New year, new deadlines: FSAstore.com reminds consumers to be aware of March 15 Grace Period deadline

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Millions of consumers with a Grace Period deadline are still at risk of losing unspent flexible spending account (FSA) funds, despite 2020 legislative changes.

Our mission at Health-E Commerce is to ensure consumers get the maximum value from their tax-free healthcare dollars, and that starts with understanding how your account works and what’s new each year.

For millions of Americans with a flexible spending account (FSA), 2020 may not be over quite yet. That’s why FSAstore.com, the first and leading online marketplace for exclusively eligible FSA products, is reminding consumers to check their flexible spending account deadline and balance so they don’t miss the upcoming March 15 Grace Period deadline.

According to FSAstore.com, many FSAs are subject to a “use-it-or-lose-it” rule, which means any money left in the account by the plan year deadline (usually December 31) is lost by the employee. But thanks to the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021, which was signed into law on December 27, 2020, employers now have an additional temporary, option to give employees some deadline relief by extending their plan year deadlines, if they choose.

FSAstore.com offers the following reminders and urges account holders to check with their employer or plan sponsor to determine which, if any, of the following deadline extensions are available to them for spending remaining 2020 FSA funds. Consumers should also be aware that employers may choose to offer one of these options but not both, and they are not required to offer any extension.

  • Grace Period. The traditional Grace Period gives FSA holders up an additional 2.5 months after their plan year deadline to spend their remaining funds. The most common Grace Period deadline is March 15. However, the new legislation gives employers the option to extend this Grace Period for up to 12 months (in the above example from March 15 to December 31). It's important to note that this temporary change is only for plan years ending in 2020 or 2021, after which the Grace Period will revert back to being limited to up to 2.5 months.
  • FSA Carryover. Employers may allow employees to carry over up to $550 into the 2022 plan year. The newest change to come from the recent legislation allows employers to give FSA users the ability to carry over all of their unused dollars into the 2022 plan year if they choose. This applies to the 2020 and 2021 plan years only and would require employers to make an amendment to their FSA plans.
  • Contribution Limits. Employers can allow FSA users to make a one-time change to their contributions for the FSA plan year ending in 2021, as long as employers make applicable plan amendments before the end of the 2021 plan year. While these changes are similar to the FSA mid-year changes allowed by the IRS in 2020, that guidance came in the middle of the plan year and only about 30% of U.S. employers opted to make these changes (Mercer).

“Several changes were introduced for FSAs in 2020, all with the intent of giving account holders additional flexibility in how they use their funds to protect their health and well-being,” said Rida Wong, president of Health-E Commerce, the parent brand of FSAstore.com and HSAstore.com. “This has been essential as healthcare costs continue to rise. Our mission at Health-E Commerce is to ensure consumers get the maximum value from their tax-free healthcare dollars, and that starts with understanding how your account works and what’s new each year.”

To learn more about FSA rules and changes, visit http://www.FSAstore.com/learn.

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About FSAstore.com
FSAstore.com is flex spending with zero guesswork. It’s both the largest online marketplace for guaranteed FSA-eligible products and an educational resource that you can actually understand. It’s the company's mission to help millions of FSA holders manage and use their accounts, and save on more than 6,000 health items using tax-free funds.

About Health-E Commerce
Health-E Commerce is the parent company of FSA Store, HSA Store and WellDeserved, a family of brands that serve the 70+ million consumers with pre-tax health and wellness accounts. The company has also created Caring Mill, a popular private-label line of health products that benefits Children’s Health Fund and enables customers to make a donation with each purchase. Since 2010, the company’s brands have led the direct-to-consumer e-commerce market for pre-tax health and wellness benefits. Health-E Commerce plays an essential role in expanding product eligibility for important new categories within the IRS-approved list of eligible medical expenses like sunscreen and breast pumps. The company leads a committee of industry experts to promote the important national conversation around product safety and authenticity.

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Barbara Tabor
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