Human Resources

Flexible Spending Accounts

Healthcare Flexible Spending Account (HCFSA)


NOTE: The 2017 annual Healthcare FSA limit is $2,600.  The Healthcare FSA can only be used with the Blue Care Elect Deductible and the Advantage Blue medical plans.  Employees enrolled in the Blue Care Elect Saver plan cannot participate in a traditional Healthcare FSA.

  • You may elect up to $2,600 for 2017.  Annual elections are irrevocable and cannot be changed during the year unless you experience an IRS qualifying status change.
  • Funds in your Healthcare FSA can only be used for qualified medical expenses during the plan year.  For a listing of qualified expenses, please visit the IRS website at: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p502.pdf
  • You will receive an FSA debit card that will be loaded upfront with your full annual election from Health Equity.  If you should pay out-of-pocket and do not use your FSA debit card, you may submit for reimbursement through Health Equity.  Remember to immediately register your account and debit card online with Health Equity upon receipt.
  • If you are enrolling in the Blue Care Elect Deductible plan, you will want to take a moment to consider the amount you elect for your Healthcare FSA contribution. Under the Blue Care Elect Deductible plan, employees receive an employer funded Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) in the amount of up to 50% of the annual deductible under the plan (prorated for new hires and mid-year enrollees). So, if you enroll in the Blue Care Elect Deductible plan and the Healthcare FSA, you do not want to set aside any dollars that will be reimbursable to you under the HRA. For example, you would only want to consider the following expenses: deductible expenses after the HRA is exhausted but only if you are planning on those services, Rx prescription co-payments, or out-of-pocket dental expenses.
  • Unused funds are forfeited at the end of the plan year ("Use-it-or-lose-it" rule), so plan your election carefully.
  • Eligible expenses must be incurred during the plan year (January 1 - December 31); however, there is a 3-month run out period that allows you to submit for reimbursement of eligible expenses during the plan year up through March 31st of the following year.

 
Accessing your Health FSA account

"Limited Purpose" Healthcare Flexible Spending Account

  • Only for employees enrolled in the Blue Care Elect Saver plan.
  • May elect up to $2,600 in 2017 to set aside in a "Limited Purpose" Healthcare FSA.  Annual elections are irrevocable and cannot be changed during the year unless you experience an IRS Qualified Life Event.  
  • “Limited Purpose” Healthcare FSA funds can only be used for qualified vision and dental expenses, or over-the-counter medications with a prescription.  Per IRS rules, “Limited Purpose” Healthcare FSA funds cannot be used for medical expenses as the Health Savings Account (HSA) is intended for this use.
  • Health Equity will be the administrator of the “Limited Purpose” Healthcare FSA and you will receive an FSA debit card that will be loaded upfront with your full annual election.  If you should pay out-of-pocket and do not use your FSA debit card for eligible expenses, you may submit for reimbursement through Health Equity.  Remember to register your debit card and account upon receipt.
  • Unused FSA funds will be forfeited at the end of the plan year ("Use-it-or-lose-it" rule).
  • Eligible expenses must be incurred during the plan year (January 1 - December 31); however, there is a 3-month run out period that allows you to submit for reimbursement of eligible expenses during the plan year up through March 31st of the following year.


Accessing your "Limited Purpose" Healthcare FSA account

Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (DCFSA)


The Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (DCFSA) can be used to pay for dependent care expenses that you and your spouse (if any), incur in order to work or attend school full-time.  Eligible dependent care expenses for children under 13 years of age at the time they were in daycare, or for an adult that depends on you for care, can include those from the following: a licensed child care center, nursery school, daytime summer camp, adult day care center, and in-home care.

The DCFSA enables you to take advantage of tax savings by using pre-tax dollars for your out-of-pocket day care expenses for eligible dependents. Money set aside for this account generally needs to be used within the calendar year and must be re-elected each year during Open Enrollment. 

According to the IRS, you may not be reimbursed for dependent care expenses for your Domestic Partner's child(ren) through a DCFSA unless they are considered your tax dependents under Internal Revenue Code Section 152.  You may want to consult with a tax advisor to confirm if any person meets the criteria for tax dependents.

For 2016, the DCFSA is administered within the WHOI Benefits team.  Please submit 2016 DCFSA claims to the WHO Benefits team using this form.  For more information, please contact Benefits at BenefitsQA@whoi.edu or at x2253.

Beginning in 2017, the DCFSA will be administered by Health Equity.  Please submit 2017 DCFSA claims to Health Equity using this form.  For more information, please contact Health Equity directly at 800-382-2510 or at www.healthequity.com.

Dependent Care Subsidy


The Dependent Care Subsidy (DCS) benefit, paid after-tax by WHOI, is in addition to the Dependent Care FSA.  You may enroll in this benefit any time.  The subsidy benefit is administered in-house by the WHOI Benefits team.  

Beginning in 2017, the DCS will reimburse up to $3/hour up to $3,000/child annually for out of pocket childcare expenses for children up to age 13.  The maximum reimbursement per week is determined by the lesser of:

  • Actual childcare time
  • Time WHOI employee works per week
  • Time the spouse or domestic partner of WHOI employee works per week

Reimbursement must be submitted monthly by the 8th of the month by submitting a completed reimbursement form, paid receipt showing the hours of the care, and verification of employment and hours worked for the spouse or domestic partner, if applicable.

For more information, please contact BenefitsQA@whoi.edu or x2253.

Related Forms:

Spouse Verification of Employment Form

DCS Reimbursement Form

Last updated: December 29, 2016