All employees regularly scheduled to work 15 or more hours per week in a benefits-eligible position are eligible for enrollment in the Flexible Spending Account (FSA) plans.
What is a Flexible Spending Account?
A Flexible Spending Account (FSA) is one of a number of IRS tax-favored accounts. An FSA allows an employee to set aside a portion of earnings to pay for qualified expenses, most commonly for medical expenses but often for dependent care or other expenses. Money deducted from an employee’s pay into an FSA is not subject to payroll taxes, resulting in a payroll tax savings.
What types of FSAs are available?
- Health Care FSA
- Dependent Care FSA
- Parking FSA
- Transit FSA
Open Enrollment for Health Care FSA and Dependent Care FSA
Employees who wish to participate in the Health Care FSA and Dependent Care FSA program must re-enroll during each Benefits Open Enrollment period. The Benefits Open Enrollment period for the Flexible Spending Account Plan is held annually, during the month of October, with coverage going into effect the following January 1st.
Parking FSA and Transit FSA Elections
You can enroll in the Transit FSA or Parking FSA, or cancel or change your deduction amount at any time during the year. Your enrollment, cancellation or deduction change will be effective the pay period following receipt of your enrollment or change request. To enroll in the Transit FSA or Parking FSA, download and complete the Benefits Enrollment and Change Form located on our Benefits Home Page.
Qualifying Life Events
Qualifying Life Events allow employees to make changes to their accounts (such as electing or cancelling enrollment, or changing the election amount) outside of Open Enrollment. For additional information regarding Qualifying Life Events, review the document, “Changes Outside of the Open Enrollment Period,” located on the Benefits Home Page.
Health Care FSA
A Health Care FSA is an account you can use to pay for eligible health expenses (medical, prescription, dental, vision, and approved over-the-counter expenses) not covered by your insurance or any other plan. Eligible expenses include the following, but not limited to:
- Eligible medical, prescription, dental, and vision copays
- Deductibles and co-insurance
- Certain over-the-counter items
- Eyeglasses and contacts
- Dental expenses (excluding cosmetic treatment)
- Hearing aids
- Physical therapy and chiropractic care
2019 Health Care FSA Maximum Annual Election: $2,700
“Use It or Lose It! — Health Care FSA Account Balances over $500
The plan year for the Health Care FSA is January 1st through December 31st. Claims must be incurred on or prior to December 31st of each plan year and must be submitted to Discovery Benefits (our plan administrator) by March 31st of the following plan year.
A $500 rollover feature is included in the Health Care FSA. Health Care FSA balances of $500 or less as of March 31st of the following plan year will automatically rollover. If an account balance exceeds $500, the amount over $500 is subject to the IRS “Use It or Lose It” rule and will be forfeited and cannot be returned to you.
See Health Care FSA Rollover FAQ for more information.
REMEMBER: The $500 rollover feature only applies to the Health Care FSA and anything over $500 in the Health Care FSA will be forfeited and subject to the IRS “Use It or Lose It” rule.
Dependent Care FSA
Dependent care expenses, whether for a child or an elder, include any expenses that allow you to work, such as:
- Daycare services (child under 13, or adult)
- Before and after school care
- Summer day camps
2019 Dependent Care FSA Maximum Annual Election: $5,000 for single or married filing jointly, and $2,500 for married filing separately
“Use It or Lose It! — Dependent Care FSA Account Balances
The Plan Year for the Dependent Care FSA is January 1st through December 31st. Claims must be incurred on or prior to December 31st of each plan year and must be submitted to Discovery Benefits (our plan administrator) by March 31st of the following plan year.
Dependent Care FSA accounts are subject to the IRS “Use It or Lose It” rule. Any account balance remaining in your Dependent Care FSA as of March 31st of the following plan year will be forfeited and cannot be returned to you.
Transit and Parking FSA
If you take public transportation to work or pay for parking, even if you only commute a few days a week, a Parking and Transit Flexible Spending Account saves you money on your commute by paying commuting expenses with pre-tax dollars.
Who is covered under the Transit FSA and Parking FSA? You are the only person covered. Mass transit costs and qualified parking costs incurred by your spouse or other dependents are not reimbursable.
- What are the some eligible expenses under the Transit Account? Eligible expenses include bus vouchers, pass and tokens, ferry passes, van-pooling and commuter rail. Expenses NOT covered are gas, tolls, and other driving-related expenses or transit costs reimbursed by APS.
- 2019 Monthly Maximum Election: $265
- What are the some eligible expenses under the Parking Account? Qualified parking is parking at or near your place of employment. It includes parking at or near the location from which you commute to work using mass transit, commuter highway vehicles, or carpools. It does not include parking at or near your home. Also, expenses NOT covered are parking for business meetings and parking reimbursed by APS.
- 2019 Monthly Maximum Election: $265
You can enroll in the Transit FSA or Parking FSA, or cancel or change your contribution amount at any time during the year. Your enrollment, cancellation or contribution change will be effective the pay period following receipt of your enrollment or change request. To enroll, cancel, or change your contribution amount to the Transit FSA or Parking FSA, download and complete the Benefits Enrollment and Change Form located on our Benefits Home Page.
Parking and Transit FSAs and your Discovery Benefits Debit Card:
If you participate in the Parking FSA or Transit FSA, you will receive a debit card from Discovery Benefits.
If you do not utilize Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) terminals for parking or transit expenses, you can use your Discovery Benefits debit card.
If you do utilize Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority WMATA terminals and use your SmarTrip® card:
Parking and Transit participants who utilize a SmarTrip® card at Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) terminals (i.e., you use Metrobus, Metrorail, etc.) must access the SmartCommute feature on Discovery’s website and connect their registered WMATA SmarTrip® card to SmartCommute. (Ensure you are connecting a registered SmarTrip® card; this means you have registered your SmarTrip® card with WMATA.) More information about SmarTrip® cards
Employees utilizing their SmarTrip® card at WMATA terminals must log into their online portal through Discovery Benefits and place their order by the 10th of the month for the funds to be made available by the 1st of the following month. Employees can place the order regardless if payroll contributions are in the account.
Employees do not have to access SmartCommute each month. Employees can utilize a recurring option through SmartCommute that allows participants to set up recurring transactions.
Participants must connect a SmarTrip® card that has been registered with WMATA.
If you have any questions about SmartCommute or your new FSA accounts with Discovery Benefits, please contact Discovery’s Benefits Participant Services. Their contact information is listed below.
For questions about your FSA account with Discovery Benefits, contact Discovery’s Benefits Participant Services team:
Setting up your online account with Discovery Benefits:
You’ll be able to manage your benefits information through your online account after completing a few steps:
- Set up your account by going to www.discoverybenefits.com/benefitslogin.
- From the login screen, click the “Create your new username and password” link and complete the required user identification fields.
- Answer the security questions and click the “Submit” button.
- Set up your username and password. You are now ready to start using your benefits!
On the go? Discovery’s secure (and free!) mobile app makes managing your health benefits easy by providing real-time, convenient access to all your account information on the go. You can easily check balances, view account details, and upload receipts. Make the most of your accounts by downloading the Discovery Benefits mobile app from the Apple or Android store today!
2019 Benefit Information: