The Universities of Wisconsin offers eligible employees the opportunity to pay certain health care and dependent day care expenses with tax-free dollars through Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs). To comply with IRS requirements, documentation is necessary to substantiate eligible expenses.
Optum is the plan administrator for the Flexible Spending Accounts.
Review this page for eligibility, contribution amounts, eligible expenses, and deadlines.
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
Below are the different types of Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) offered to UW System employees.
Health Care FSA
Covers eligible expenses not covered or partially covered by health insurance plans, such as deductibles, copays, and coinsurance amounts. You may also use this account to pay for eligible out-of-pocket pharmacy, dental, and vision expenses, and some over-the-counter drugs/supplies. Eligible expenses can be incurred by you, your spouse, and qualifying child or relative. Review the annual contribution and carryover amounts (per employee) in the chart below.
If you enroll in either the High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) or Access HDHP with a Health Savings Account (HSA) through the UW System, 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 Optum’s Deductible Met Form and return it to the address on the form. You can access this form on the Optum website. Eligible expenses can be incurred by you, your spouse, and qualifying child or relative. Review the annual contribution and carryover maximums (per employee) in the chart below.
If you enroll in either the Health Plan or Access Health Plan through the UW System, you are not eligible for the Limited Purpose FSA; however, you are eligible for the Health Care 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 Amounts
The contribution minimum is established by the Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) and approved by the Group Insurance Board (GIB). The contribution maximum is established by the IRS on an annual basis, reviewed by ETF and approved by the GIB.
|FSA Account Type||2023 Amounts||2024 Amounts|
|Health Care||$50 – $2,850||$570||$50 – $3,050||$50*-$610|
|Dependent Day Care||$0 – $2,500 or $5,000 (depending on tax filing status)||NA||$0 – $2,500 or $5,000 (depending on tax filing status)||NA|
The carryover provision for the health care FSA allows you to carry over up to a certain amount from one year to the next as long as you remain an active employee on December 31st.
*NEW: To be eligible for carryover from 2023 to 2024, you must have a minimum balance of $50 in your health care FSA at the end of the run-out period (March 31, 2024) OR re-enroll during the Annual Benefits Enrollment period (September 25 – October 20, 2023).
If eligible, carryover will appear in your health care FSA on/around April 15th.
When you enroll in an FSA, you designate an annual contribution amount. Contributions are deducted from two paychecks each month. Plan carefully when determining your annual FSA contribution amount since 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.
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. You may begin to incur eligible expenses 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 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.
If you pay for your expenses out-of-pocket, there are several methods by which you may submit your claims for reimbursement. You have until March 31, 2024 to submit claims for 2023 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 Website: Follow the instructions on the main page to submit your claim for reimbursement.
Paper Claims Submission
- Complete the FSA Reimbursement Claim Form (available on the Optum website) and submit it with the required documentation to the mailing address or fax number included on the form.
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)
- 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.