Flexible Spending Account Programs


Open Enrollment for Flexible Spending Account Programs

Open enrollment for participation in plan year 2013 is October 1 to November 16, 2012. Please read the following information:




General Information:
The Commonwealth offers two different flexible spending accounts (FSA). Enrollment in one or both FSA’s allows employees to pay for certain non-reimbursed healthcare and dependent care expenses with before-tax dollars. Participation can significantly reduce their federal and state income taxes. Employees may establish a health care spending account, a dependent care spending account or both depending on their personal circumstances. For every $1,000 you put into one or both of these accounts it is estimated that you will save approximately $250 in taxes or a savings of approximately 25 percent. You can only elect to participate during open enrollment (held in October and November each year for participation in the next calendar year) or if you are a newly hired employee. The only exception would be for participants who have a 'change in family status'. Changes in status under IRS regulations include: change in legal marital status; change in number of dependents; change in employment status; change in work schedule, which changes your eligibility for the program; dependent satisfies or ceases to satisfy eligibility requirements; significant change of residence or work-site; or judgment, decree or order pertaining to child or spouse. New enrollment forms must be processed through the Human Resources and Equal Opportunity department, and should not be mailed to Benefit Strategies directly. Participants must re-enroll each year in October/November for participation in the next plan year. If you participated in the prior year’s program you must re-enroll online and submit your confirmation page to Human Resources (signed, employee id# and dated). If you need help re-enrolling online, please contact Benefit Strategies at 877.353.9442.


It is important to estimate your expenses carefully as the Internal Revenue Service requires that any unused funds at plan year-end be forfeited. IRS regulations provides for a 2½ month "grace period" at the end of every plan year which allows participants to spend down any unused contribution from the end of the plan year to March 15 of the next year. For example, if you have a $100 left over in your HCSA at the end of your plan year, you may still incur eligible expenses until March 15 of the next calendar year that may be applied to your remaining HCSA balance of $100. The cost to administer this program is paid for by each employee on a before tax basis. There is an administrative fee of $3.60 per month for either HSCA or DCAP alone or DCAP and HCSA combined. In 2012 employees can put a minimum of $500 up to a maximum of $2,500 into Health Care Spending Account, and $5,000 maximum in the Dependent Care Assistance Program. This is subject to change each calendar year.

As part of the Federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, over-the-counter (OTC) drugs (such as Tylenol® and Prilosec® OTC) will no longer be considered eligible expenses for HCSA benefits effective January 1, 2011, unless accompanied by a Physician’s prescription.

Benefit Strategies Contact Information:
Benefit Strategies is the contracted provided for the administration of both flexible spending account programs:
        Customer Service: 877.353.9442
        Email problem to: http://www.benstrat.com  (click on the Group Insurance logo)

To Setup Direct Deposit:
You have the choice of receiving your reimbursement directly to your home address or setting up direct deposit by calling Benefit Strategies at 877.353.9442. If you did not complete the direct deposit information on your enrollment form, the Direct Deposit Form can be found at:  http://www.benstrat.com/dowloads/FLEX_DD)authorization.pdf.


Statements Online:

Remember to setup your account so that you can review your claim information online by going to http:www.benstrat.com/ and under Client Link on the left side of your screen click the Commonwealth of Massachusettts Group Insurance Commission logo. Then click on the GIC Participant Login. You will find directions on how to login and also find Quick Links to the GIC for HCSA and DCAP as well as Forms and Resources. If you have any problems call Benefit Strategies at LLC Contact customer service at 877.353.9442.

See individual sections related to each of these programs. If you have questions you can contact the benefits coordinator at 978.542.6030 or Benefit Strategies directly (see contact information above).