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FLEXIBLE SPENDING ACCOUNT (FSA) FAQs

MSU's FSA plan administrator, WageWorks, offers detailed information about both the Dependent Care FSA and Health Care FSA plans on their website. Please contact WageWorks directly with your FSA questions:

How it Works: Contribution Amounts, Filing Claims & Reimbursement

  1. Determine Which FSA Plan is Right for You: An FSA can help you save an average of 30% by allowing you to use pre-tax dollars to pay for eligible expenses. You have the option to enroll in two different FSA plans: Dependent Care FSA and/or Health Care FSA. Learn more about the two FSA plan types.
  2. Determine Contribution Amount: You must then determine the amount you want to contribute for the plan year (Jan. 1 – Dec. 31). This amount is divided over each pay period and is deducted from your paycheck before taxes are calculated. The IRS requires any money left over in your account at the end of the plan year to be forfeited – so be sure to plan your contribution amount well.
  3. File Claim/Receive Reimbursement for Eligible Expense: When you incur an eligible expense, you will need to file a claim and then substantiate your claim (submit a receipt) to your WageWorks account.

Benefits-eligible employees may enroll in an FSA.

Find info about eligible expenses for the two FSA plans on the WageWorks website:

You have the following options:

Note: For Dependent Care FSA, if your reimbursement request exceeds your account balance, you will be reimbursed up to the amount in your account. The remainder will be reimbursed to you when more funds are available in your account.

For Health Care FSA
Acceptable documentation for claim substantiation contains five pieces of information:

  1. Date of Service
  2. Description of Service (such as co-pay)
  3. Patient Name
  4. Provider's Name
  5. Amount of Transaction

An Explanation of Benefits (EOB) from your insurance carrier contains all five pieces of information and is available if you used insurance for your card transaction. Contact your insurance provider to receive an EOB.

For Dependent Care FSA
Acceptable documentation for claim substantiation contains five pieces of information:

  1. Service Date(s)
  2. Dependent’s Name
  3. Type of Service Amount Billed
  4. Provider’s Name
  5. Address
Yes. All claims for reimbursement must be submitted by April 30. If you cease employment (e.g., termination of employment or retirement), all claims for reimbursement must be submitted within 90 days from when you cease employment or by April 30, whichever comes first.
Maybe. If your OEI or dependent meets the definition of an IRS dependent for tax purposes, you may submit claims on eligible expenses for that person. Find the reimbursement guidelines on the IRS website.

During the Open Enrollment period in October you may enroll or re-enroll in an FSA and make changes to your contribution amount for the coming plan year (Jan. 1 – Dec. 31).

You may not change your contribution amount for the current plan year (Jan. 1 – Dec. 31) unless you have a qualifying life event (e.g., marriage, divorce, death, birth/adoption, change in employment, or a change in dependent care provider fees). If you have a qualifying life event, the adjustment in your contribution amount must be consistent with the change in status (e.g., if your employment status is reduced then so would the amount of money you put into your account). If you have a qualifying life event during the plan year, you may make changes to your FSA contribution amount through the EBS Portal within 30 days of the life event.

Any changes to your FSA become effective the first day of the month following the change(s). For questions on your status change or qualifying life event contact WageWorks at 877-924-3967 or MSU Human Resources at SolutionsCenter@hr.msu.edu or 517-353-4434 (toll-free 800-353-4434).

Yes. The maximum benefit for the Health Care FSA is $2,650 per eligible employee. The maximum household benefit for Dependent Care FSA is $5,000 or $2,500 each. We encourage you to speak to a tax advisor to determine the best situation for you prior to enrolling in an FSA.

 

Visit the WageWorks website to manage your FSA account and check the status of any claims or reimbursements. If you have the WageWorks EZ Receipts app you can manage your account on the go from your smartphone.

The IRS requires all unused funds left in your account to be forfeited if you retire or terminate employment, so plan conservatively. If you plan on leaving MSU for any reason, you may wish to reconsider your choice to enroll in an FSA.

If you choose to participate and leave prior to the end of the plan year, you may submit claims (with date of service) and have access to your FSA funds prior to your employment termination date.  

You have 90 days to submit claims for reimbursement from when you cease employment, or by April 30, whichever comes first.

Additionally, if you participate in the Health Care FSA  and you terminate employment, you may be eligible to continue your participation under COBRA. COBRA allows you to continue to make after-tax contributions to your account and to submit reimbursement requests for claims incurred after your employment has ended (during your COBRA period of coverage). Learn more about COBRA.

Yes. The benefit derived from participation in the Health Care FSA and/or Dependent Care FSA is tax savings. MSU Human Resources cannot answer personal tax questions. To maximize your tax savings and ensure they fit with your personal income tax situation, we encourage you to consult with your tax advisor if you have specific questions or concerns prior to enrollment.

 
 

FSA Enrollment Info

During the Open Enrollment period in October you may enroll or re-enroll in an FSA for the coming plan year (Jan. 1 – Dec. 31). Find instructions for completing Open Enrollment.

New hires have a 30-day enrollment period from their employment date to enroll in an FSA, with the FSA effective the first day of the month following enrollment as a new hire.

If you do not enroll by the deadline you will not be eligible until the next Open Enrollment period in October unless you have a qualifying life event (e.g., marriage, divorce, death, birth/adoption, change in employment, or a change in dependent care provider fees). The FSA will be effective the first day of the month following enrollment for those with a qualifying life event.

If you enroll in the Dependent Care FSA, please note that if your dependent care provider changes their fees, this will qualify as a life event.

Find more FSA enrollment info.

Use the following online tools to help you decide if you have enough eligible expenses to justify enrolling in an FSA:

Yes – if you want to continue participating in an FSA. IRS requirements mean you must re-enroll in an FSA every year during the Open Enrollment period in October for the coming plan year (Jan. 1 – Dec. 31). Please review your expenses each year to make sure your contribution amount is appropriate.

You may not end your participation in an FSA during the current plan year unless you have a qualifying life event (e.g., marriage, divorce, death, birth/adoption, change in employment, or a change in dependent care provider fees). If you terminate employment with MSU, your participation in an FSA will terminate on the last day you are actively at work unless you elect to continue your participation under COBRA. COBRA allows you to continue to make after-tax contributions to your account and to submit reimbursement requests for claims incurred after your employment has ended (during your COBRA period of coverage). Learn more about COBRA.

During the Open Enrollment period in October for the coming plan year (Jan. 1 – Dec. 31) you may elect to not enroll or re-enroll in an FSA. If you do not re-enroll in an FSA for the coming plan year your FSA will end on Dec. 31 of the current plan year.

If you have a qualifying life event (e.g., marriage, divorce, death, birth/adoption, or a change in employment) you must inform MSU within 30 days of the event. Please contact Human Resources at SolutionsCenter@hr.msu.edu or 517-353-4434 (toll-free 800-353-4434) for info about the process and required documentation.

 

FSA During a Leave of Absence

If you are on a PAID leave of absence, yes. Your payments will continue to be withdrawn from your paycheck.

MSU treats an UNPAID leave of absence as an employment change in status and you may not participate in an FSA during your leave of absence. However, if you return from your leave of absence during the same calendar year you will automatically be re-enrolled in your Health Care FSA (if you were previously enrolled) and you may submit eligible claims that you incurred during your leave of absence. The remainder of your contribution amount will be divided equally over the remaining calendar year pay periods.

Re-enrollment is not automatic if your return from an UNPAID leave is after 12/31. Any remaining funds in your account will be forfeited due to IRS requirements. You may re-enroll in the Health Care FSA for the new year within 30 days of your return to work.

No. You are not eligible to participate in the dependent care FSA during a leave of absence or submit dependent care FSA claims incurred during your leave of absence.

However, if you return from your leave of absence during the same calendar year you will automatically be re-enrolled in your Dependent Care FSA (if you were previously enrolled). You may not submit claims that you incurred during your leave of absence. The remainder of your contribution amount will be divided equally over the remaining calendar year pay periods.

Re-enrollment is not automatic if your return from an UNPAID leave is after 12/31. Any remaining funds in your account will be forfeited due to IRS requirements. You may re-enroll in the Dependent Care FSA for the new year within 30 days of your return to work.

If you are absent from employment because you are in the uniformed service, you may elect to continue your coverage for up to 24 months. To continue your coverage, you must comply with the terms of the FSA plan, which includes enrollment during the annual Open Enrollment period in October for the coming plan year (Jan. 1 – Dec. 31). You must pay your contributions in accordance with the options outlined above for a participant who goes on a leave of absence.

 

Health Care FSA Specific Info

WageWorks will automatically mail you a debit card after you enroll for the Health Care FSA. Do not throw away your debit card. You will not receive a new debit card every year.

Yes. When you use your debit card, it will use remaining funds from the previous year until the funds are exhausted or until the grace period ends on March 15 of the current year. Then it will use your current plan year funds.

Yes. Health Care FSAs are regulated by the IRS and require you to save all receipts to receive reimbursement for your claims.

WageWorks may contact you to submit a receipt to verify an expense. If receipts aren't sent to WageWorks in the time frame indicated in their correspondence, your Health Care FSA debit card may be suspended until the issue is resolved. You will need to submit a claim and an itemized receipt to substantiate the claim .

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