Get Your Medical FSA Money When Leaving a Company

You are entitled to all of your Medical FSA Money, even when you leave your company in the middle of the year.

  • Your entire election is available to spend on January 1st, even though you won’t have fully funded it until the end of the year.
  • The tax code (IRS Publication 969) has no language in it saying what should happen when you leave a company.
  • I scoured the internets for an interpretation of the law and got a “mostly yes” mixed bag of answers (see below)

I recently had an interaction with American Fidelity about getting my Medical FSA money. I left my job and then 3 weeks later I submitted an expense that had occured while I was still working. American Fidelity denied the claim, saying that my account was closed out when I left. So I wrote to them:

My recent reimbursement request for my Health Care FSA was denied because I no longer work for my former employer. I stopped employment on February xx and health insurance from my employer will end on April xx. I submitted my reimbursement request on March 1st (American Fidelity Claim #xx) . Your own website notes “…if the employee has any additional eligible claims incurred prior to [their] date of termination, those claims may still be submitted for reimbursement up to the full elected amount…” I have submitted such a claim and expect to be reimbursed in accordance with the policy you put forth on your website. Please reach out to me with an approved FSA claim or a message indicating why you are continuing to decline this reimbursement request. Thank you very much.

Their response:

Thank you for contacting American Fidelity. We understand your concerns , and we apologize for the error with processing your claim.

Upon further review, we will be able to process the claim for the 1/24/2024 date of service. Please allow 3-5 business days for processing.

 

Yay!

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References

I googled around for an interpretation. Here’s what I found

IRS Publication 969
“You must be able to receive the maximum amount of reimbursement (the amount you have elected to contribute for the year) at any time during the coverage period, regardless of the amount you have actually contributed.”

The “”use-it-or-lose-it” portion of Publication 969 is only concerned with possible carryover to the next year

——————-
Yes, I can get the FSA money
I need to present the claim before the “run-out period”
https://rmr.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/360026564973-Using-FSA-Funds-After-Termination
https://www.askcip.com/resources/what-happens-to-fsa-funds-when-an-employee-terminates/
https://fsafeds.com/support/faq/all/1003
——————-
Strongly Implied yes, from AmericanFidelity themselves
https://americanfidelity.com/blog/reimburse/steps-hcfsa-terminate/
Employers may not limit participants from submitting claims and getting reimbursed for eligible claims, even for amounts greater than their contribution when they were employed.
——————-
Use it before my termination date / Use it with COBRA
https://livelyme.com/blog/what-happens-to-my-fsa-when-i-quit-my-job
https://employeebenefits.ri.gov/sites/g/files/xkgbur816/files/documents/fsa-faq.pdf
——————-
Maybe I can spend my FSA money
https://fsastore.com/articles/learn-fsa-cobra-coverage.html
https://wexbenefitskb.egain.cloud/system/templates/selfservice/dbinv/help/customer/locale/en-US/portal/308900000001012/content/PROD-2260/Using-flexible-spending-account-FSA-funds-after-terminating-employment-or-going-on-a-leave-of-absence
——————-
It’s a negotiation
https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2023/03/02/work-advice-if-youre-laid-off-dont-leave-your-fsa-funds-behind/

Juanita and Maude Dinner

Megan and I went to Juanita and Maude, a fancy “American Contemporary” restaurant in Albany a few weeks ago. The entire experience was amazing! The drinks were fun, service fantastic, and the food was a miracle.

We had a sweet potato appetizer that was a surprise hit! Every mouthful had a blast of creaminess, roasted vegetable, and herbs. I ordered grilled cauliflower & eggplant biryani (with saffron basmati / caramelized onion / green chili / raisin & cashew / cardamom yogurt) The thing that blew me away was that each cauliflower floret had all the spice and flavor despite not being drenched in spices! They had apparently infused the oil with all the flavor and drizzled that about. Megan’s mushroom risotto was… glassy?! It was literally translucent and… oh, I can’t describe it, it was amazing!

What a fantastic night out with my wife!

 

Oakland Zoo

We went to the Oakland Zoo last week and had a great time! The building at the top of the gondola was built by Doppelmayr, the ski-lift company. Every bit of it, from the sound of the machines to the roof angles, reminds me of skiing in my younger days!

Avengers: Endgame

I rewatched Avengers Endgame. When I first watched it in the theaters, I thought it was fun and my buddy really didn’t like it. I rewatched it recently and, yeah, while it’s easy to get wrapped up in all the fights and explosions, it’s got lots of holes and incomplete, messy writing. Since they had total freedom to do ANYTHING, like kill off any characters, break timelines and such, it could have been so much better.
Darn, I thought I was going to be treating myself to the pinnacle of the Avengers series and instead I kept grumbling “Ugh, another sloppy bit?”

Megan’s New e-Bike!

Megan got an eBike last month and she’s loving it! Here’s some pix and such.

2023 Tern Quick Haul D8 Cargo Bike
Color: Tabasco (Orange) /Silver
Serial: LM22T50301
Manufacturer’s service tag: THR3D008
Vehicle type: Cargo Bike (rear Storage)
Manufacturer: Tern
Model: Quick Haul D8
Year: 2023
Primary colors: Orange
Seat tube length: 18in
Wheel diameter: 20in
Frame Material: Aluminum

DISTINGUISHING FEATURES: Orange with silver trim e-bike with cargo space/captain’s chair on back, stirrups and handlebar for rear rider. Front and rear fenders. Abus folding lock on downtube.

She got a captain’s chair in the back so Abigail could ride along.
400Wh battery
250 watt motor
Max speed assist: 20/28 mph (depending on whether it’s configured to be a Class 1 or Class 3 pedal assist bike. I think it’s a Class 1)
Ebike weight: 45 lbs
Max rider weight: 265 lbs
Max weight on rear rack: 110 lbs
Max gross vehicle weight: 330 lbs

Warranty: 10 years on frame, handleposts, forks. 1 year on Tern or Biologic parts

We registered at BikeIndex.org and Project529.com in case it was ever stolen.

Don’t Forget To Archive Your Old Content

This is just a reminder that while content on the internet feels forever, it isn’t.

I just noticed an email I got from Blogger.com saying

Hi Lee,

This email address has a legacy Blogger account associated with it that hasn’t logged in since 2007. In 60 days it will lose access to the account and associated content; the data will be permanently deleted unless migrated to the Google Account system at Legacy migration page.

I noticed the email today but I received it about 4 months ago. Oop! Whatever was there is gone! No sweat, I didn’t have anything valuable there… I don’t think.

 

Police and Crime in SF

There has been all kinds of news about how the “defund the police” movement and “don’t stop shoplifters” laws is killing downtown San Francisco. Here is a more clear take, illuminated by cold, hard numbers.

San Francisco police apparently started a work slow-down in 2020 and haven’t started again. Here is a chart of traffic citations issued:

(source: SFGov.org)
San Francisco has talked about changing police budgeting (“defund the police”) but is hasn’t happened (1). Similarly, no shoplifting laws have changed in California despite talk about doing so (2).

Why have they done this? There is much speculation, all of it centering around politics and money.

Read more at JWZ.org

Seen at the Library

Saw this at the El Cerrito Library! I observed a few patrons see the sign and call into the slot. Heidi, the supervisor was called over and shown the sign; she laughed and said with dismay that it was her responsibility to remove it.

Why Does Everyone Gets Email Newsletters Wrong

Why Does Everyone Gets Email Newsletters Wrong?

In the vast majority of cases, my only options for signing up for a mailing list are:

  • Every day, sometimes twice a day, sucka’!
  • Unsubscribe

That is stupid. I like you. I want to be reminded of your services! But why the hell would I want twice-a-day reminders for a service I use twice a year? Give me the option of getting weekly or quarterly reminders!

 

 

Voting in the Primary Election

Just a quick reminder: Only Republicans can vote in the Republican Presidential Primary. Switching party preference takes 5 minutes in California: https://registertovote.ca.gov/ . Moreso, ALL of the California electoral votes go to one candidate!
Tell a friend.