US Treasury Department Modifies Flexible Spending Account (FSA) “Use-It-Or-Lose-It” Provision to Allow Rollover of FSA Funds
Published on October 31st, 2013
Alegeus Technologies,the market leader in healthcare and benefit payments, is pleased to report a major Federal policy change relating to flexible spending accounts (FSAs) that has many positive implications for all FSA constituents. In an announcement today, the US Treasury Department modified its FSA “use-it-or-lose-it” provision to allow rollover of FSA funds. Effective in plan year 2014, employers that offer FSA programs will have the option of allowing participants to roll over up to $500 of unused funds at the end of the plan year. Effective immediately, employers that offer FSA programs that do not include a grace period will have the option of allowing employees to roll over up to $500 of unused funds at the end of the current 2013 plan year.
FSAs allow employees to contribute pre-tax dollars to pay for out-of-pocket healthcare expenses – including deductibles, copayments, and other qualified medical, dental or vision expenses not covered by the individual’s health insurance plan.
Over 85 percent of large employers offer FSAs today, but only 20-22 percent of eligible employees actually enroll. One of the principal reasons cited for not enrolling, or for underfunding accounts, has been the fear of forfeiting unused funds at the end of the plan year as a result of the “use-it-or-lose-it” provision. Under this rule, any funds remaining in an FSA at the end of the plan year (or after a grace period) were forfeited to the employer — even though the funds have been contributed directly by the employee via payroll deduction. One in four FSA participants has suffered such forfeitures every year.
We greatly appreciate the Administration’s leadership in putting forward this important policy that will benefit employers, employees and their families, by giving them greater control and choices in their healthcare planning. By allowing FSA participants to roll over a part of their unused funds at the end of the plan year, the Treasury Department has eliminated the most significant barrier to FSA participation – namely consumers’ fear of losing their money,” said Bob Natt, Executive Chairman of Alegeus Technologies. “With this new provision in effect, there is really no reason for eligible employees not to enroll and contribute to an FSA – all contributions are tax-free, the employee’s full election is available on the first day of the plan year, and now unused funds up to $500 can be rolled over to the next plan year.
The new rollover provision creates an expanded value proposition for FSAs and offers enhanced healthcare options for participants. The new rule offers greater funds protection for participants that are most concerned about cash flow – such as lower-and middle-income workers who make up more than 70% of FSA participants. The rollover provision also provides added flexibility for those with unpredictable out-of-pocket healthcare costs – such as those dealing with chronic conditions that may face high-cost services/procedures with some ambiguity regarding timing or medical necessity. The FSA rollover provision also counters any incentives that may exist for unnecessary year-end spending by FSA participants seeking to avoid losing their FSA funds.
This policy development is fantastic news for everyone involved with FSAs – but especially for participants themselves,” said Natt. “For many years now, Alegeus has been actively engaged in the dialogue in Washington DC, leading industry efforts to educate and convince Federal policymakers to adopt this major new feature for flexible spending accounts (FSAs). For our clients and their employer customer and participants, this will certainly lead to growth in FSA adoption this open enrollment season.
With more than 25 years of growth and innovation, Alegeus is the market leader in SaaS-based healthcare payment solutions. Our highly flexible, white-label platform powers account-based benefit programs such as HSAs, FSAs, HRAs, COBRA, wellness incentives, lifestyle benefits and beyond. We deliver exceptional user experiences and differentiated capabilities that help our partners strengthen their product offerings, operate more efficiently, and unlock their full growth potential. Our partnerships with the industry’s leading health plans, third-party administrators, financial services and benefit solution providers give Alegeus unparalleled reach in the market. And our unique partnership model empowers our clients to achieve outsized results – growing their programs at a rate that is 2-3X the market, and with the highest net promoter scores (NPS) in the industry. We never compete with our clients – we win when they win. Alegeus is headquartered in Waltham, Mass., with operations centers in Orlando and Bangalore, and a large remote workforce.