The annual open enrollment period for UNM’s 2019 Healthcare and Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA), available to all benefits-eligible employees, is tentatively set for Wednesday, Oct. 31 - Friday, Nov. 16.
If you are a benefits-eligible UNM employee, consider taking advantage of one or both Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) for 2019. FSAs are offered on a yearly basis and require enrollment each plan year.
What is a Flexible Spending Account (FSA)?
FSAs are an IRS regulated benefit that allows you to set aside funds on a pre-tax basis and be reimbursed for IRS approved healthcare or dependent care expenses.
- The Health Care FSA reimburses you for certain medical, dental, vision, prescription drug, and hearing care expenses that are not covered by any health plan, for you and your eligible dependents as outlined by IRS guidelines.
- The Dependent Care FSA reimburses you for dependent day care expenses at a licensed facility for services provided by individuals (see regulations for restrictions), dependent day care centers, and other qualified care expenses as defined by the IRS.
What is the Advantage of an FSA?
Taking advantage of this pre-tax benefit reduces your taxable wages and also benefits you by paying for your out of pocket healthcare and dependent care expenses on a pre-tax basis. This allows you to use pre-tax dollars for expenses you would normally pay for with after-tax dollars! An additional benefit of participating in the Healthcare FSA is that you may access your total 2019 election at any time during the year for eligible medical expenses.
How to the FSA Plan Works
The FSA plan year is currently based on the calendar year, January 1 – December 31. If you are interested in participating in the upcoming 2019 FSA plan year, you should begin estimating the out of pocket expenses you anticipate in 2019 for health care (medical, dental and vision expenses) or dependent care (child or adult day care expenses). Allowable expenses for reimbursement are limited to IRS designated out of pocket expenses and should be carefully thought out prior to enrollment for this pre-tax benefit.
In 2019, the maximum allowable election is $2,650 for the Healthcare FSA and $5,000 ($2,500 if you are married and filing separate tax returns) for the Dependent Care FSA. The Healthcare FSA allows you to carry over up to $500 of unused funds from year to year. This means that if you do not use all of your Healthcare FSA funds in 2018, you may carry over up to $500 into 2019. It’s important to plan both your out-of-pocket expenses and your FSA contributions accordingly.
Visit our FSA website to find out more about eligible expenses, dependent coverage, and other important program details.
Positive Changes for the Future
As you prepare for your 2019 FSA election, we also want to let you know of a change to expect for 2020. To better coordinate with your medical, dental and vision plans, we anticipate changing the FSA plan year from calendar year to fiscal year in 2020. In order to accomplish this change, the fall 2019 open enrollment will be for the shortened FSA plan year, January 1 - June 30, 2020. We will then include FSA again during spring 2020 open enrollment for the 2020-2021 plan year.
We are communicating the FSA plan year change in 2020 now to help you best plan for your health care needs. We will continue to communicate this upcoming change throughout 2019 as details emerge to better prepare you in how to consider planning ahead for 2020/2021.