A Health Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA) is a pre-tax benefit account used to pay for eligible medical, dental, and vision care expenses that aren’t covered by your insurance plan or elsewhere. It’s a smart, simple way to save money while keeping you and your family healthy.
Although your MIT health and dental plans will cover much of your health care costs every year, you will probably have to pay some portion of your health care expenses out of pocket. The MIT Health Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA) is a voluntary account offered by MIT and administered by WageWorks that makes it possible for you to set aside money from your pay to cover some of the health care expenses not covered by your health plan. The money you contribute — up to the annual limits set by federal law (minimum $104, maximum $2,750) — is not taxed as income, and there is no tax or penalty when you use the money for eligible health care expenses.
How have the CARES Act and other recent COVID regulations impacted MIT’s Health Care FSA?
The CARES Act extended the list of Health Care FSA qualified expenses to include additional over-the-counter medications and products.
On April 3, 2020, MIT Benefits communicated the extension of the 2019 reimbursement window for Health Care and Dependent Care FSA claims from April 30, 2020 to May 31, 2020. Due to new regulations, that reimbursement window has now been extended to 60 days after the end of the President's declaration of a national pandemic or another time period as designated by the IRS. As of now, no end date for the national pandemic has been declared.
Recent regulations allow employees to revoke an election, make a new election, or decrease or increase an existing Health Care FSA election on a prospective basis only. Employees cannot reduce their election to less than what has already been contributed and/or has been reimbursed.
You are eligible for an MIT Health Care FSA if you are paid by MIT, are appointed to work at MIT for at least three months, and work at least 50% of the normal full-time work schedule.
Who is not eligible
- teaching or research assistant
- honorary lecturer
- summer appointment
- international visiting student
- member of the armed services assigned to MIT
- family member who is not employed by MIT
- work-study student
- paid by MITemps
Members of collective bargaining units
All the plan provisions are subject to the terms of your collective bargaining agreement.
How the plan works
You have access to the entire election amount on January 1st of each plan year, even though the dollars have not been deducted from your paycheck yet. You must have a qualifying medical expense to gain access to the funds, and your deductions will continue to come out of your paycheck on a weekly or semimonthly basis throughout the remaining plan year.
When you, your spouse, or dependent children pay for an eligible expense, you are reimbursed through your account. You cannot be reimbursed for the expenses of domestic partners.
You can submit claims for reimbursement up until April 30
Your pay and the MIT Health Care FSA
When you make contributions to your MIT Health Care FSA, you receive certain tax benefits on the money you contribute to your account. By setting aside money for these expenses before taxes, you will generally pay less in federal, state and Social Security taxes.
Participation in an MIT Health Care FSA will not affect your salary for the purposes of
- annual salary reviews
- 401(k) participation
- life insurance coverage
- disability benefits
Use it or lose it
Be as accurate as you can in estimating your annual eligible expenses, so that you do not contribute more to your MIT Health Care FSA than you expect to claim for reimbursement. Any money left in a Health Care FSA that is not part of the $550 carryover amount ($500 for the 2019 plan year) you automatically lose after April 30th following the plan year. Use the WageWorks FSA Calculator tool located on WageWork's website to help you determine how much money you would like to set aside in either account. You may not use this money for any other purpose or transfer the money to any other account.
The Health Care FSA Carryover feature allows up to $550 from one plan year to be carried over into the following plan year. (The carryover limit for the 2019 plan year is $500.) The MIT Health Care FSA has a carryover time limit to no more than one plan year when a subsequent enrollment is not made. As long as you have an active Healthcare FSA in subsequent plan years, you may carryover funds from one plan year to the next.
- Who is eligible for the Carryover?
Active employees with a Health Care FSA who have unused funds in their account as of December 31 will have their carryover funds carried over into the next plan year automatically. However, if the employee does not re-enroll in a Health Care FSA, the carryover dollars must be used by April 30th following the year in which a Health Care FSA was elected.
- How much can/will be carried over?
Any remaining balance up to $550 will be carried over. (The carryover limit for the 2019 plan year is $500.)
- Does the carryover apply to the Dependent Care FSA?
No, the carryover only applies to the Health Care FSA. It does not apply to the Dependent Care FSA.
- If I do not elect a Health Care FSA for 2020, but I have leftover Health Care FSA funds from 2019, will those funds be carried over into a 2020 FSA?
Yes, for active employees, even if you do not elect a Health Care FSA for 2020, any funds remaining in your account up to a limit of $500 will be carried over for you to use until April 30th, 2020.
- I may want to elect to contribute $2,750 (the maximum allowed amount) into the Health Care FSA for the 2020 plan year. If I have funds from my 2019 Health Care FSA to be carried over, won't my Health Care FSA exceed the $2,750 maximum?
Yes, but it is allowable for your Health Care FSA account to exceed the $2,750 maximum annual deferral as long as no more than $2,750 is deducted from your pay on an annual basis.
There are several different ways to receive reimbursement from your MIT Health Care FSA. You can use your Health Care FSA debit card, file an online claim, use the WageWorks EZ Receipts® mobile app, or complete and return the Health Care FSA Reimbursement Form (below).
What you should know
- The eligible period for submitting claims is from January 1 through December 31 of the plan year. This means that you can use the funds in your Health Care FSA account to pay for medical expenses you receive through December 31 of the plan year.
- You are reimbursed for the full amount of your claim—regardless of your account balance—as long as your claim does not exceed your annual contribution.
- You receive your reimbursement within two weeks after filing your claim.
When to file for reimbursement
You can file a claim for an eligible expense received during the plan year. Claims for the plan year must be filed with WageWorks by April 30 following the plan year.
How to file for reimbursement
Via the Web Portal
- Log into your WageWorks account.
- If this is your first time logging into your WageWorks account, be sure to first register for your WageWorks account.
- Once logged into your account, Click Submit Receipt or Claim and select Pay Me Back.
- Enter payment information and select Submit Claim.
- Upload digital copies of your receipts.
Via the Mobile App
- Log into your WageWorks account on the WageWorks EZ Receipts® mobile app.
- Click on Submit New Receipt and then Health Care Claim.
- Follow the prompts to take and send photos of your receipts and other documentation.
Via Fax or Mail
- Download a Healthcare FSA Reimbursement Form (below).
- Fill in all the information requested on the form and sign it.
- Fax or mail the form, along with copies of your receipts, to:
- Claims Administrator
P.O. Box 14053
Lexington, KY, 40512
- Claims Administrator
Most Pay Me Back claims are processed within one to two business days after they are received and verified. Payments are sent shortly thereafter.
Sign up when you begin work at MIT.Use Atlas to sign up for a Health Care FSA within 31 days of your date of hire or appointment—or within 31 days of the date you receive your official Welcome Letter, whichever is later.
Sign up during Open Enrollment.
If you do not enroll within this 31-day period, you must wait until the next annual Open Enrollment period, which takes place in the fall. Your account will then take effect on the following January 1.
Enroll as a result of a life event.
If you experience a change in your life that has an impact on your benefits, you can enroll outside the Open Enrollment period.
Medical practitioner's notes vs. prescriptions
What's the difference between a Medical Practitioner's note and a Prescription for over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and drugs, and when is each required?
Medical practitioner (doctor's) notes:
- For some expenses (for example, dietary supplements), a letter of medical necessity (below) is required to verify that the expense qualifies as medical care.
- To be allowable, a letter of medical necessity may be written by a doctor of medicine, dentistry, podiatry or optometry; an authorized chiropractor, an alternative healer; or other qualified medical practitioner.
- A letter of medical necessity must contain all of the following items:
- patient's name
- medical practitioner's name
- statement of medical necessity
- the prescribed treatment
- the duration of treatment required
- WageWorks will keep a copy of valid letters on file so it is not necessary to include previously submitted notes with each submission.
Prescription for OTC medicines and drugs:
OTC medicines and drugs require a physician's prescription to be eligible.
- A valid prescription is an electronic or written order for a medicine or drug that meets the legal requirements of a prescription in the state in which the medical expense is incurred, and that is issued by an individual authorized to issue a prescription in that state.
- Due to its interpretation of IRS rules, WageWorks will NOT keep a copy of prescriptions on file. For OTC medicines and drugs, you must submit your prescription with each submission.
- You may submit the same prescription as many times as the prescription allows (for example, three times if three refills are prescribed).
Need Help or Have Questions?
Contact MIT Benefits by phone, email or in-person, or see the additional contact options below.
Related Documents & Forms
How to return forms: Unless instructed otherwise, while the MIT campus is on remote-work status due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you may return forms that do not contain sensitive information (such as Social Security Numbers) by email to email@example.com. Forms containing sensitive information must be mailed to MIT Benefits, NE49-5000, 77 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02139 or Lincoln Laboratory, Workforce Service Center, Room S2-112, 244 Wood Street, Lexington, MA 02420-9108.