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Flexible Spending Accounts

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Flexible Spending Accounts

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Last BAL issued 10/08/04

Please send your comments on this program to fsa@opm.gov.

FSAFEDS Open Season for 2005 Plan Year
The Federal Flexible Spending Account Program (FSAFEDS) Open Season begins on Monday, November 8, 2004 and runs through Monday, December 13, 2004. Unlike FEHB enrollments, enrollments in FSAFEDS do not carry over from year to year. Employees wishing to enroll in FSAFEDS for 2005 must make a positive enrollment during Open Season, even if they are currently enrolled in the Program.

BAL 04-803 provides important information to agency benefits officers about the upcoming open season, including how to order materials and request additional information from FSAFEDS.

FSAFEDS Billing Process
We've received some questions from agencies about paying FSAFEDS administrative fees on behalf of their enrolled employees. Therefore, we just issued BAL 04-802 which explains that process in more detail.

Added July 20, 2004

BAL 04-801 discusses changes in FSAFEDS Program for the 2004 Plan Year
Based on feedback from the Chief Human Capital Officer (CHCO) community, Director Kay Coles James decided to increase the amount that employees could elect for a health care flexible spending account (HCFSA) from $3,000 to $4,000. In addition, agency CHCOs agreed that an increase in fees is warranted, since coverage for over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and products began January 1, 2004. For the 2004 Plan Year, the fee for a HCFSA will be $7.50 per participant per month. The Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account fee remains the same, at one and a half percent (1.5%) of the elected amount. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004, Public Law 108-136, signed on November 24, 2003, requires all Executive Branch agencies, as well as other employing entities of the Government which provide the FSAFEDS program to its employees, to cover the administrative fee(s) on behalf of their employees.

Added February 17, 2004

Billing Process Instructions Issued for FSA Fees Paid By Agencies
As announced in BAL 03-804 on June 16, 2003, OPM and OMB have concluded that, assuming no specific constraint in a particular agency's authorizing or funding statute, agencies may use their tax savings to pay FSA administrative fees for their employees. On June 13, 2003, OPM Director Kay Coles James sent a memorandum to heads of departments and agencies urging the payment of fees. As we noted in BAL 03-804, all agencies must inform OPM of their decisions on whether or not to pay the fees no later than June 27, 2003. BAL 03-805, published June 19, 2003, provides billing process information and a form for notifying OPM of your agency decision on payment of fees.
Added June 19, 2003

Enrollments Begin for the FSA Program
We are very pleased to let you know that the Federal Flexible Spending Account Program (FSAFEDS) began accepting enrollments on June 16. As you know, we delayed accepting enrollments while we considered whether agencies had the authority to pay the negotiated administrative fees on behalf of their employees. On June 13, 2003, our Director, Kay Coles James, sent a memorandum (attached to this BAL) to heads of departments and agencies urging the payment of these fees. We strongly encourage you to pay the modest FSAFEDS fees on behalf of your employees. See BAL 03-804, published June 16, 2003.

Added June 17, 2003

Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts and other Child Care Subsidies
Since we published BALs 03-306 and 03-801 we've heard from a number of human resource and payroll administration staff asking questions and expressing concerns about agency responsibilities for employees who are eligible for an agency's child care subsidy program and who also make an election to participate in a dependent care flexible spending account (DCFSA). BAL 03-803, published June 3, 2003, provides additional background and guidance on this issue.

Added June 17, 2003

Flexible Spending Account Program Officially Extends Open Season
While Open Season has been in full effect since May 19, actual enrollment in the FSAFEDS Program as been delayed to allow us to complete our review of agency options regarding administrative fees associated with the FSAFEDS Program. We expect this review to be completed in the near future, at which time we will begin to accept FSA enrollments. However, due to this delay in the accepting of enrollments, we have officially extended the FSAFEDS Open Season from June 20 until June 27, 2003. For information on the FSAFEDS Program please visit www.fsafeds.com or by calling our toll free line at 1-877-FSAFEDS (372-3337).

Added June 9, 2003

Copies of All Mail Sent to the FSAINFO List Now Available
We have posted an archive of all items sent to the FSAINFO distribution list at www.opm.gov/insure/pretax/fsa/fsainfo. This email list provides up-to-date FSA information for HR professionals. Follow this link for instructions on how to join the FSAINFO list.

Added May 23, 2003

FSA HR Email Address
The Federal FSA Program has set up a new email address for agency human resource staff to communicate with SHPS. That address is FSAFEDS-HR@shps.net. Please use this address to order communication materials (as they become available) and to report any agency issues or concerns. Individual employees should still address their questions to FSAFEDS@shps.net.

Added May 23, 2003

Flexible Spending Accounts Program Open Season Information
The Federal FSA Program (FSAFEDS) Open Season begins Monday, May 19. Our web site is up and SHPS Benefits Counselors are ready to accept calls. Through the web site, we are taking the names of people who are interested in enrolling in the program, but we are unable to take the actual enrollments at this time. In response to Agency-level inquiries and in anticipation of possible Congressional action, we've accelerated our review of agency options regarding administrative fees associated with the FSAFEDS Program, as well as necessary changes to billing structures in place for the 2003 Plan Year. We expect this review to be completed shortly, at which time we will begin to accept FSA enrollments. See BAL 03-802

Added May 19, 2003

Program Brochure Now Available
SHPS and OPM are issuing a tri-fold brochure designed to introduce Federal employees to this program. The first hard copies are being made available May 2 at the Public Service Recognition Week ceremonies on the Mall in Washington, DC, and instructions will be issued shortly for ordering hard copies. You may download electronic versions of the brochure now — [PDF Version (508K File)]  [Web (accessible) Version] Get Adobe Acrobat Reader

Added May 2, 2003

Detailed Program Information Issued to Agencies
We have issued a Benefits Information Letter providing extensive information on the launch and administration of the Flexible Spending Accounts program. Please note that this letter mentions a new FSA web site. This site is not yet operational -- we will post a notice here when it is available. See BAL 03-801 of April 25, 2003.

Added April 25, 2003

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