Health Flexible Spending Account (HFSA)
The Healthcare Flexible Spending Account (HFSA) allows you to stretch your budget further. The HFSA is a voluntary pretax benefit plan that allows you to set aside money from your paycheck to be used to pay the out-of-pocket medical, prescription, dental and vision expenses that you and your dependents incur.
You never pay taxes on the money you put into your account, giving you more bang for your buck when you use pretax money to reimburse qualified healthcare expenses.
How does it work?
With the HFSA, you’ll receive a WageWorks Healthcare Card. You use the card like a debit card – just swipe and go. Also, your total election is available May 1, so the card can help regulate your healthcare spending and take care of those unexpected expenses along the way.
Use your card at your doctor’s office, pharmacy and more to pay for qualified expenses for instant reimbursement.
Employees minimum annual election amount is $240 and the maximum is $2,550. If you choose not to re-enroll for the next plan year, the carryover amount minimum is $50 and the maximum is $500. The minimum amount does not apply if re-enrolling. Carryover amounts can only be carried over one plan year without re-enrollment.Examples of qualified expenses include:
- Copayments, coinsurance and deductibles for medical, vision and dental services
- Eyeglasses, reading glasses, contact lenses and contact lens solution
- Bandages and related items
- First aid kits
- Hearing aids and batteries
- Medical equipment
- Lab fees and diagnostic services
- Hospital services and fees
How do I manage my HFSA?
How much can I put in my HFSA?
If you decide to participate in the HFSA, you may contribute from $240 to $2,550 per year. During open enrollment, you will estimate next year’s medical expenses and elect the amount you wish to put into in the HFSA.
If you decide to put $240 into your HFSA, $10 will be deducted from your paycheck for 24 paychecks from May through April. A $500 annual contribution is $20.83 from each paycheck.
Reimbursement of eligible expenses: You may incur expenses and request reimbursement from your HFSA as early as May 1. You can be reimbursed up to the entire annual election, even if the entire amount has not been deducted from your paycheck.
Changing your election
After the annual open enrollment, you can only change your HFSA election during the plan year if you have a change in family status. Events such as marriage, divorce, legal separation, or birth of a child allow you to increase your annual contribution, but only up to a maximum of $2,550. You may not reduce or stop contributing during the plan year.
Use it or lose it
It’s important that you carefully calculate the amount you put into the HFSA. Up to $500 will rollover automatically in the next plan year. Any amount over $500 emaining in your HFSA account at the end of the plan will not be returned to you. You will forfeit the amount over $500.
Don’t let these rules scare you away from this important benefit, especially if you or your family will have unreimbursed health-care expenses in the next 12 months. Don’t let the federal government take more than its fair share of your hard-earned dollars!
How much should I contribute?
How much did you pay in copayments this year for doctor and dental visits? For prescriptions? Plan to get a new pair of glasses this year? Are you expecting to go to the hospital early next year? What’s the mileage to and from your doctor? Use these questions to estimate your expenses for next year. View the calculation worksheet.
To estimate how much you should contribute to your HFSA, add up the anticipated costs for routine medical and dental checkups and for major expenses, such as braces, for you and your family that will not be reimbursed by any other insurance plan. Estimate what you will spend May through April. Any expense the IRS considers deductible and that is not reimbursed through a health plan is eligible for reimbursement from your HFSA.
Some of the most common reimbursable expenses are deductibles, copayments, contact lenses, glasses, hearing aids, and prescription-drug copayments.
Expenses not recognized by the IRS, and not reimbursable, include cosmetic surgery and health-club dues for general health purposes.
This is the right answer for me!
Enrollment is voluntary and is as easy as completing an enrollment form available online during the open enrollment period through the Employee Self Service portal at portal.houstontx.gov.
You can only enroll in this benefit during open enrollment, and your election is valid for the upcoming plan year only. You will have to enroll every year during the annual open-enrollment period.
Employees who begin work after May 1 can enroll during the first 90 days of employment. Coverage is effective on the 1st or 16th of the month after 90 days of employment. Your enrollment is valid for the rest of that plan year.
Is it easy to file a claim?
It’s as easy as sending a fax. And now it's even easier with the WageWorks card. With the WageWorks card you canccess your HFSA funds so you don't have to use your out-of-pocket dollars.
The WageWorks card will be accepted at the following health care providers:
- Doctor's office
- Dental provider
- Vision care provider
To file a claim for reimbursement from your account, obtain the Healthcare Flexible Spending Account claim form from the benefits division or online at www.aflac.com/us/en/docs/benefits/flexclaim.pdf and complete it. Provide the required documentation for your eligible health-care expense.
Most official reciepts from your doctor's office will work. They must show the following:
- The name of the service provider
- A description of the service or a list of the supplies furnished
- The charge(s) for each service
- The date(s) of service
- The name of the person(s) receiving the service
Fax your completed form and receipts to 877-353-9256, or mail them the address below:
1932 Wynnton Road
Columbus, GA 31999-9950
Claims are paid every Tuesday, barring a holiday.
You can expect to receive your reimbursement check within 10 days after the Tuesday processing schedule. Most claims are paid and mailed within seven days. You can receive faster payments if you sign up for direct deposit. Or, get instant reimbursement by using your Aflac Now card to pay for your eligible expenses.
Changes in family status
Because the plan allows you to reduce your taxable income, the IRS has some rules about making changes to your HFSA account outside of open enrollment.
During a plan year, you can increase your contribution amount only if you experience a change in family status. Changes in family status, as defined by the IRS, include the following:
- Marriage or divorce
- Gaining or losing a dependent
- Termination or commencement of your spouse’s employment
- A change in job status from full-time to part-time or vice versa for you or your spouse
A child turning age 18 is not a change in family status.
If you have a change in family status, log on to ESS at portal.houstontx.gov and update your dependents status. Submit relationship documetns to Benefits at 611 Walker, 4th floor. The change must be consistent with the change in your family status. You may not reduce or stop contributing during the plan year.
Any change you make will apply for the rest of the plan year, unless you have another change in family status.
Take a look at the HFSA FAQ for aditional information or inquiries you may need answered.
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