Flexible Spending is an optional program that is designed to save you money on your costs for medical expenses not covered by insurance, and for daycare expenses. All employees who are eligible under their collective bargaining agreement for insurance are eligible to participate in flexible spending. The flexible spending provider is HealthPartners and the plan is the "Empower FSA Plan".
With flexible spending, money is deducted before taxes and then reimbursed to you for your medical or daycare expenses. So, in effect, the money you pay for medical or daycare expenses is not subject to federal or state income taxes or to social security taxes.
The maximum amount for dependent care reimbursement is $5000.00 per calendar year. The limit for medical reimbursement is $5000.00 per calendar year. Open enrollment for this program occurs in October for the following calendar year (which runs January through December.) Outside of open enrollment, changes are allowed within 30 days of a qualifying family status change.
NEW FOR 2011: Effective January 1, 2011, over-the-counter (OTC) medications will no longer be an eligible expense under the flexible spending account or health savings account.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are covered under a Health Savings Account (HSA) you cannot participate in the medical reimbursement for flex spending – you would only be able to participate in the dependent care reimbursement program. (If you elected the HSA Qualified high deductible health plan as your insurance coverage but do not have an HSA plan attached to it, you are elgiible to participate in the flexible spending reimbursement program.)
If you have additional questions about flexible spending, contact the benefits staff within Human Resources.
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IRS Publication 502 (Medical & Dental expenses)
IRS Publication 503 (Child & Dependent Care expenses)
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