FSA: The simple way to save for health and dependent care expenses
The Port of Seattle offers two types of Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs):
- A Healthcare FSA can help you and your eligible dependents save money on eligible healthcare expenses by putting aside pre-tax income to pay these costs.
- A Dependent care FSA (described in further detail below) may be used to pay for eligible child care expenses for dependent children under age 13, or adult care expenses for qualifying adult dependents.
You can contribute pretax dollars from your paycheck, up to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) limit of $3,050 in 2024. Your full contribution is available at the start of the plan year to pay for eligible health care expenses. It covers you, your spouse, and/or your tax dependents for:
- Copays, coinsurance, and deductibles
- Dental expenses like orthodontia, crowns, and bridges
- Vision expenses like LASIK eye surgery, glasses, and contacts
- Prescription drugs and over-the-counter (OTC) items
Visit the PayFlex website to learn more about Common FSA-eligible expenses.
Who May Participate in a Healthcare FSA?
Any current, regular Port employee may participate in a Healthcare FSA. This includes those who are not eligible for Port-sponsored healthcare coverage, such as represented employees covered under other plans. Eligible employees may sign up for an FSA during open enrollment in the fall. Employees new to the Port have 30 days to enroll in an FSA for the current year.
Note: If you enroll in the Port-sponsored Aetna High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) and elect to have a Health Savings Account (HSA), you will be ineligible to enroll in a general-purpose Healthcare FSA. Instead, you may enroll in a limited-purpose FSA. Additionally, any 2023 Healthcare FSA balance that is carried over to 2024 will be deposited into a limited-purpose FSA if you enroll in the HDHP.
Employees enrolled in the Aetna HDHP who contribute to an HSA are not eligible for a general-purpose Healthcare FSA. Instead, you may enroll in what is known as a limited-purpose FSA. Since both the HSA and the FSA are tax-advantaged plans, there are some rules. You may only use your limited FSA for eligible vision and dental costs until you meet your health plan deductible. After you meet your deductible you then may use your FSA dollars to pay for other eligible healthcare costs.
Healthcare FSA Carryover Rule
If you have not used all of your FSA funds by the end of the year, you may carry over a minimum of $45 and a maximum of $615 into the next year, provided you are a Port employee on January 1 of the next year. These rolled over funds do not count against that year's annual contribution maximum. However, you will still need to carefully estimate your qualifying medical expenses to minimize the possibility that you will lose any of your contributions. Here are some other important facts to keep in mind:
- The carryover applies only to Healthcare FSAs, not Dependent Care FSAs.
- Funds carried over do not reduce the annual contribution limit
- Carried-over funds are available immediately and all throughout the year.
Any unused funds above the rollover limit of $615 when the deadline for submitting prior year expenses will still be forfeited.
The amount you elect for your FSA will be evenly deducted from the first two paychecks of every month before federal income and Social Security taxes are taken. The money will be deposited into an account administered by PayFlex, from which you are reimbursed when you submit a claim. You may also use your PayFlex debit card to pay for your qualified expenses.
Pay With Ease
- Use the PayFlex debit card: Your expense is automatically paid from your FSA. If you are enrolling for the first time, you automatically will be issued one debit card by PayFlex in mid-January at no cost for immediate payment of eligible healthcare costs. However, you will still need to submit receipts for some items to support debit card use, so be sure to have them available. You can reuse your card each year, so don't throw it away!
- Pay yourself back: Pay for eligible expenses with cash, a check, or your personal credit card. Then submit a claim to pay yourself back. To save time, have your claims payment deposited directly into your checking or savings account. You may submit your reimbursement request through the PayFlex website, PayFlex mobile app, via email, or in hard copy.
- Pay your provider: Use the PayFlex online feature to pay your provider directly from your account.
Dependent Care FSAs
You can contribute pretax dollars from your paycheck, up to the IRS limit of $5,000 if you are single or married filing jointly, or $2,500 if you are married filing separately. Funds are for your dependent(s) age 12 or younger or a spouse or dependent incapable of self-care. This FSA pays for eligible child and adult care expenses, such as day care, preschool and nursery school, in-home aid, and more.
- For more details about Dependent Care FSAs, including common eligible expenses and who qualifies as a dependent, visit the PayFlex website.
Unlike a Healthcare FSA, you cannot be reimbursed for more than you have in your account at the time, and no funds may rollover from year to year. Funds from your pre-tax payroll deductions will become available approximately 3 to 5 days after payday. For more information about Dependent Care FSAs, visit the PayFlex website.
Who May Participate in a dependent care FSA?
The Dependent Care FSA is available to all employees who work over 21 hours per week, including those with a HSA.