Now Is The Time To Sign Up For A Flexible Spending Account For The Calendar Year 2012 Open Enrollment Period November 16, 2011 through December 16, 2011 This benefit is available to all active employees working 20 or more hours a week. By participating in a Flexible Spending Account, you will not pay federal or state taxes on your elected amount. This generally means a 25% savings on your taxes! There are two types of Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA’s): 1) TheMedical Flexible Spending Account allows you to set aside between
$100 and $2,500 annually for your medical/dental and other eligible out-of-pocket health related expenses
The Dependent Care Spending Account allows you to set aside between $300 and $5,000 annually to pay for qualifying work-related child or adult daycare expenses.
You decide how much you wish to put into your accounts for the plan year and then pre-tax deductions will be taken from your paycheck.
New This Year
If you enroll in a Medical Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA), Cafeteria Plan Advisors, Inc. has made saving money even easier. Instead of having to pre-pay and then submitting a claim form for medical expenses, you will receive a “Benny” prepaid benefits card. This card makes it fast and convenient to access the money you’ve set aside in your Medical FSA. “Benny” contains the value of your annual Medical Care FSA election amount, which allows you to use this card to pay for qualified medical expenses not covered by your health insurance. “Benny” automatically deducts the cost of your eligible expenses from your FSA. Just swipe your card and go. It’s that easy!
As you incur your out-of-pocket medical expenses (that were not applied to your “Benny” card) and/or dependent care expenses throughout the Plan Year, you can submit a claim form, along with a receipt, to the City’s Flexible Spending Account Plan Administrator, Cafeteria Plan Advisors.
Estimate your expenses carefully – IRS regulations state that any unused funds remaining in the accounts at the end of the plan year must be forfeited. In addition, there are some changes to the law affecting eligible deductions (see below).
Please note: If you presently have a Flexible Spending Account and wish to continue, you must re-enroll for the 2012 Plan Year. A packet of information will be arriving to your home. In addition, employees currently enrolled in the 2011 plan year may request reimbursement for all expenses incurred by December 31, 2011. These requests must be submitted for payment by March 31, 2012.
All enrollment forms must be returned to the Hall Human Resources Department by December 16, 2011. For more information and to access the forms, please refer to the attached documents. Contact CPA at (781) 848-9848 or Human Resources at (617) 559- 6005 with any questions. ENROLL NOW AND START SAVING MONEY!!
Cafeteria Plan Advisors Representative, Judi Field,
will be at the following locations to answer any questions and
Wednesday, November 30th 12:00am to 1:30pm City Hall, 1000 Commonwealth Ave., Newton Centre - Room 202 Wednesday, November 30th 2:00am to 4:00pm Educational Center, 100 Walnut Street, Newtonville - Room 217 It’s not what you earn, it’s what you keep that counts! Flexible Spending Accounts let you set aside a portion of your paycheck tax free to pay for certain health and dependent care expenses. Contributions are deducted from your paycheck prior to federal, state and social security taxes. No tax on your contribution saves you money (see chart below). Medical FSA:
Are you and your family currently spending
money on out-of-pocket expenses such as:
over the counter medicines (Only with prescription approval)
Is it impossible to reach the 7 ½ % of your
adjusted gross income as a medical tax deduction? Dependent Care FSA: Do you have children in day care, after school care
or summer camp so that you (your spouse) can work? Do you spend money each year for childcare?
If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions you should be participating in a Flexible Spending Account as shown in the example below: Flexible Spending Account Tax Savings Tax Savings Employee Contribution Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why does the government allow a plan such as this?
The plan is governed by the IRS code. Studies have shown that when employees become aware of how much they spend on benefit items, they tend to practice cost containment. The government wants to help employers and employees control escalation of healthcare costs.
2. How much can I allocate?
The IRS limits dependent care contributions to $5,000 per calendar year (January through December). The limit for medical reimbursement plans is $2,500 per calendar year (January through December). While planning the amount of money you want to contribute into a Medical FSA, you may want to take into account the deductibles in the new health insurance plans. In addition, please be advised that all health insurance plans offered through the City of Newton run on a fiscal year (July through June) where as, FSA accounts run on a calendar year (January through December).
3. How long does the plan last?
An employee agrees to set aside an amount on an annual basis (a calendar year January through December). You must re-enroll each year otherwise the contributions cease.
4. What if I want to make a change during the calendar year or I terminate employment?
The IRS only allows changes to be made in the event of a qualifying event (change in status) such as birth, death, marriage or divorce or a change to your or your spouse’s employment. If you terminate, your contributions cease when you stop getting paid.
5. How do I know if an expense is eligible?
Please refer to the Cafeteria Plan Advisors website at contact them directly at 781-848-9848 for more info.
6. How will I get reimbursed for expenses?
Instead of having to pre-pay and then submitting a claim form for medical expenses, you will receive a “Benny” prepaid benefits card. This card makes it fast and convenient to access the money you’ve set aside in your medical FSA. “Benny” contains the value of your annual medical care FSA election amount, which allows you to use this card to pay for qualified medical expenses not covered by your health insurance. “Benny” automatically deducts the cost of your eligible expenses from your FSA. Just swipe your card and go. It’s that easy!
You may also submit claims as frequently as you like. Claims are paid twice a month by check or weekly for direct deposit accounts, which are deposited directly into your bank account. Checks are payable to the participant and mailed to participant’s home address. A Dependent care account is usually paid on an automatic basis after completion of a Dependent Care Certification Form. Medical accounts require a copy of the bill or receipt for the service attached to a Claim Voucher.
7. Can my medical expenses go towards dependent care and vice versa?
No. The IRS requires separate funds for each and they are treated as two separate accounts.
8. Can I get money back if it is not used?
It is important to calculate your expenses as precisely as possible – the IRS does not allow unused funds to be returned.
Examples of Some Common Eligible Expenses:
Acupuncture Alcohol/Drug Therapy Braces (Orthodontics) Chiropractors Co-pays - Office Visits Contact Lenses and Solution Dental Fees – no bleaching Dentures Eye Exams and Glasses Eye Surgery (Laser) Handicapped/Hearing Impaired/ Sight Impaired/Learning Disabled - call for details Health Club Medically necessary * Hearing Aids and Batteries Hospital Care/Services Insulin and Testing Supplies Muscular Therapy * Mileage – call for current allowance Nursing Services Orthopedic Shoes Osteopath * Over the counter medicine (no vitamins) Prescriptions and co-pays Psychologist Fees Psychiatric Care Surgical Fees Therapy (Physical and Occupational) Viagra Weight Loss Programs medically necessary * * Requires a physician prescription each plan year stating a specific medical condition. (no exceptions). DUAL PURPOSE MEDICINES Permissible only with Doctors verification listing diagnosis of a specific -medical condition and recommendation for medication. Anti-baldness/hair loss/hair replacement/such as Rogaine, but only if to replace hair loss due to a medical condition and not for balding due to age. Medicated shampoo to treat a specific medical condition like psoriasis and only the amount in excess of the cost of normal shampoo. Many plan sponsors may exclude completely to avoid having to determine whether the cost of a medicated shampoo exceeds the cost of regular shampoo. Dental fluoride treatments, special mouthwashes, or treatments for Gingivitis. Glucosamine/chondrotin for arthritis and other medical conditions (not reimbursable if taken for overall joint health). Herbal supplements used to treat a specific disease such as St. John’s Wort for depression. Nose strips for proper breathing or other medical conditions. Retin-A and other acne medicines (not reimbursable if used for cosmetic purposes such as wrinkle reduction). Snoring cessation aids and medications such as Breathe Right Spray, Norezz. Weight loss/dietary supplements must be for a specific medical condition such as obesity. OVER THE COUNTER MEDICAL PRODUCTS AND DEVICES
Permissible products for medical care with proper claim substantiation.
Product or Device Medical Care, Dual Purpose Comments or General Well Being
Crutches are primarily used when there is a leg or foot injury. Walkers for medical purposes.
used to prevent infection where there is an imminent probability of infection. Ace bandages and other similar products are typically used to support bone and/or joint injuries.
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