Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Ma Kettle, Nov 29, 2011.

  1. Ma Kettle

    Ma Kettle New Member

    Hope this helps someone out there and isn't too late... It's benefits time at my work and I upped my 'flexplan' dollar amount to max this year due to knowing that Halfpint will be spending most of our dollars on therapy this next year.

    So, for those who do not itemize their taxes and have flexplan available to them through their work benefits, I highly suggest you use this method of pretax money going towards medical bills. A medical flexplan is money taken out of your paycheck (pretax) and set aside to use for copays, deductibles, pharmacy purchases (mostly prescribed, some not prescribed, be sure to read your benefits) eye exams/glasses/contacts, dental, etc. Some flexplans make you pay for the medical item and send in your receipt for reimbursment. Mine gives me a Visa credit card, which has the whole balance up front January 1st and I could spend it all (if medically necessary) that day, or I can spread it out throughout the year as needed. The maximum amount you can put aside is $5000 a year.

    So the pro's of a flexplan are as follows: a large sum upfront to help you with your deductible/copay (which will probably start with your first Dr. visit in January). You can use it to pay for prescription medications. (My flexplan Visa slides right through the pay machine at the Walmart pharmacy, and my flexplan does not ask for receipts, it can 'see' what I purchased and whether or not it is covered by my flexplan). Same with eye exams/glasses/dental exams, I am sure you get the idea.

    Con's are of course the money is coming out of your paycheck (although it is pretax, so it saves time/money if you do not itemize your taxes and once they accept your flexplan payment as approved, you don't have to keep the receipts around until next April). If you pay for something on a flexplan Visa that isn't approved, you have to pay it back, of course, which could be a pain. If you have a flexplan that does not give you a Visa, but instead askes for copies of receipts to reimburse, you it may take awhile to get the reimbursement back (so you are out the money you had deducted on your paycheck as well as what you paid for the service/item and are waiting to be reimbursed). I have not had this problem, but have heard other people have this problem, so check with your Human Resource person if you have questions about your work's flexplan provider and how they handle payments, etc.

    There may be more pro's and con's and advice on flexplans. I just wanted to get this out there incase it would help anyone like it helps my family. It has been a lifesaver to us in the past, and I think it will be very helpful to us starting in January, since we will have to start all over with the meeting of our deductibles and copays before things start paying 100%. Sadly, due to heath concerns with me and Halfpint's stint in the hospital/psychiatric stuff, we met everything this year. Guess there is a first to everything.

    If anyone wants to add on to or 'fix' my advice here, please feel free. I really appreciate this community and hope my advice helps someone.


    Ma Kettle
  2. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Thanks for posting this - I asked at work, and we don't have such a thing, but due to you posting this - I WAS able to get in on the one time a year enrollment for insurance that I was told earlier was NOT available. Imagine THAT. So it DID work out for me in a different way.

    Thanks again Ma Kettle.

    Good to see you again!
  3. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    I love my flexible spending account. I have had one for years, and I always put the max in, and have never failed to use every penny. It is awesome. I read somewhere, don't remember where, that you can use it for lodging expenses if you have to travel for medical reasons. That may vary from plan to plan. I pay for all our medications, and then come summer time when I am broke and we want to go do something? I turn in all the receipts.
  4. Ma Kettle

    Ma Kettle New Member

    Star* Glad something good came of my post! Maybe your HR person can look into a flexplan company for your 2013 benefits. It wouldn't hurt to look into it. Oh, and I wanted to say I have been around, lurking, because I hate to log in at work. Believe it or not, people come stand behind me and look at my computer screen. It's really rude and annoying! The community here has made me feel better about things with HP, just by being able to tell my story without being judged.

    crazymomma30-That's a great way to come up with 'extra' cash. If I didn't have the Visa option, that is what I would be doing for sure!

    Ma Kettle
  5. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    hey Star, they are supposed to give you notice of the open enrollment time for insurance. If they didn't, it makes me wonder what else you are eligible for but haven't been notified of. Did you get a handbook that explained your employee benefits? Is there a corporate or national or even regional/state headquarters with a number for the HR dept? If so, it would be very wise to contact them and as for an employee handbook or other paperwork to explain your benefits, enrollment procedures, etc.....

    Whatever you are told verbally about benefits, ESP those dealing with taxes and insurances, get it in writing. You just CANNOT rely on what they tell you verbally.
  6. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Just an FYI: Beginning January 2012, there will be new restrictions on what you can use these accounts for under the new healthcare laws. You should all ask your HR person for information of any changes. And then again in January 2014 - more big changes.