Frequently Asked Questions
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What is a "Qualified Change in Status"?
Any one of the following will be considered as a Qualified Change in Status:
- The birth or adoption of a child
- Change in a spouse's or other dependent's employment resulting in a change in their coverage
- Change in your employment from full-time to part-time or part-time to full-time
- Gain or loss of your spouse's or other dependent's medical coverage
It is very important to note that you must notify your Human Resources Department of any Qualified Change in Status within 31 days of the event. If you fail to do so, you will be unable to make any change until the next open enrollment period.
What happens to unused money in my Health Care or Dependent Care accounts if I leave the company?
The IRS requires that any unused money left in your account must be forfeited. This is the reason that careful planning is necessary. If however, you choose to participate and leave the company before year-end, you can continue to have access to your account balance by submitting claims incurred (meaning “performed” not “paid for”) with a date of service prior to your employment termination date. You have a limited amount of time to submit claims incurred prior to your date of termination after you terminate employment. Contact benefitexpress for questions regarding this time frame.
Can I continue to participate in my health care spending account if I am on COBRA coverage?
Yes, you may continue to participate in your health care spending account for any expenses incurred after termination while you are on COBRA. COBRA allows you to make after-tax contributions to your account. COBRA also allows you to submit reimbursement requests for claims that you incurred after your employment has ended but during your COBRA period of coverage. This is beneficial if you have any expenses coming up and want to use the remaining funds in your account. You may only continue to participate until the end of the year in which you terminated. In addition, COBRA is only offered if you have a balance remaining in your account at termination.
Can I continue to participate in any accounts other than my health care spending account after I leave the company?
No, you cannot continue to participate in any other spending accounts after you leave the company. You can only continue in your health care spending account.
Why do amounts remaining in my account have to be forfeited? It is my money isn't it?
Yes, it is your money but the IRS requires that as a condition of offering this these types of benefits, these funds must be forfeited if not used. Since the money is tax free, the IRS views your election commitment as a commitment to fully fund your account for your entire plan year election. This is true whether or not you actually use the money that is deducted from your paycheck. We want all employees to take full advantage of this valuable benefit and to use all of the money that is deposited. This is why we constantly stress that you must carefully plan prior to making your plan-year election.
Who gets the money that I forfeit if I don't use it?
Any money that is forfeited because you do not use it is returned to your company. We do not keep your unused money. Your company must use all forfeited funds to offset administration expenses for benefit plans that the company may incur.
What happens to my spending accounts if I take an unpaid leave of absence?
A leave of absence is considered a family or employment “Qualified Change in Status”. This means that an event such as a leave of absence may allow you to change your elections in a manner consistent with the reason for the leave.