Overview

The UW System offers eligible employees the opportunity to pay certain health care and dependent day care expenses with tax-free dollars through Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA). To comply with IRS requirements, documentation is required to substantiate expenses eligible for reimbursement.

Optum Financial is the plan administrator for the Spending & Savings Accounts.

Review this page for eligibility, contribution limits, eligible expenses and deadlines.

Eligibility

All employees, including rehired annuitants, are eligible for this program, except:

  • Student Hourly employees
  • University Staff Temporary employees
  • Student Assistant with one of the following titles: Fellows, Scholars, Trainees
  • Employee-in-Training with one of the following titles: Grad Intern/Trainee, Post-Doc Fellow/Trainee

Account Types

Below are the different types of Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) offered to UW System employees:

Health Care FSA

Covers eligible expenses not covered or partially covered by insurance plans, such as deductibles, copays, and coinsurance amounts. You may also use this account to pay for eligible out-of-pocket dental, pharmacy, and vision expenses as well as some over-the-counter drugs/supplies. Eligible expenses can be incurred by you, your spouse, and qualifying child or relative. Review the annual contribution maximums and carryover maximums (per employee) in the chart below.

If you enroll in either the High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) or Access HDHP with an Health Savings Account (HSA), you are not eligible for the Health Care FSA; however, you are eligible for the Limited Purpose FSA.

Limited Purpose FSA

Covers eligible expenses not covered or partially covered by your dental or vision insurance plans. Once you have met your medical deductible for the HDHP or Access HDHP, the Limited Purpose FSA may also cover medical expenses if you complete the Deductible Met Form and return it to the address on the form. Eligible expenses can be incurred by you, your spouse, and qualifying child or relative. Review the annual contribution maximums and carryover maximums (per employee) in the chart below.

If you enroll in either the High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) or Access HDHP with the Health Savings Account (HSA), you are not eligible for the Health Care FSA; however, you are eligible for the Limited Purpose FSA.

Dependent Day Care Account

Covers eligible expenses for the physical care of dependents, either inside or outside the home so you and your spouse (if applicable) are able to work, actively look for work or attend school full-time. This account may be used for after-school care, baby-sitting, adult or child daycare, and preschool. Eligible dependents include your qualifying child, spouse, and qualifying relative. This account does not pay for medical expenses for your eligible dependents. The annual contribution limit in the chart below is based on tax filing status and is a household limit.

Contribution and Carryover Maximums

The contribution maximums are established by the IRS on an annual basis. The carryover provision allows you to carryover up to a certain amount from one calendar year to the next.

FSA Account Type 2021 Maximums 2022 Maximums
Contribution Carryover Contribution Carryover
Health Care $2,750 $550* $2,750 $550
Dependent Day Care $2,500 or $5,000 (depending on tax filing status)*** NA** $2,500 or $5,000 (depending on tax filing status) NA

* The health care carryover limit was increased to $1,000 from the 2020 to the 2021 plan year only.

** A dependent day care carryover limit of up to $2,500 was added from the 2020 to the 2021 plan year only.

*** The dependent day care contribution maximum was increased to up to $5,250 or $10,500 (depending on tax filing status) for the 2021 plan year only.

Note: The changes mentioned above were made to the FSA Program mid-year due to the adoption of various COVID-19 relief provisions granted by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and approved by the Group Insurance Board in May of 2021. For a summary of the changes, review the Mid-Year Changes article.

Enrollment

When you enroll in an FSA, you designate an annual amount. Contributions are deducted from two paychecks each month. Plan carefully when determining your annual FSA election amount as you cannot change your contribution amount or stop your payroll deductions during the year unless you have a qualifying life event, as defined by the IRS. See Life Events for more information.

FSAs are considered “use-it-or-lose-it” accounts. For the Health Care FSA and Limited Purpose FSA, this means that if you do not use the full amount, then you will forfeit anything greater than the carryover amount. For the Dependent Day Care Account, this means that if you do not use the full amount, you will forfeit the remaining balance. Note: The Dependent Day Care Account included a carryover provision from the 2020 plan year to the 2021 plan year only.

Newly hired or newly eligible employees: You have 30 days from your date of employment or your newly benefits-eligible job to enroll in the FSAs. Your coverage will begin on the first of the month on or following your eligibility date.

Current employees: If you do not enroll in the FSAs during your initial 30-day enrollment period, you may enroll during the Annual Benefits Enrollment period, which typically occurs each October, or if you have a qualifying event. See Life Events for more information. You must re-enroll each year to participate.

For information on whose expenses you can cover, see the Dependent Eligibility Chart (UWS 25) pdf .

2022 Claims Submission

If you pay for your expenses out-of-pocket instead of using your payment card, there are several methods by which you may submit your claims for reimbursement. You have until March 31, 2023 to submit claims for 2022 expenses.

Electronic Claims Submission

  • Mobile App: Allows you to access your account information wherever you are, 24/7/365. To download, visit the Apple App Store or Android Marketplace and search for Optum Financial Mobile App
  • Optum Financial Website: Follow the instructions on the main page to file your claim.

Paper Claims Submission

  • Complete the FSA Reimbursement Claim Form (available in the Forms & Resources section below) and submit it with the required documentation to:
    • Mail: Claims Department, PO Box 622317, Orlando, FL 32862-2317
    • Fax: (443) 681-4602

Automatic Premium Conversion

If enrolled, you will automatically have premiums for the following benefit plans deducted from earnings on a pre-tax basis:

  • State Group Health Insurance
  • State Group Life Insurance (premium for first $50,000 of coverage)
  • Preventive Dental Insurance
  • Supplemental Dental Insurance
  • Vision Insurance

You may choose to waive automatic premium conversion and have your premiums taken on a post-tax basis by filling out the Automatic Premium Conversion Waiver (available in the Forms & Resources section below).

Forms & Resources

Every effort has been made to ensure this information is current and correct. Information on this page does not guarantee enrollment, benefits and/or the ability to make changes to your benefits.

Updated: 12/16/2021