As you review your benefit options for the coming year during Open Enrollment (October 1-31), consider whether a flexible spending account (FSA) makes sense for your family. We all spend money on medical expenses such as prescription and office visit co-pays, dental work, and over-the-counter items like bandages. And many families spend thousands of dollars each year on child or elder care.
If you are looking for ways to save money on caregiving costs and/or medical care expenses, enrolling in an FSA is a sound strategy. An FSA allows you to use pre-tax dollars to pay for eligible expenses, such as child care or health care costs like co-pays or pain medication. In fact, using FSA funds for these types of expenses can save you an average of 30%!1
MSU offers benefits-eligible employees the option to enroll in two different types of FSAs: Dependent Care FSA and/or Health Care FSA. You can enroll in one or both FSA plan types. You will manage your FSA directly with MSU’s plan administrator, HealthEquity.
Should I enroll in both FSA types?
Good question! The answer depends on what you and your family need. Make sure you know the eligible expenses each FSA plan allows you to use your pre-tax money on before you enroll in one or both plans.
Dependent Care FSA Eligible Expense Examples:
- Child care
- Elder care
- Virtual or in-person camps
- Before/after school programs
- Nursery school
- Find a complete list of Dependent Care FSA eligible expenses.
Health Care FSA Eligible Expense Examples:
- Medical/dental deductibles and co-pays
- Pain medication
- Menstrual care products
- Hearing aids
- Allergy medications
- Find a complete list of Health Care FSA eligible expenses.
Before You Enroll
When you enroll, you’ll decide how much money you’d like to contribute to the FSA. This money will be deducted from your paycheck (pre-tax) and divided over each pay period throughout the plan year.
Before you enroll, make sure you take some time to understand each plan and estimate how much you are likely to spend on eligible expenses throughout the plan year. We encourage you to plan conservatively; Due to IRS requirements, any unused funds left in your account at the end of the plan year will be forfeited. Learn more about FSAs – including contribution limits, grace period deadlines, and eligible expenses – on the HR FSA webpage.
Please Note: Due to IRS regulations, you are unable to participate or have a balance in a Health Care FSA if you enroll in the Health Savings Account offered with the Consumer Driven Health Plan.
How to Enroll
Please review these two FSA plan options and enroll – or re-enroll – in an FSA during the Open Enrollment period in October. If you’re currently enrolled in an FSA for the 2023 plan year, you must re-enroll if you’d like to continue participating in an FSA for the 2024 plan year. Find instructions for how to enroll in an FSA as part of Open Enrollment here.
Questions? HealthEquity will be available to answer questions at the MSU Benefits Fair on October 12 and HR staff will be available at the HR Site Labs on October 18, 24, and 31. You may also visit the HealthEquity website or call HealthEquity at 877-924-3967. The HR Solutions Center is available at SolutionsCenter@hr.msu.edu or 517-353-4434.
1Example for illustration only. Actual savings vary. The figure is based on average tax rates, including state, federal and FICA taxes. Source: (n.d.). Open Enrollment Center. HealthEquity. Retrieved August 29, 2023, from https://www.healthequity.com/learn