Benefits Plans - Flexible Spending Accounts:
Effective Dates and Mid-Year Election Changes
When you enroll in a Flexible Spending Account, your election is effective until December 31 of that year.
- If you are a continuing faculty or staff member and you enroll during Open Enrollment, your election will be effective from January 1 through December 31.
- If you are a newly hired or newly eligible faculty or staff member, your enrollment becomes effective on the first day of the month following the date the HRRIS Benefits Transaction Team receives your enrollment form or the date of eligibility, whichever is later, and it remains in effect until December 31 of that year.
- You cannot make any changes to your election until the next Open Enrollment period unless you experience a qualifying family status change.
Changing Your FSA Election
You can change your contribution during Open Enrollment (usually held in October); changes made during Open Enrollment are effective January 1. You can enroll in the Dependent Care FSA or Health Care FSA for only one year at a time, so if you do not re-enroll during Open Enrollment, your participation in the Dependent Care FSA or Health Care FSA will end on December 31.
Certain qualified changes in status may also provide an opportunity in which you may start or stop participating, or change the amount of your Dependent Care FSA or Health Care contribution during the plan year. Changes in status are identified by Section 125 of the Internal Revenue Code. IRS rules require that changes to participation and/or to contribution amounts during the plan year must be made on account of and consistent with an eligible change in status. An election change is "consistent" if that change is "on account of" and "corresponds" with a change in status that affects eligibility for coverage, with some exceptions.
The tables below lists certain eligible events that allow a mid-year change in your Dependent Care FSA or Health Care FSA and the corresponding election change that may be made. You must contact the HR/Payroll Service Center within 30 days of the event and be prepared to provide documentation of the change upon request.
Changes in deduction amounts will be effective the first day of the month following the receipt of the authorization form or date of eligibility, whichever is later. For example, assume that you enroll in a Dependent Care FSA to begin on January 1 and designate an annual contribution amount of $300. Then, on April 1, you increase the annual contribution amount of $1,000 due to a qualified family status change. Between January 1 and March 31, $300 is available for incurred expenses. Any expenses incurred after April 1 are eligible for reimbursement up to $1,000, assuming no claims were previously filed.
|Changes in Your or Your Dependent's Personal Status||Changes You May Make
to Your Dependent Care FSA
|Your marriage||You may newly enroll or increase your annual election amount to accommodate newly acquired dependents. You may decrease or cancel coverage if your spouse is not employed or has a Dependent Care FSA through their employer.|
|The loss of your spouse through divorce, annulment, or death||You may newly enroll or increase your election if coverage is lost under your spouse's Dependent Care FSA, or to take into account the expenses of a newly eligible dependent (e.g., due to divorce from a non-working spouse). You may decrease or cancel coverage if eligibility is lost (e.g., your dependent now resides with your former spouse).|
|Your attainment of a newly eligible dependent through birth, adoption, or placement for adoption||You may newly enroll or increase your annual election amount for your newly eligible dependent.|
|An event by which a dependent becomes your eligible tax exemption (e.g., you are appointed guardian of a minor ward, or your parent moves into your home and you will claim him or her on your federal income tax return)||You may newly enroll or increase your annual election amount to take into account the daycare expenses of the affected dependent.|
|The loss of your dependent through death||You may decrease or cancel your election to take into account the daycare expenses of the affected dependent.|
|An event by which a dependent ceases to satisfy eligibility requirements (e.g., a child attains 13 years of age)||You may decrease or your election to take into account the daycare expenses of the affected dependent.|
|Changes in Your or Your Dependent's Employment Status||Changes You May Make
to Your Dependent Care FSA
|Change in employment status can affect your eligibility (termination or commencement of employment; strike or lockout; commencement of or return from an unpaid leave of absence||
If you terminate employment or go on an unpaid leave of absence, you may change your election amount or cancel coverage.
If you return from an unpaid leave of absence, you may start an account or change your election amount.
See Special Circumstances for further information about coverage during an unpaid leave of absence and termination of employment.
|Your spouse commences employment or has another employment event that triggers eligibility to enroll in their employer's Dependent Care FSAA plan (e.g., part-time to full-time; returns from leave of absence)||You may newly enroll (if spouse previously did not work), You may decrease or cancel your election provided your spouse elects coverage under their employer's Dependent Care FSA plan.|
|Your spouse terminates employment or has another employment event that causes loss of eligibility under their employer's Dependent Care FSA plan (e.g., full-time to part-time)||You may decrease or cancel your election if your spouse stops working. You may newly enroll or increase your annual election amount to reflect the loss of your spouse's eligibility under their employer's Dependent Care FSA plan.|
|Dependent Care Changes||Changes You May Make
to Your Dependent Care FSA
Change from one daycare center to another, which charges a different rate, for a reason such as:
|Increase or decrease election amount consistent with a change in qualified dependent daycare expenses. (If the new child care center is more expensive, the election amount may be increased in a corresponding amount.)|
|Change in home child care provider, including a change in a nanny-sharing arrangement. (IRS regulations provide that a cost increase by a child care provider who is a relative will not allow an election change.)||Increase or decrease election amount consistent with a change in cost.|
|Change in home child care provider because a relative or friend has agreed to watch the child for free.||Decrease or cancel election.|
|Employee or spouse changes work schedules (including to or from part-time status), changing the hours of outside child care required and the amount of eligible dependent care expenses.||Increase or decrease election amount consistent with the change in cost.|
The IRS rules that allow mid-year changes in a Health Care FSA are much more restrictive that otherwise permitted for enrollment under a pre-tax health insurance plan or a Dependent Care FSA. While you may be allowed to make changes to other coverage options under some of the situations listed below, changes to your Health Care FSA are not permissible if:
- You move inside or outside of an HMO service area and change your health plan option.
- Your annual earnings decrease due to a change in your appointment percentage or other job change, and you still remain eligible to participate in the university's Health Care FSA.
- Your anticipated health/dental/visions costs increase or decrease due to unanticipated factors. Some examples include the following situations:
- You funded your FSA with an expectation of having LASIK eye surgery and were advised you were not a good candidate for surgery.
- You funded your FSA with an expectation of having extensive dental work done. Schedule issues by your dentist's office resulted in the needed work to be carried over several months, and all of the work could not be completed before the end of the plan year.
- You funded your FSA with an expectation of having limited out-of-pocket expenses for the year. Midway through the year, your dependent required outpatient mental health treatment that was only partially covered by your health plan, resulting in significant out-of-pocket expenses.
- You funded your FSA with an expectation of continued use of a particular prescription drug at a fixed co-pay, amount. Your physician determined it was necessary to change the medication to a drug with a higher co-pay, or your condition improved and you no longer needed to take the drug.
These are but a few examples, but they share one common theme the IRS has ruled on: The employee's intent when signing up for a Health Care FSA is not relevant. The Health Care FSA remains available to reimburse out-of-pocket medical expenses and a mid-year change is not allowed under these circumstances. Please keep this in mind when deciding how much to contribute to a Health Care FSA. You forfeit any contributions you cannot claim.
The table below lists permissible events that allow you to make a mid-year change in your Health Care FSA and the corresponding election change that may be made. You must contact the HR/Payroll Service Center within 30 days of the event and be prepared to provide documentation of the change upon request.
|Change in Status Event||Changes You May Make to Your Health Care FSA|
|Change in Your Legal Marital Status
(marriage; death of spouse; divorce; or annulment)
|Change in Number of Your Tax Dependents
(birth; death; adoption; or placement for adoption)
Changes in Employment Status that affect eligibility of the employee, the employee's spouse, or the employee's dependent (termination or commencement of employment; strike or lockout; commencement of or return from an unpaid leave of absence)
(See Special Circumstances for more information about coverage during an unpaid leave of absence and termination of employment.)
|Dependent satisfies or ceases to satisfy eligibility requirements (gain or loss of dependent status as defined by IRC Section 152)||
|Certain Judgments, decrees, or court orders||
If a judgment, decree, or court order from a divorce, legal separation, annulment, or change in legal custody requires that accident or health coverage for your dependent child (including a dependent foster child) be provided by:
|Eligibility for Medicare and Medicaid||
If you, yours spouse, or your dependent:
The University of Michigan in its sole discretion may modify, amend, or terminate the benefits provided with respect to any individual receiving benefits, including active employees, retirees, and their dependents. Although the university has elected to provide these benefits this year, no individual has a vested right to any of the benefits provided. Nothing in these materials gives any individual the right to continued benefits beyond the time the university modifies, amends, or terminates the benefit. Anyone seeking or accepting any of the benefits provided will be deemed to have accepted the terms of the benefits programs and the university's right to modify, amend or terminate them.