What is a Flexible Spending Account?

A Flexible Spending Account (FSA) allows you to set aside money on a pre-tax basis to pay for eligible healthcare and/or dependent day care expenses.

Note: If you enrolled in the CDHP health plan with the Health Savings Account you cannot enroll in a traditional FSA for medical expenses you must choose the Limited FSA.

The Flexible Benefits Plan at the University is an important part of your overall benefits package. This Plan permits the University to exclude, from both Federal Income and Social Security taxes, amounts you contribute to a medical and/or dependent care reimbursement account. The administration of our medical and dependent care flexible spending account (FSA) programs are overseen by a company called OptumBank. The benefits of this program include:

  • Fast reimbursement – Once claims are approved, funds can be deposited in your personal bank account the next day. No more waiting until pay day.
  • Faster claims submission – Claims may be submitted electronically online, faxed or through a mobile
    application on your smart phone.
  • OptumBank debit card – A debit card will be provided to allow point of sale purchases.
  • optumbank.com/tennessee – Check account balances, claim history or amounts deducted from your pay. All of
    this information is available in real time on the OptumBank website. You create your own account and you will also receive access to listings of eligible items and other educational materials.

 
If you paid for any out of pocket medical or dependent care expenses this year and are not currently enrolled in the University’s Flexible Spending Account plan, you are paying more in taxes than you would have if you were enrolled in the program. A flexible spending account allows you to take money from your compensation and place it into an account for medical and dependent care expenses. These funds are not taxed, thereby potentially saving you hundreds of dollars. The money put aside in the account is then used by you to pay eligible medical and dependent care expenses. These payments can be made via the debit card provided or you can make the payments and request reimbursement from the funds in your account. Keep in mind that if you enroll in the CDHP and choose an HSA you cannot enroll in a traditional medical FSA, and your spouse cannot have a full scope FSA. You can however choose the Limited FSA.

 

How Do I Enroll for 2022?

The enrollment period for the 2022 Medical and Dependent Care Spending Accounts is from October 1, 2021, to October 31, 2021. Enrollment is online at optumbank.com/tennessee. Please follow the instructions listed below in the guide to enrolling online.

Guide to Online Flex Enrollment (PDF)

 

How do I use the OptumBank Card to pay for eligible expenses?

The OptumBank Card provides a simple way to spend the money in your flexible spending account. Is is similar to a debit card since it electronically accesses the money loaded onto the card when used to pay for eligible expenses.