Glossary

  • Annual election amount — this is the total dollar amount you elect to put into your FSA at the beginning of each plan year.
  • Dependent — a dependent is a person whose expenses are eligible for reimbursement through the employee’s FSA. A dependent is usually an employee’s spouse or child(ren) under age 27. 
  • Eligible expense — items that are reimbursable under the FSA plan are classified as “eligible expenses” according to IRS rule. See a sample list of eligible expenses
  • FICA — taxes collected for Social Security and Medicare benefits.
  • Flexible Spending Account (also known as an FSA) — a pre-tax benefit plan that enables the employee to save 30-40% on eligible expenses. By enrolling in this plan, the participant saves on state, federal, and FICA taxes.
  • Grace period — an employer-chosen provision that gives you two and a half months after the end of the plan year to incur eligible expenses, as long as you are actively enrolled as of the last day of the plan year.
  • Health FSA carry forward – an employer-chosen provision allowing up to a maximum of $550 of unused Health FSA funds to roll over into the next plan year.  Please note: this maximum can increase in future years.  Under the CARES Act of 2020, the maximum roll over amount increases from $500 to $550 for plans who adopt this optional provision.  The increase will be indexed in future years (20% of the annual maximum, rounded to the next $10 increment.)  

  • Open Enrollment — a designated time prior to the start of your plan year during which employees can enroll in the FSA plan and change their benefit elections.
  • Plan year — the twelve-month period during which the annual election is effective.
  • Run-out period — a period of time after the plan year ends during which participants may submit receipts for expenses which were incurred during the plan year or grace period.
  • Uniform Coverage Rule — this rule allows you to access your entire annual election for the Health FSA immediately after the start of the plan year. All other accounts are “pay-as-you-go.” This rule only applies for the Health Flexible Spending Account.
  • Use-or-Lose Rule — an IRS rule that states that employees must spend any remaining balance in their FSA by the end of the grace period. If you don’t spend the money, you forfeit it.