Changes to “Use-or-Lose” Rule for Health FSAs
According to new agency guidance, employers may now allow employees to carryover up to $500 of unused amounts in a health flexible spending arrangement (FSA) to use in the following plan year.
The “use-or-lose” rule requires that amounts in an employee’s health FSA that are not spent by the end of a plan year be forfeited. However, an employer’s cafeteria plan can provide for a grace period, whereby an employee is permitted to use amounts remaining from the previous year to pay expenses incurred for certain qualified benefits during the period of up to 2 1/2 months immediately following the end of the plan year.
New Guidance Details Changes
The agency guidance explains that an employer may, at its option, amend its cafeteria plan document to provide for a carryover to the immediately following plan year of up to $500 of any amount remaining unused as of the end of the plan year in a health FSA. The carryover may be used to pay or reimburse medical expenses under the health FSA incurred during the entire plan year to which it is carried over.
The carryover of up to $500 does not count against or otherwise affect the indexed $2,500 salary reduction limit applicable to each plan year. A cafeteria plan that incorporates the carryover provision may not also provide for a grace period in the plan year to which unused amounts may be carried over.
An employer may adopt this carryover provision to health FSAs for the current cafeteria plan year and/or subsequent plan years by amending the plan document in the manner and within the time frames described in the agency guidance.