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Save money by enrolling in FSAs during Open Enrollment

Oct. 13, 2016, 9:02 AM

open-enrollment-2017-logoOpen Enrollment for your 2017 benefits is right around the corner. Are you ready?

Open Enrollment begins at 8 a.m. on Oct. 17 and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 31. Elections are effective Jan. 1–Dec. 31, 2017, unless you have a qualifying event like getting married or having a baby.

Fully benefits-eligible employees can fund two different types of flexible spending accounts, or FSAs: a health care FSA and a dependent day care FSA. FSAs save you money by allowing you to use pretax dollars to pay for qualifying expenses. When you set aside some of your salary into one or both of the FSA options, the contributions are not subject to federal, state, local or FICA taxes.

Health care flexible spending accounts

You can contribute up to $2,600 for eligible health, dental, vision or certain over-the-counter expenses not covered by insurance. These expenses can be for you or your eligible tax dependents, whether or not they are covered on the Vanderbilt Health Plan (see a list of eligible expenses in My VU Benefits). You can pay for expenses using the Benefit Express Health Care MasterCard, or submit a claim online and be reimbursed.

Dependent day care flexible spending accounts

You can contribute up to $5,000 (per household) for child and adult day care expenses for eligible dependent expenses that allow you and your spouse, if you are married, to work. It cannot be used for health care expenses. You can submit a claim online and be reimbursed as money deducted from your pay is deposited into your account throughout the year.

FSAs save you money! Because your income is going into your FSA account pretax, you save money by not paying income tax on that amount. Enter the dollar amount you want to put in each FSA when you enroll in My VU Benefits. The system will automatically calculate and show how much money will be taken out of each paycheck.

FSAs are “use it or lose it.” For 2017, you can claim expenses incurred through March 15, 2018, and you must file any claims by April 15, 2018. Choose your amounts wisely. FSA elections do not carry over; you must re-enroll every year.

Visit vu.edu/oe for additional information.

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