Dec. 9, 2010

Flexible spending accounts: Now's the time to get organized

by Paula Van Brocklin

As 2010 draws to a close and you hunker down for the long winter, spend some time reviewing your 2010 health and dependent care expenses, and organizing (or locating) your receipts.

All 2010 flexible spending account (FSA) claims must be filed by April 30, 2011 (eligible expenses must be incurred by Dec. 31). If you miss the deadline, you'll lose any unclaimed money that was deducted from your paycheck to cover qualified expenses in 2010, per Internal Revenue Service guidelines and ISU policies.

If you have trouble locating your receipts, here are a few pointers.

Log in

Your medical, dental and pharmacy claims history may be accessible online. Click on the member or subscriber links on your providers' websites and register to access your 2010 claims information. Pharmacies also may provide a year-to-date record of your out-of-pocket expenses. This is the amount you may claim through flexible spending. Some health care offices may provide you with this information, but they could charge a fee.

A list (PDF) of 2010 qualified health care expenses is available online.

New health care guidelines for 2011

As part of the federal health care reform mandates that begin Jan. 1, 2011, over-the-counter medications and drugs (except insulin) purchased without a prescription will no longer be reimbursed through an FSA. This means you'll need a prescription for medicines like ibuprofen, aspirin or antacids if you wish to be reimbursed for these items through your FSA. Other items, such as bandages or hearing aids, still may be claimed without a prescription. Review the open change guides (ISU Plan or nonsupervisory merit) for more information.

Dependent care claims

If you have no receipts from your daycare provider, ask your caregiver to sign and complete the dependent care portion of the reimbursement form. Wellmark, the FSA administrator, does not accept canceled checks, credit card or bank account statements.

How to file a claim

You may access reimbursement claim forms online through Wellmark. First-time users need to click on "New User" and create a username and password. Questions regarding claims should be directed to Wellmark at (800) 624-2755.