Originally published 2/1/21, updated on 2/16/23.
It’s that time of year…the FSA deadline is fast approaching. For many employees (including yours, most likely), March 15 is a day of reckoning. Why?
Because it’s the last day to use last year’s flexible spending account dollars for eligible medical expenses. And it’s up to YOU to make sure your employees, all of whom have 157 other things on their mind, get the memo before it’s too late to take action.
Here’s everything you need to share with your workforce, including some new IRS updates for 2023. Plus, we’re giving you a few handy FSA deadline reminder email templates to send to your employees.
What is an FSA account?
A flexible spending account (FSA) is a benefit many employers offer that allows employees to pay for medical expenses with tax-free dollars. Employees can use an FSA to pay for insurance copayments and deductibles, qualified prescription drugs, insulin, medical devices and more.
While similar to a health savings account, FSAs have a few key differences that you’ll want to make sure employees know about. Most importantly, FSA dollars are use it or lose it: if employees don’t spend their full savings by the end of the year, it goes away.
U.S. workers forfeit
In unused FSA dollars every year
What important FSA deadlines should your employees know?
When’s the last day employees can use the money they saved in their flexible spending account? What’s the FSA reimbursement deadline? Here are a couple of key dates:
FSA contribution deadline
Generally, this is the last day employees can add money to their flexible spending accounts.
FSA spending, reimbursement and claims deadline
Many employers offer an FSA grace period—or a few extra months when employees can use up the FSA dollars they didn’t spend by the end of the calendar year.
Generally, March 15 is the last day employees can use their FSA dollars or submit a claim for reimbursement.
What FSA regulation changes should you be aware of in 2023?
As we head into a new year, the IRS has announced a few important changes that both you and your employees should be aware of.
- The FSA savings cap has increased. Employees can now save up to $3,050 in an FSA, a 7% increase from 2022. This is big news for employees looking to take advantage of tax savings as a recession looms.
- Longer grace periods are going away. In 2020 and 2021, the IRS relaxed the grace period for using up FSA dollars in response to the pandemic. But this year, those provisions have expired, meaning employees must claim their FSA dollars by March 15, 2023.
How does FSA reimbursement work?
The rules vary depending on your company and the vendors you work with. But generally speaking, there are a couple of ways your employees can use their FSA dollars:
- Credit card. Many vendors offer a debit card that can be used for qualified medical expenses. Employees can use it just like they would their personal debit card—no need to submit a claim for reimbursement!
- Submit a claim. If employees pay for qualifying medical expenses out-of-pocket, they have the option to submit an FSA reimbursement claim. If they go this route, employees should keep itemized receipts with a date on them, to prove that their medical expenses were incurred within the given calendar year.
What’s eligible for FSA reimbursement?
To be eligible for reimbursement, employees should make sure their purchase is listed as a qualified medical expense according to your FSA vendor. Many resources, like FSA Store, make it easy for employees to shop for qualified expenses.
FSA reminder email templates to share with your employees
To drive enough awareness about upcoming FSA deadlines, one email’s not going to cut it. After all, your employees may be working from home this year, and are balancing home life with work, financial troubles, and more.
So we recommend sending at least two or three emails, strategically sent over a period of about a month. AND…to make things as easy as possible for you, we wrote the emails for you!
Our goal with these was to be as brief and specific as possible, use both a little fear to light a fire and some humor to keep things casual. By sending the first email out with about a month to go, the hope is that people will have time to, say, schedule that eye appointment they need to get their new FSA-funded glasses in time.
Feel free to steal or tweak as you see fit! Ready? Let’s do this.
Email 1: The Attention-Grabber
Subject line: The FSA deadline is approaching! Use your money or lose it!
Please don’t forget that after March 15, you’ll no longer be able to use your 2022 FSA funds. Start thinking of ways to use those dollars, and be sure to spend all of your money AND submit claims by 3/15/23 at 11:59 PM.
If you wait too long, you’ll kick yourself…which, ironically, could lead to a minor injury, requiring some bandages, which you’d no longer be able to buy with your FSA funds. 🙁
As a reminder, your FSA money can be used to buy things like eyeglasses, contact lenses, therapy, acupuncture, first aid kits, smoking cessation programs–and much more. [Ed. note: Check your company’s FSA usage guidelines before making your own short list.]
Need to check how much money you may have left in your 2022 FSA? [Ed. note: Include your link to online resource or reference attached document here.]
Want a reminder on all the stuff that’s covered and that’s not…and where to buy some of that stuff online? [Ed. note: Include your link to online resource or reference attached document here.]
Please reach out if you have any questions!
Email 2: The Nudge
Send: Around March 1
Subject line: You have [#] days left to use your FSA funds (March 15)
Just wanted to send another reminder about using your FSA funds before March 15. (See original email with full details below.) [Ed. note: Cut and paste your 1st email at the bottom of this one, so readers can readily get to it, if they missed it the first time.]
Short version: to ensure you don’t lose your remaining 2022 FSA funds, you’ll need to both spend that money and submit your claims by 11:59 P.M. on March 15th. That’s right, miss that deadline, and that money–YOUR money–will sadly disappear in a puff of smoke.
If you have any questions, please let me know. I’m here to help!
Email 3: The Last-Second Short One
Send: March 14
Subject line: Tomorrow is the FSA Deadline – Last Chance to Use Your 2022 Funds!
Last reminder, I promise!
When does your 2022 FSA balance disappear? The end of the day tomorrow (March 15).
Do you need to both spend the money AND submit the claim by EOD tomorrow? Yes.
What can you use FSA funds for? [link to resource or reference attached document here]
How can you get that stuff or those services? [link to resource or reference attached document here]
How will you feel once you’ve used all your money up? Like this.
Thanks, everyone. As always, please give a shout if you have any questions.