Williams College Group Insurance Plan
Healthcare Flexible Spending Account
The Healthcare FSA allows participants to pay for eligible medical expenses with pre-tax dollars through automatic payroll deduction. The College will credit the amount deducted from a participant's pay to a bookkeeping account, and the participant may draw on the account to reimburse himself or herself for eligible medical expenses. By using pre-tax dollars instead of after-tax dollars to pay for eligible medical expenses, participants lower their taxable income. This results in tax savings.
Participants can use Healthcare FSA to pay for medical expenses that may not be covered by insurance, such as co-payments for doctor's visits, insurance deductibles or elective procedures. Participants may also use the account to pay for such things as dental and orthodontia expenses, eyeglasses, contact lenses, prescription drugs, and certain over-the-counter drugs for which the participant obtains a prescription. The expenses may be for the participant, the participant's qualifying spouse, or participant's qualifying dependents as defined by the IRS. A list of some sample expenses the IRS considers qualifying expenses appears in Appendix 4.
Information about the Healthcare FSA including instructions for renewing your account or setting up a new account can be found here http://hr.williams.edu/benefits/flexible-spending/.
The IRS requires an annual enrollment for all Healthcare FSA accounts. Online enrollment must be completed by each year. To participate, eligible faculty and staff must determine how much to elect to put in their account for the calendar year. The minimum election is $100 and the maximum is $2,600 (effective 1/1/17). This total will be deducted in equal amounts twenty-four times each calendar year on a pre-tax basis.
The amount of the annual election must remain fixed for the entire plan year unless a participant has a change in family circumstances or other allowable change (see Benefit Changes Permitted in Addition to Changes Permitted at Open Enrollment).
An important point to remember: Federal tax regulations require that if a participant does not use all of his or her annual election for qualifying expenses, the unused portion must be forfeited. Therefore, it is important that participants estimate their qualifying medical and dental expenses very carefully.
Effective 1/1/2014, employers that offer Healthcare FSA programs have the option of allowing participants to roll over up to $500 of unused funds at the end of the plan year. Williams had decided to amend our plan for 2014 which will allow carry over into 2015, and in future years.
At any time during the year, a participant may receive reimbursement up to the maximum amount that the participant has chosen to contribute to his or her account for the year, minus any amounts that have already been reimbursed for the year. The participant may receive this maximum amount even if that is more than the amount that the participant has contributed for the year at the time that the participant seeks reimbursement. For example, assume that a participant chooses to contribute $1,200 for the year ($100 per month) to his or her account, has contributed $500 through the end of May, and incurs a qualifying medical expense of $800 in May. The participant may receive reimbursement for the entire $800 expense even though there is only $500 in the participant's account at the time. The participant could seek reimbursement for the remaining $400 of other expenses ($1,200 minus $800) during the rest of the year. If a participant stops working at the College before the end of the year, the College will bear the loss resulting from any shortfall between the reimbursements paid to the participant and what the participant has contributed to his or her account for the part of the year that he or she worked at the College.
How to Apply for Benefits
When participants have a qualifying expense during the calendar year, they may use the HealthEquity Card at the point of service or submit a claim form with a receipt reflecting the medical expense directly to HealthEquity for reimbursement. Claims may be filed as often as the participant wishes and will be reimbursed by HealthEquity. Claim forms are available at HealthEquity - see https://hr.williams.edu/benefits/flexible-spending/ for instructional guides and videos.
In order for an expense to qualify for reimbursement from a given calendar year's contribution, it must be incurred during the same plan year. All claims for reimbursement must be submitted by March 31 of the year after the plan year ends. Receipts for claims should be kept in case HealthEquity requires them or the IRS.
If a participant leaves the College during the year, he or she has three months after the end of the calendar year to submit claims for expenses incurred before the date he or she left.