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About Your Flex Spending Account

What Is The Flex Spending Account?
Why Should I Enroll?
Fees
FSA Administrator
2013 Open Enrollment Period
How Does The Flex Spending Account Work?
Faxing Reimbursement Request Forms
Submit Your Claims Online
Enter the RACE
Forfeiture Rules -- "Use It Or Lose It"
Effect On Other Benefits
Changing Your Coverage
Appeal Process
   


    What Is The Flex Spending Account?
The Flex Spending Account (FSA) is a negotiated benefit for State employees. There are two parts to the FSA -- the Dependent Care Advantage Account (DCAAccount) and the Health Care Spending Account (HCSAccount). Both are types of flexible spending accounts, administered in compliance with Sections 125 and 129 of the Internal Revenue Code, that give you a way to pay for your dependent care or health care expenses with pre-tax dollars. Enrollment in the FSA is voluntary -- you decide how much to have taken out of your paycheck and put into your DCAAccount and HCSAccount.

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Why Should I Enroll?
If you are paying for dependent care expenses in order to work, or have medical expenses that are not reimbursable under your health insurance, you are paying for those expenses with dollars that have already been taxed. By enrolling in the DCAAccount or HCSAccount, you will pay those same expenses with whole dollars -- before federal, state and social security taxes are taken from your salary.

For 22 years, the DCAAccount has been consistently saving state employee participants hundreds of dollars on their dependent care expenses. More and more working parents learn that the DCAAccount can significantly help with the cost of summer day camp, nursery school, child care center or adult day care costs.

The HCSAccount is a great way to help you save on many of your family’s health care expenses. Since the benefit was introduced in 2001, participation has more than tripled in size as over 15,600 state employees used their HCSAccounts in 2012 to save money on prescription drugs, orthodontia, and other medical services provided to their families.

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Fees
There are no fees for employees who participate in either the DCAAccount or the HCSAccount program. The FSA is funded by the Governor's Office of Employee Relations and Work-Life Services in cooperation with State public employee unions. The Legislature and Unified Court System also contribute on behalf of their employees.

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FSA Administrator
The State of New York retains the services of an FSA administrator to manage the Flex Spending Account. Fringe Benefits Management Company, a Division of WageWorks, is the FSA administrator for the 2013 plan year.

The FSA administrator reviews claims, writes checks, and provides customer service and accounting services. Flex Spending Account participants send all claims for reimbursement directly to the FSA administrator.

During the plan year, the FSA administrator will provide you with your account balance with each reimbursement check or direct deposit stub. You will also receive quarterly and year-end statements that detail the activity in your account.

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2013 Open Enrollment Period
The 2013 FSA open enrollment period begins October 9, 2012, and continues through November 9, 2012. The 2013 plan year runs from January 1, 2013 through December 31, 2013.

During the 2013 open enrollment period, when you apply for one of the programs offered under the FSA, you will receive a letter confirming the amount you choose to set aside for 2013. If you find any discrepancy in the information contained in the confirmation letter, you must notify Fringe Benefits Management Company, a Division of WageWorks in writing by December 7, 2012 to make the change. For information regarding your confirmation letter you will have access to toll-free customer service, Monday- Friday between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. EST at 1-800-358-7202.

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How Does The Flex Spending Account Work?
The FSA is easy to understand and to use. You may choose to enroll in either the DCAAccount or the HCSAccount, or both. This is how it works:

During the open enrollment period, use the HCSAccount worksheet and the DCAAccount worksheet to estimate what your out-of-pocket health care and dependent care expenses will be for the 2013 calendar year. Based on your estimate, decide how much of your salary you want to set aside in either or both accounts. Submit your enrollment application online or through the toll-free number before the open enrollment period ends.

Each pay period, a regular portion of this amount will be deducted tax-free from your biweekly paycheck. These deductions are made before your federal, state, social security, and city income (if applicable) taxes are calculated. The contributions to your FSA are deducted tax-free from your gross pay.

After you have incurred eligible expenses, mail a reimbursement request form and a copy of your detailed billing statement or insurance explanation of benefits statement to the FSA administrator. You will receive a check within five to seven days by mail. Please note: any uncashed checks older than seven years will not be honored or replaced. Or you can use the direct deposit option (see Enter the RACE) to have the funds go directly into your savings or checking account within 48 hours.

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Faxing Reimbursement Request Forms
Participants in the FSA may fax reimbursement request forms toll-free to the FSA administrator. By faxing your forms and using the direct deposit option, you can speed your reimbursements by eliminating mail time completely. Reimbursement request forms cannot be submitted via email.

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Submit Your Claims Online
You can submit your reimbursement requests online through www.myFBMC.com. This process allows you to submit, via the secure website, a scanned image of a completed claim form along with scans of your supporting documentation.

First time users should follow the instructions to complete the New Users registration process. After you have registered at www.myFBMC.com, logon, click on the My Account tab, then select "Online Claim Form" from the drop down box.

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Enter the RACE
  • If you decide to Enter the RACE (PDF) (Rapid Access Check Express), you will have quicker access to your reimbursements by eliminating mail time.
  • Participants in the Flex Spending Account can have their authorized reimbursements deposited directly into their own banking institution. This feature of the FSA is optional.
  • In order for you to take advantage of this option, your financial institution must be a member of the Automated Clearing House.
  • The FSA administrator will send you a receipt each time an electronic transfer is made to your account.
  • Submit your reimbursement request forms regularly to maximize the speed of your reimbursements.
  • A form to Enter the RACE (PDF) is available on this web site or by calling 1-800-358-7202.
  • If you Enter the RACE and later make a change to your bank account, you must submit a new RACE form to have your reimbursements deposited to your new account.
  • If you have used the RACE option during the 2012 plan year and your banking information has not changed, then you do not need to submit a new RACE form.
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Forfeiture Rules -- "Use It Or Lose It"
Because of the tax advantages of the FSA, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has strict guidelines for its use. One of these guidelines is commonly known as the "use it or lose it" rule. Put simply, if you contribute pre-tax dollars into your DCAAccount or HCSAccount and then do not have enough eligible expenses during the plan year to equal the amount you contributed, you will lose the balance remaining in your account when the plan year ends. That is why it is important to plan carefully before deciding how much to contribute. With careful planning, you can minimize the risk of losing any of your contributions. According to the IRS, after all submitted reimbursement claims have been processed, any funds remaining must be returned to the employer. The unused funds are used to defray the cost of administering the program. Participants have until March 31, 2014 to submit any eligible unreimbursed expenses from the 2013 plan year. But remember -- if you plan properly, you are unlikely to forfeit any of your funds.

In addition, if you enroll in either or both the HCSAccount and the DCAAccount, funds can’t be transferred or commingled between the two accounts. So, the money in your HCSAccount may only be used for health care expenses, and your DCAAccount may only pay for dependent care expenses.

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Effect On Other Benefits
Social Security Tax (FICA)
Contributions to the HCSAccount and DCAAccount may reduce your social security taxes. If so, based on current social security law, social security benefits at your retirement age may be slightly less as a result of your participation in the HCSAccount and DCAAccount. The effect will be minimal and would likely be offset by the amounts saved in taxes today. If you are concerned about this, contact the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 or visit www.ssa.gov.

New York State Pension
Contributions to the HCSAccount and DCAAccount have no effect on your New York State pension contributions or benefits.

Deferred Compensation
Most employees’ contributions to the New York State Deferred Compensation Plan will be unaffected by participation in the FSA program. In some cases, however, participation in the FSA program may affect you. The percentage you contribute to the deferred compensation plan will be applied to a lower salary amount, as a result of your FSA contributions. Since such contributions are made as a percentage of salary, your deferred compensation contribution may be lower, depending on the amount of your annual salary and the amount you currently contribute to your deferred compensation plan.

SUNY Deferred Annuity Plan
Contributions to the State University of New York's tax-deferred annuity plan are not affected by participation in the FSA program.

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Changing Your Coverage
Am I permitted to make election changes after the plan year begins?
Depending on the qualifying event, you may be able to make a change to your FSA election by submitting a change in status application.

Can I enroll during the plan year?
If you have a change in status event that occurs after the open enrollment period ends, you may be able to enroll during the plan year.

Please refer to the respective HCSAccount and DCAAccount sections for specific information on changes in status.

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Appeal Process
If your change in status, reimbursement request, or other request is denied, in full or in part, you have the right to appeal the decision by sending a written request to the FSA administrator within 30 days of the denial.

Your appeal must include:
  • the name of your employer – State of New York
  • the date of the services for which your request was denied
  • a copy of the denied request
  • the denial letter you received
  • why you think your request should not have been denied
  • any additional documents, information, or comments you think may be relevant to your appeal
Your appeal will be reviewed once it and the supporting documentation are received. You will be notified of the results of this review within 30 business days from receipt of your appeal. In unusual cases, such as when appeals require additional documentation, the review may take longer than 30 business days. If your appeal is approved, your account will be adjusted as soon as possible. Appeal decisions are based upon whether your extenuating circumstances and supporting documentation are consistent with the FSA rules and IRS regulations governing the plan.

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Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor