As we wrap up our three-part series on open enrollment benefits, our last blog will cover the “extras” that employees may elect for open enrollment.
FSAs allow for the employee to contribute pre-tax dollars for medical, dental and vision expenses one might incur during the year. In 2023 the FSA contribution is expected to be $3050. The FSA is meant to be used for expenses that you incur during the year. A full list of items you can use the FSA for can be found in IRS publication 502.
Depending on your employer, you may have the ability to roll a small amount (projected to be $610) to the following year or have a grace period of 3/31 of the following year to use your benefits. Check your employer’s plan – not every plan allows for this flexibility.
If you have a high deductible health plan, you can contribute to an HSA. The total HSA contribution limit is $3850 for an individual and $7750 for a family which includes employer and employee contributions. If you are over 55, you can also contribute a catch-up contribution of $1k. You can use your HSA for the same medical expenses as listed in IRS Pub 502. The difference between an HSA and FSA is that you do not have to use the bulk of the HSA in the calendar year. You can take the account with you. It can be a wonderful savings vehicle because your contributions are tax free, your distributions are tax free, and earnings are tax free.
Dependent care FSAs
A dependent care FSA allows an employee to contribute pretax dollars for care for their children under 13 and elderly adult relative who lives in your home. The 2022 maximum contribution was $5k. Be thoughtful with how much you contribute because the intent is to use it in the year you contribute. Much like the healthcare FSA, you may have the option to roll a small amount of used dollar to next year. However, it takes planning to make sure you don’t forgo any dollars. Also remember that overnight camps are not eligible.
Commuter benefits/pet insurance/legal benefits/identity theft
If your employer plan offers additional benefits like the ones listed above, it’s important you consider your specific needs. If you can contribute to the commuter benefit on a pre-tax basis and you know you will use it, it’s worth considering. For pet insurance, legal services and identity theft coverage, it’s important to analyze the cost of the program vs. the need and likelihood you will use it.
As we approach open enrollment, it’s time for you the employee to mise en place. Don’t wait until the deadline to make important decisions on your health, life and disability insurance. Use the time now to determine how to best maximize the employer retirement plans offered to you. Think ahead about the possibility of needing legal or pet insurance services. Just like a a good meal can become great one with the right preparation done ahead of time, your employer offered benefits can best serve you and your family with the right forethought ahead of the open enrollment deadline.
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