31 (until March 15) to incur expenses and spend unused FSA dollars.
- Run-Out Period: A run-out period gives employees additional time (usually 90 days) beyond the end of the plan year to submit reimbursement requests for eligible expenses, but only if those expenses were incurred during the plan year.
Employers can offer the carryover option or a grace period, but not both. Your company is not required to offer either of these options, but if your plan includes an extended deadline, that means employees have more time and flexibility to use their accounts, so be sure they understand this benefit.
FSAstore.com reminds nearly 35 million FSA holders that they may have a June 30 Flexible Spending Account plan-year deadline to use their remaining dollars.
"Using a Flexible Spending Account can be confusing, but it shouldn't be. At FSAstore.com, you can shop for everyday, exclusivelyFSA-eligible products, so there is no guesswork when using your account," said Jeremy Miller, FSAstore.com founder and president. "As summer approaches, people may be surprised they can shop for seasonal products including sunscreen, first-aid kits, and hot/cold therapy packs to make the most of their FSA. In addition to products, they can access resources like an Eligibility List and a Learning Center to help thembetter understand what's covered by their FSA."
Even if consumers do not have the June FSA deadline, the mid-year mark is a good time to check in about FSA balances and spending deadlines for the plan year.
Use remaining FSA dollars or make the most of your FSA through these mid-year tips:
- Check your remaining FSA balance. Ask an FSA administrator or Human Resources department about leftover funds. Knowing the exact plan-yeardeadline also allowsyou to avoid losing your tax-free dollars.
- Understand plan eligibility. Ask about plan guidelines to learn what is covered for seamless reimbursement.
- Check in about qualifying events. Normally, you can only elect contributions into your FSA during an annual open enrollment period, but there are exceptions.If you experience a “qualifying event," such as the birth of a child or a change in marital status, ask if you can change your FSA contribution.
- Keep track of different FSAs, if applicable. A Dependent Care FSA can be used to pay for qualifying child care on a pre-tax basis, while a healthcare FSA can cover qualifying medical expenses for you and your family(spouse and children through the age of 26).
- Use an FSA card. Reduce paperwork for reimbursement by using an FSA card, and save up to 40 percent when you shop at FSAstore.com.
FSAstore.com was founded to make it simple and convenient to spend, manage, and use an FSA. FSAstore.com is the only e-commerce site stocked exclusively with FSA eligible products, eliminating any and all guesswork as to what is and is not FSA eligible. In addition to the 6,000 eligible products available, the site offers educational resources for FSA holders, including the most comprehensive Eligibility List in the industry and a Learning Center with answers to the most common FSA questions. FSAstore.com accepts all FSA and major credit cards, offers 24/7 customer service, two-day turnaround for all orders and free shipping on orders $50+.
As the FSA deadline approaches on June 30th for spending the money in your Flexible Spending Account, FSAstore.com offers a convenient and simple solution.
Do you have an FSA plan year deadline on June 30th?
With the June 30th deadline for spending the money in your Flexible Spending Account fast approaching, FSA Store is a quick and simple solution to making sure you take advantage of all of your money! If you have been spending your FSA account dollars throughout the year, you probably only have a small amount left in your account. Even so, you should attempt to use it all up so you don't lose any money.
We created a list of a few items you can buy at FSAstore.comwith remaining FSA dollars before your FSA deadline!
Not sure where to start or want to shop for a variety of items with your healthcare FSA?
Our popular Goodies category has surprising finds with your Flexible Spending Account, and covers a variety of items.
Shop for Goodies
$15 or less:
Buy with $15:
Perfect for sore knees and ankles, wrists and hands, shoulders and chest. Use it at the gym, the office, at home, to let you work or play comfortably.
Contains calcium, vitamin D, and soy to help maintain healthy bone and joint function. If you have arthritis, take this dietary supplement regularly to support joint flexibility, cartilage maintenance and bone health. No prescription needed.
Buy with $10:
With a large opening for inserting ice and water, this ice bag will stay cold for hours to keep your injury or pain point cold and relieved!
Despite the specific name, this pack comes with a variety of shapes and sizes to use on knees, elbows, noses, chins, etc. The absorbent island wound pad helps to keep dirt and other forms of contamination out.
Buy with $5:
A sun protected chap stick for use anywhere on your face, from your lips to ears and back of the neck. This is great for touching up your sunscreen in hard to reach places at least every 2 hours.
KT tape helps you endure multiple workouts by providing pain relief. It will stay in place for up to three days, even through showers, humidity, cold, and pool.
Have a lot more to spend before the FSA deadline, and not sure what products you'll want?
Or, if you have a lot of money left over and limited time before the deadline, you can view our Bundles!These are conveniently-packaged, similar products that come in a handy bundle (with a free tote). We sella variety of bundles depending on your healthcare needs - a family-friendly bundle, travel essentials, an eye care bundle, sun care bundle, pain relief bundle and more!
Shop a Bundle
Since you have a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), you likely hear about upcoming deadlines throughout your plan year. Whether that's a plan-year deadline (by which you must use your FSA money, or risk losing it), or a Grace Period ending, or even a Run-Out Period.
Forbes published an article explaining what today's deadline - March 31 - means for Flexible Spending Account holders. It provides a detailed explanation of what the run-out period deadline means.
If you quickly want to know what you can do, here's our tip:
Check with your FSA administrator if you have the Run-Out Period deadline. Most Flexible Spending Accounts offer a Run-Out Period.
What is the Run-Out Period? This is an extended period of time (3 months following the end of your plan year) to be reimbursed for any expenses incurred during the prior plan year.
Remember these two details:
1. You cannot incur new expenses to be reimbursed.
2. Submit old receipts for expenses from 2017 to still get reimbursed.
Though big deadlines have passed for many Flexible Spending Accounts (the December 31 FSA plan-year deadline and the March 15 Grace Period deadline, for example), there's another deadline approaching.
Deadlines for Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) vary depending on your plan-year, and sometimes plans will also have extensions - a Carryover or a Grace Period...or something known as a Run-Out Period.A Run-Out Period is a limited time after the FSA plan year ends during which you can continue filing claims for any expenses that you incurred during the plan year. Since FSAs are “Use-it-or-Lose-it" accounts, the Run-Out Period gives you the opportunity to still file claims.
For example: If your plan year ended on December 31, but your employer gives you a Run-Out Period, you might (typically) have 90 days to submit claims – meaning your deadline would be extended to March 31.
Note:Not all FSA plans automatically include a Run-Out Period. It's best to check in with your FSA Administrator if you are unsure. You can also ask HR or your Administrator about claims processing. If you prefer to read guidelines about your specific plan, your Summary Plan Description contains important information about your FSA.
Looking for items you can buy with your Flexible Spending Account? Shop for FSA eligible products at FSAstore.com
FSAstore.com reminds consumers to spend down balance as year-end deadline approaches
New York, NY (PRWEB) November 17, 2014 - Nearly 35 million people are enrolled in Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs). According to a recent survey by VISA, these individuals have an average of $170 on the table at the end of the year because they aren’t aware of their spending deadlines.FSAstore.com, the only e-commerce site exclusively stocked withFSA-eligible products, urges consumers to check their FSA balances and spend any remaining funds before they expire. Since many FSAs have a Dec. 31 deadline, time to spend remaining FSA dollars is running out. The VISA survey also found that half of FSA users rush to spend their funds at the end of the year.
“As the FSA deadline approaches, we want to help customers maximize their health care savings and avoid losing sizeable FSA balances,” said Jeremy Miller, CEO and founder of FSAstore.com. “FSAstore.com offers the simplest solution by exclusively selling more than 6,000 FSA-eligible products, which eliminates all guesswork as to what’s eligible and makes shopping with your FSA fast, easy and convenient.”
To make shopping easy, FSAstore.com offers individual products or FSA Bundles, which feature similar products in one, comprehensive package. There are 15 bundles available on FSAstore.com, including the Baby Care Bundle, Family Essentials Bundle, Pain Relief Bundle, Sun Care Bundle, Travel Essentials Bundle, and more.
“I absolutely love the selection and ease with which I can shop. It’s very easy to tell which items are FSA-eligible products,” said Cynthia Olsen, an FSAstore.com customer. “As a bonus, I could order at 11 p.m., on the evening of my expiration date in order to spend down all available funds.”
It’s as easy as 1-2-3: Maximize Your FSA at Year-End
1.Keep track of deadlines: Depending on your FSA plan, you may have a Carryover, Grace Period or neither. Learn more about Carryovers vs. Grace Periods in this video brought to you by FSAstore.com. You may also have a Run-Out period, which gives you additional time after year-end to submit for reimbursement of prior-year expenses. Contact your FSA administrator to see which option(s) apply to your particular FSA.
2.Spend wisely: Use the available funds in the FSA to pay for out-of-pocket expenses such as co-pays and deductibles. With any funds left over, don’t forget about eligible medical products you purchase throughout the year, such as contacts and glasses, thermometers, first-aid kits and thousands of additional products offered by FSAstore.com.
3.Ensure less paperwork: When using an FSA debit card at FSAstore.com, you significantly reduce your chance of having to supply purchase documentation, as all products sold on the site are guaranteed FSA eligible.
FSAstore.com was founded to make it simple and convenient to spend, manage, and use an FSA. For the last four years, FSAstore.com has been the only e-commerce site stocked exclusively with FSA eligible products, eliminating any and all guesswork as to what is and isn’t FSA eligible. In addition to the 6,000 eligible products available, the site offers educational resources for FSA holders, including the most comprehensiveEligibility Listin the industry and a Learning Center with answers to the most common FSA questions. FSAstore.com accepts all FSA and major credit cards, offers 24/7 customer service, two-day turnaround for all orders and free shipping on orders $50+.
If you have a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), then you're likely aware that there are certain deadlines by which you can use the funds you set aside. These deadlines are pretty strict, but they depend on how your plan is structured. Some plans also offer extensions for which you can use your account - known as grace periods. You can find out more about grace periods in the posts below.
Your FSA administrator can help with any questions regarding coverage, claims, your dependents, reimbursement and your actual FSA balance.
We do not have access to your FSA information (that includes your account balance or claims details) - we are merely a retailer of FSA eligible products. Our site was created to make it simple for FSA holders to shop for the products they need every day and save on these items with an FSA. Though we can't answer any questions about your specific FSA account, you can always ask our customer support team any general questions about FSAs and eligible products/services. We're happy to help you so that you can make the most of your benefit.
We've rounded up a few blog posts to help you sort out how these plans might work.However, these are general tips, and your FSA administrator (or HR department, if you're not sure who administers your FSA) will have specific information aboutyouraccount for you.
Now, let's get to these questions about Flexible Spending Account deadlines...
What's a grace period? What's a run-out?Do I have both? Do I have one, but not the other?If you're not sure, check out our post and learn more about their differences:
How do I even know if my plan has an extension? Can I still spend down my funds with an extension?
Learn more in our post about FSA extensions (grace periods).
Have more questions about your Flexible Spending Account? Feel free to post these in the blog comments, ask our chat experts, or post it on social media! We'll answer your questions in a new post or chat.
FSAstore.com Reminds Consumers: June 30th Deadline Approaching to Use Flexible Spending Account Dollars
Save on Thousands of Products such as Sunscreen and First Aid Kits
NEW YORK, NY--(June 19, 2014) - FSAstore.com, the only e-commerce site stocked exclusively with Flexible Spending Account (FSA) eligible products, wants to remind nearly 35 million FSA holders that they may have a June 30th deadline to use remaining funds. Some employer-sponsored FSAs have this plan-year deadline by which employees must use FSA funds to avoid losing them. Flexible Spending Accounts are employer-based plans that let consumers set aside pre-tax income on qualified healthcare products and medical services.
“By offering thousands of everyday products and seasonal items like sunscreen, along with tools and information to help customers better understand and use their account, FSAstore.com encourages smart health care spending habits. That means consumers spend wisely and are not left with sizable account balances at deadline time," said Jeremy Miller, FSAstore.com founder and president.
Ensure that you’re making good use of your pre-tax dollars before the deadline by shopping online at FSAstore.com, which offers a wide selection of everyday and seasonal products, including sun care bundles, first-aid kits, contact lens care, breast pumps, and thermometers.
Keep track of your FSA deadline and remaining dollars with these mid-year tips:
- Confirm your FSA deadline with your FSA administrator or Human Resources department. You may have a grace period to continue to spend down funds or a rollover of up to $500. Knowing your exact deadline will help you plan wisely and avoid losing your tax-free dollars.
- Check plan guidelines to learn what is covered and what steps are necessary for reimbursement. If you have a “qualifying event,” such as the birth of a child or a change in marital status, ask if you can change your FSA contribution.
- Consider contributing to both a health care FSA and a Dependent Care FSA, if applicable. A Dependent Care FSA can be used to pay for qualifying child care or elderly care pre-tax.
- Know your contribution limits, and calculate out-of-pocket expenses with an FSA Calculator. You can typically contribute up to $2,500 in an FSA, and some employers may also choose to contribute in excess of that $2,500.
- Reduce paperwork by using an FSA card, and save up to 40% by using your FSA funds at FSAstore.com.
Flexible Spending Account Details
If you’re among the more than 30 million Americans with a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) and your plan year ran until December 31st, 2013, then you may be able to still use your 2013 funds for FSA eligible expenses. FSA rules have changed since 2013. Last year, the U.S. Treasury Department made changes to the “Use it or Lose it” rule, allowing employers to give people more options to spend down and use their FSA.
Your employer may have allowed for a carryover of up to $500 in remaining funds at year-end. If so, you would be able to use these funds in the new plan year.
Or, your employer may offer a grace period. This grace period is a 2 ½ month extension to use your remaining FSA funds, so you have more time to spend down your account. If your FSA plan year ended December 31st, this means you have until March 15th, 2014 to use your remaining funds.
No matter what the option, these changes make Flexible Spending Accounts…well, a little bit more flexible for consumers. The thought of immediately losing your funds at the end of the plan year isn’t as scary. However, you do still have to USE your FSA by a set plan year deadline, or risk losing your funds (minus $500, if a carryover applies).
5 Tips For Maximizing Your Plan
- Take Control of Your Funds: No FSA plan is the same. Your employer has certain guidelines set for your plan – these are outlined in your Summary Plan Description.
- Stay on Top of Deadlines: You should be aware of important deadlines for your plan. After all, this is tax-free income that is available to you. Find out if you have a Grace Period or if you have a carryover in FSA funds.
- Use it or Lose it: While the “Use it or Lose it” rule may have changed, you still have to use most or all of your funds by a set deadline.
- Track Medical Spending: Use an FSA during the year for over-the-counter products, dental and eye care and any out-of-pocket medical expenses.
- Buy Everyday Health items: FSAstore.com was founded to make it easy for anyone with an FSA to shop for FSA eligible products. On our site, we eliminate the guesswork you may face at a drugstore because we exclusively offer eligible products with an FSA.
Do you have a March 15 Grace Period? If so, you have only a few weeks left to spend down your FSA.