I’ve only recently begun filing FSA (flexible spending account) claims, but I’ve learned a few things about the process.

Use Your FSA Debit Card
If you have an FSA card, swipe it first. My HR department recommends using it in the pharmacy, rather than at the checkout. If you need to buy over-the-counter items, wait until you need to pick up a prescription and ring up the whole thing at the pharmacy counter.

Save Itemized Receipts
If you’re buying over-the-counter items and don’t have a card, keep the itemized receipt for filing your claim. I’ve noticed that both CVS and Costco list the FSA-eligible total at the bottom of the receipt. If you use the card, save the receipt anyway in case they need verification. Basically, save the receipt until at least the end of the tax year.

Save Prescription Detail Receipts
In addition to the itemized register receipt, save the slip of paper stapled to your prescription bag that lists your name, the medication, the date, and the price. Some FSA programs require more details for prescription reimbursement than the cash register receipt will show.

Get Itemized Receipts from Doctors
The IRS doesn’t allow FSA programs to accept the credit card or cash receipt for doctor co-pays. You need to get a copy of the appointment sheet where the doctor marked off the visit codes or wait for your explanation of benefits to arrive, which will list what you have to pay.

Notify HR If You Have a Problem
I had two problems with my first claim: first, the claim form crashed before I could print it. Once I got it to work again, it refused to accept claims for $10. I could enter any other number except $10. I notified HR again, but no one could figure out why it was doing that. I tried with two different computers on two different days!

Arrange for Direct Deposit of Reimbursements
If you file claims, you probably have an option of being reimbursed by direct deposit rather than check. You’ll get your money faster and won’t have to worry about lost checks if you set that up.

Keep a Copy of Your Claim
Keep a copy of your claim form and documentation if you have to mail your claims. Don’t send your original receipts – only copies. My FSA prefers faxed documentation, so I filed the fax with my other documents until my reimbursement comes.

If you use them properly, FSAs can save you a lot of money. Just make sure you file all your claims properly to reduce the hassle!

Comments

2 Responses to “Tips for Filing FSA Claims”

  1. Kat on October 28th, 2010 1:22 am

    Is it mandatory to file the claims on FSA?

  2. Aryn on October 28th, 2010 10:05 am

    It is mandatory if you want the money back! If you don’t file claims or use your debit card to spend down the funds, then your employer gets to keep the money. Also, some debit card purchases will still require documentation. I’ve found that only drugstore purchases go through with ease. Doctor’s office charges don’t have the necessary backend to be verified automatically.

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