Flexible Spending Accounts

What is a flexible spending account (FSA)?
A flexible spending account (FSA) allows you to automatically set aside money from your pay into an account to be used specifically for expenses related to health care or dependent care on a pre-tax basis. This can help you make your health care and/or dependent care dollars go farther.

There are two flexible spending accounts available to you; the Health Care Reimbursement Account (HCRA), and the Dependent Care Reimbursement Account (DCRA).
  • The HCRA or health care FSA allows you to be reimbursed for health care expenses that are not paid by your health, dental or vision insurance—expenses such as your deductibles, amounts not paid by the insurance co-payment, eye exams, glasses, contact lenses, etc. You may be reimbursed for health care expenses for yourself, your spouse, and any allowable dependents.
  • The DCRA or dependent care FSA allows you to be reimbursed for the care of a dependent so that you are able to work. If you are married, both you and your spouse must be working for dependent care expenses to be reimbursable. Expenses must be for a dependent that you claim on your federal tax return who is either under age 13 or physically or mentally incapable of caring for himself or herself (for example, an elderly parent). The dependent must also spend at least eight hours per day in your home. For this reason, nursing home care does not qualify as a reimbursable expense.
How much can I contribute to a Flexible Spending Account (FSA)?
  • The minimum contribution amount is $5 per biweekly pay period.
  • The maximum contribution for the dependent care (DCRA) FSA is $5,000 per year. If you file your federal income tax as “married filing separately,” the maximum amount that you may deposit into the dependent care FSA is $2,500 per year.
  • The maximum contribution amount for the health care (HCRA) FSA is $2,750 for 2021.
What if I do not use all of the money in my flexible spending account (FSA) before the deadline?
IRS regulations are very specific about the use of the Flexible Spending Accounts.
  • You must use all of the money that you have deposited before the year ends for the dependent care FSA and by March 15th of the following year for the health care FSA.
  • These time limits apply based on the date of service, not the date billed.
  • Any money that is left over in your account(s) is not refundable to you and is forfeited per IRS regulation.
  • Because of this forfeiture rule, you should carefully plan the amount that you wish to contribute into each account.
  • 90 days before the end of the Plan Year, you will receive a detailed statement of your Flexplan Spending Account(s) from Tri-Star Systems.
  • Each time you submit a claim for reimbursement, you will receive detailed information regarding the status of your account(s).
What is the deadline for filing flexible spending account (FSA) claims?
For both the health care FSA and dependent care FSA, you have until May 1st of the following year to file for reimbursement.
If you do not, any money remaining in your FSA is forfeited per IRS regulation.
What are the Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) service expense date definitions?
How do I access my Flexible Spending Account (FSA) information?

After your FSA enrollment information is reported to Tri-Star by HSHS, your account information is available through the Tri-Star website at www.tri-starsystems.com.
To access your account you will need to click on “My Account” to be brought to the secure login page. Once there, you will type your email address for the user name in the box. Next, you need to type in your Tri-Star password & click Login.

If you have never enrolled previously or you are having trouble logging in you will need to contact Tri-Star customer service at 1-800-727-0182, option #1 to provide a valid email address. Once you have provided the customer service representative your email address you will need to initiate the password reset process at the Tri-Star login page. You can do this by clicking on the link “I forgot my Password or I never received one”. The next screen that will be populated will ask you for your email address and once you provide that you can click Submit. You should receive an e-mail from Tri-Star regarding your password. If the email address provided matches what Tri-Star has on file, a time-sensitive link will be sent to that email address instructing you on how to reset your password. Following the link contained in the email you will be required to answer security questions before being allowed access to your account.

Once you have accessed your account, you can:

  • E-file or view claims for either or both of your Health Care Reimbursement Account and Dependent Care Reimbursement Account.
  • View details of FSA claims paid, such as date of payment, payment type, and amount.
  • View your account summary which provides a balance of the funds that are available.
  • Set up or change direct deposit information for FSA reimbursement purposes.
  • Enter the Benny Card system site to check approval status of card use, card payments awaiting documentation from you and other card information.

For a more in-depth guide to learn or review how to use Tri-Star’s system you can access the How-To Guide by clicking here.

What is the Benny card? What is the advantage of using the Benny card?
The Benny card works like a debit card for eligible health care FSA expenses. Use it to pay for eligible expenses at the pharmacy, including Express Scripts or Navitus for maintenance medications, hospital or your doctor or other health care provider’s office. Through the card, you access money you have elected to set aside each pay period in your health care FSA. 

When you pay for eligible health care expenses with the Benny card, you do not have to use your own money up front and then wait for reimbursement. The Benny card also gives you the ability to purchase qualified over-the-counter items such as nicotine gum or patches that are not eligible for reimbursement through manual claim submission.

It’s important to keep all documentation related to each expense you have in case the documentation is requested by the IRS or Tri-Star Systems to substantiate your claims.  

Only use the Benny card for expenses that have not and will not be paid by the HSHS Healthy Plan, HSHS Dental Plan, and/or VSP Vision Plan by the option(s) in which you are enrolled.
Why do I need to submit receipts or copies of claims or medical bills to Tri-Star?
The IRS requires proof that the expense was qualified for reimbursement through a health care FSA. Tri-Star Systems is our third party administrator for the Benny card and they will request documentation from you in order to substantiate your claim.
What happens to my FSA if I leave HSHS?
If you are leaving HSHS you may still submit claims for both the health care and/or the dependent care FSA.

Health Care FSA:
  • Claims for services received through your benefit end date are eligible for reimbursement.
  • The benefit end date is the last day of the pay period in which employment is terminated.
  • Qualifying health care claims must be filed with Tri-Star Systems by May 1 of the year following the plan year in which you contributed to the spending account.
  • Your Benny Card will be automatically canceled on the benefit end date. You will need to submit claims directly to Tri-Star for reimbursement.

Dependent Care FSA:
  • Claims may be submitted for dependent care expenses up to the amount in your account as of the day your benefits end with HSHS.
  • The benefit end date is the last day of the pay period in which employment is terminated.
  • Qualifying dependent care claims must be filed with Tri-Star Systems by May 1 of the year following the plan year in which you contributed to the spending account.
  • If you did not have any qualifying dependent care expenses as of the day your benefits end, you are not eligible to file any claims for reimbursement per IRS regulations.