This program allows you to set up a special account for paying out-of-pocket health expenses with tax-free dollars. You may contribute up to $2,700 per calendar year to this account.
Once established, here’s how your account works:
You may use your funds to pay eligible expenses for you, your spouse, and your qualified dependents, regardless of whether they are enrolled in the County’s medical, dental, and vision plans.
The HFSA is a pre-funded benefit - this means you have access to your full annual election at any time during the year.
The HFSA plan year spans across a 12-month period (January – December), and offers an additional 2.5-month grace period following the end of the plan year. Therefore, you may use any funds leftover at the end of the plan year and reimburse yourself for expenses incurred through March 15 of the following plan year.
The HFSA is administered by Navia Benefits Solutions, which charges a $1.15 per pay period service fee for your account. (Note, you are not “double charged” this fee if you enroll in the Dependent Care Assistance Program as well.) The HFSA comes with a debit card; you can use it to pay your providers directly for health care expenses. You can also set up an online account and submit claims online or through your mobile phone. Reimbursement payments are made via a check or direct deposit to your bank account.
Finally, with a flexible spending account, an IRS “use it or lose it” rule applies. Be sure to estimate the amount you want to contribute with care. If you have money remaining in your account at the end of the plan year’s grace period, you forfeit those funds.
Making Your HFSA Contribution Election
If you wish to participate in the HFSA, the IRS requires you to enroll and elect your contribution amount each year.
As noted previously, the program runs on a calendar year basis, from January 1 through December 31. Thus, during the fall of each year, you’ll have an opportunity to enroll during the annual enrollment period for Flexible Spending Accounts (typically in November). Your annual election is deducted from your paycheck in equal increments.
As a new hire, you may elect to participate in this program within 30 days of your date of hire.
You cannot change your annual election amount during the year unless you have a qualifying event, such as the birth of a child, death, marriage, or divorce. If you do have a qualifying event, you may change your HFSA election within 30 days of the event. Otherwise, you must wait until the program’s next enrollment period to make a change.