2021 FLEXIBLE SPENDING ACCOUNTS (FSA)

 

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FSA SPOTLIGHT

2020 FSA COVID RELIEF
As part of the latest COVID relief bill (the Consolidated Appropriations Act), there were several provisions introduced that impact Flexible Spending Account (FSA) plans.  Click HERE
2021 ANNUAL LIMITS
  • HCFSA - $2,750 per contributor
  • DCFSA - $5,000 per household
SET UP YOUR FSA ACCOUNT
Set up your account with Sentinel and download the mobil ap
  • Go to www.sentinelgroup.com (Chrome and Safari are the recommended browsers)
  • In the "I am an Individual" section, click on GET STARTED
  • From the LOGIN drop down, select "FSA, HSA, HRA, Commuter Accounts"
  • Under NEW USER select "Create your new Username and Password"
  • Enter your personal information
  • In addition, you can also upload the Sentinel Reimbursement Accounts App onto your mobile phone for ease in claim monitoring and claim submission.
IMPORTANT DEADLINES

IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR FSA ACCOUNT

Beginning January 1, 2021, Health Care Flexible Spending Account (HCFSA) and Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (DCFSA) will be administered by Sentinel Benefits & Financial Group (Sentinel).

 WAGEWORKS

    • 12/14/2020 - Was the last day to use the WageWorks debit card or submit FSA claims to WageWorks.
    • Late December - Your remaining WageWorks balances (carryover+any additional) were transferred to Sentinel.
    • You will continue to have indefinite access to this account.
SENTINEL
  • Mid-December, you should have received a set of two new Benny debit cards from Sentinel. Be sure to activate the cards
  • 1/1/2021 - You can begin submitting claims to Sentinel
  • 1/1/2021 - Set up your account with Sentinel and download the mobil ap (see instructions above)
  • 1/1/2021 - Your HCFSA carryover amount of up to $550 will be loaded onto your Benny debit card and will be reflected in your 2021 account balance.
  • 1/1/2021 - Start using your Benny debit card to pay for 2021 incurred expenses.
  • 1/1/2021 - DO NOT use the Benny card to pay for 2020 incurred HCFSA or DCFSA expenses.
  • After 1/1/2021, ALL 2020 incurred FSA expenses must be submitted online, through the mobil app or by paper claim form.
  • Please take a moment to review the "What You Need to Know" section and the brainshark video below:
  • 3/15/20 -DCFSA Grace Period Ends - THIS GRACE PERIOD HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO 12/31/21.  See Grace Period Extention below.
  • 3/31/20 - FSA Runout Period Ends - Last day to submit 2020 incurred HCFSA and DCFSA claims Sentinel.  Please see carry over extention for HCFSA claims and Grace Period extention for DCFSA claims below.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Whether you had an FSA account in 2020 or whether you would like to learn more about them, we encourage you to watch the video below.  If you have trouble accessing the brainshark video, please use the following link: https://www.brainshark.com/sentinelgroup/dartmouth-college

For more information about how your FSA Accounts work, please refer to the UNDERSTANDING YOUR HCFSA BENEFIT and UNDERSTANDING YOUR DCFSA BENEFIT sections below.

 

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Health Care
Flexible Spending Account (HCFSA)

Allows you to use pre-tax dollars to pay eligible health care expenses not covered by your medical or dental plan.

Eligibility

  • All benefits-eligible Faculty, Exempt, Non-Exempt and SEIU employees are eligible to contribute.
  • You may be eligible for a Dartmouth contribution of up to $250 if you:
    • Are Non-Exempt or SEIU; OR are Faculty or Exempt and making $60,000/year or less; AND
    • Select the OAP medical plan OR elect no medical coverage.

Key benefits

  • Set aside guaranteed pre-tax dollars that you can use during the year to pay for eligible medical expenses.
  • The account can be used in conjunction with an HRA to help pay vision and dental expenses, co-pays, and additional deductible and coinsurance amounts not paid by the HRA.
  • You can use your Sentinel Benefits & Financial Group Benny Card to pay for eligible expenses on day one, and even spend leftover HCFSA dollars at thefsastore.com without substantiation.

hcfsa_benny

Annual Contribution Limits

EMPLOYEE CONTRIBUTIONS

  • Individuals may contribute up to $2,750 for the calendar year 2021 (this amount may change upon IRS notification)
  • If you are coming to Dartmouth from another employer where you contributed to a HCFSA account, you ARE allowed to contribute the full limit amount through Dartmouth.

EMPLOYER CONTRIBUTIONS

You may be eligible for a Dartmouth contribution of up to $250 if you:

  • Are Non-Exempt or SEIU; OR are Faculty or Exempt and making $60,000/year or less; AND
  • Select the OAP medical plan OR elect no medical coverage.
  • This amount is prorated based on your date of hire (if newhire/rehire) and your Full Time Equivalency (FTE)

Other considerations

  • Some expenses will require substantiation as you spend. Keep your receipts for any expense that is paid by your HCFSA.
  • There is a $30 minimum to carry over unused HCFSA funds to the following year.  If your balance is below that amount, be sure to spend the balance before the end of the year so that it is not forfeited (Use it or lose it).
  • There is a $550 maximum to carry over unused HCFSA funds to the following year.  If your balance is greater than that amount, be sure to spend the additional balance before the end of the year that it is not forfeited (Use it or lose it)
  • HCFSAs have strict year-end deadlines regulated by the IRS. All funds in excess of the $550 carryover will be forfeited.

hcfsaglance_2021

UNDERSTANDING YOUR HCFSA BENEFIT

Participating in a Health Care Flexible Spending Account is a way of putting money aside tax-free throughout the year, and then using those pre-tax dollars throughout the year to pay for your health care expenses that are not covered by health insurance.

 How the Benefit Works

1. Money comes out of your pay check each pay period, and goes into your HCFSA Account at Sentinel Benefits, reducing the amount of taxes you pay each pay period.

2. The full amount that you elect to contribute for the year plus any money that Dartmouth gives you for the year, is all  front-loaded into your HCFSA Account as of 1/1/20 (as of benefits eligibility date if new to benefits).  This means that the full balance is available for your to start using on day one.

3. If you or an eligible dependent incurs an eligible medical expense that is not covered by your health plan plan, here is how the benefit works:

hcfsaflow_2021

 4. You have the option to:

  • Use the Sentinel Benny card to pay the bill at the time of service
  • Pay out of pocket and submit the paid claim to Sentinel.  Upon substantiation, Sentinel will reimburse you by way of direct deposit or paper check.
  • Or obtain a copy of an unpaid invoice, submit the unpaid claim to Sentinel. Upon substantiation, Sentinel will reimburse you by way of direct deposit or paper check.  You will then have funds available to pay your health care provider. The IRS does not require that you show proof of payment to receive reimbursement.

5. With some carryover exception (see #6 below), all funds in the account MUST be spent on claims that were incurred in the current calendar year, otherwise the remaining balance will be forfeited.

6. Any unclaimed balance remaining in your account at the end of the March 31st run out period:

  • that is less than $30 will be forfeited; or
  • that is greater than $550 will be forfeited; or
  • that is between $30 and $550 (inclusive) will carryover and will be added to your 2021 HCFSA balance for use during the 2021 plan year.
  • DO NOT FORGET TO SUBMIT ALL OF YOUR CLAIMS BY THE MARCH 31st DEADLINE.

7. If you leave Dartmouth, all funds that you have contributed year to date, plus any funds that Dartmouth has contributed on your behalf are yours to spend.  You will have until the last day of the month in which you are employed with Dartmouth to incur/spend the funds in your account, otherwise you may want to consider continuing the benefit under your COBRA rights.  If you do not spend your funds prior to the last day of the month and do not elect to continue the benefit under COBRA, any unused funds will be forfeited.

8. Use this link to watch a video and for help with navigating Sentinel's online employee portal: https://help.sentinelgroup.com/help/navigating-your-online-account

9. You are not required to report contributed or spent HCFSA funds on your annual tax return.

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Dependent Care
Flexible Spending Account (DCFSA)

Allows you to use pre-tax dollars to pay for childcare or care for an elderly or disabled family member.

Eligibility

  • All benefits-eligible Faculty, Exempt, Non-Exempt, and SEIU Employees may contribute.
  • Research Associate Bs and Research Fellows are not eligible to participate in the DCFSA.
  • You may NOT contribute to a DCFSA while you or a spouse are not working (i.e. leave of absence, hiatus, unemployed, etc.)

Key benefits

  • Funds can be used tax-free to pay qualified dependent care expenses, including:
    •      Child care services
    •      Nannies
    •      After school programs
    •      Summer day camps
    •      Adult day centers for aging parents
    •      Nursing care for dependents with handicaps
  • Funds are available as they are deposited.
  • You will receive a Benny Card to use to pay eligible expenses.

  dcfsa_benny

Annual Contribution Limits

EMPLOYEE CONTRIBUTIONS

  • A Married couple filing joint tax return may contribute up to $5,000 per household in 2021.
  • A Single parent filing head of household may contribute up to $5,000 per household in 2021.
  • Married Couple's filing separate tax returns may contribute up to $2,500 each in 2021.
  • Highly compensated individuals making an annual salary over a certain amount, may not be allowed to contribute the full maximum, an audit will conducted prior to January 1st to determine that amount for 2021 and you will be notified if you are impacted by this rule.

Other considerations

  • Qualifying dependents may be defined as children under the age of 13, or a child or relative who is physically or mentally incapable of self-care.
  • If you don't use your Benny Card to pay for qualifying DCFSA expenses, claims can either be submitted online through Sentinals portal or manually by using the claim form.
  • DCFSAs have strict year-end deadlines regulated by the IRS. All funds not used by the end of the grace period of March 15th will be forfeited.

dcfsaglance_2021

UNDERSTANDING YOUR DCFSA BENEFIT

Participating in a Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account is a way of putting money aside tax-free throughout the year, and then using those pre-tax dollars throughout the calendar year to pay for your eligible dependent care expenses.

How the Benefit Works

1. Money comes out of your pay check each pay period, and goes into your DCFSA Account at Sentinel Benefits, reducing the amount of taxes you pay each pay period.

2. Unlike the HCFSA account, the amount that you elect to contribute for the year is NOT front-loaded into your DCFSA Account on 1/1/20 (or as of benefits eligibility date if new to benefits). This means that you cannot receive back more than what you have in your account.

3. If you contribute $400 per month, and have $400 in your account, then submit an invoice for $800, Sentinel will reimburse the $400 in your account, and once you contribute the next $400, Sentinel will automatically pay you the next $400 because it has already been substantiated by the $800 invoice.

4. Here is how the benefit works:

dcfsaflow_2021

NOTE:  Be sure to include a Tax ID number for your day care provider on your substantiation documentation or a Social Security Number when using nannies or individuals. 

4. You have the option to:

  • Use the Sentinel Benny card to pay the bill at the time of service.
  • Pay out of pocket and submit the paid claim to Sentinel. Upon substantiation, Sentinel will reimburse you by way of direct deposit or paper check.
  • Or obtain a copy of an unpaid invoice, submit the unpaid claim to Sentinel. Upon substantiation, Sentinel will reimburse you by way of direct deposit or paper check. You will then have funds available to pay your day care provider. The IRS does not require that you show proof of payment to receive reimbursement.

5. With some grace period exception (see #6 below), all funds in the account MUST be spent on claims that were incurred in the current calendar year, otherwise the remaining balance will be forfeited. NOTE: 2021 allotted funds cannot be used to pay for 2020 incurred claims.

6. You are allotted an extra 2.5 month grace period (until March 15, 2020) into the following calendar year, to spend any remaining balance in your account.  Any unclaimed balance remaining in your account as of March 31st run out period will be forfeited.  DO NOT FORGET TO SUBMIT ALL OF YOUR CLAIMS BY THE MARCH 31st DEADLINE.

7. If you leave Dartmouth, all funds that you have contributed year to date, plus any funds that Dartmouth has contributed on your behalf must be incurred/spent by the last day of the month in which you are employed with Dartmouth, otherwise any unused funds will be forfeited.  This benefit is not eligible for continuation under COBRA, like the HCFSA is.

8. Use this link to watch a video and for help with navigating Sentinel's online employee portal: https://help.sentinelgroup.com/help/navigating-your-online-account

9. You are not required to report contributed or spent DCFSA funds on your annual tax return.

2020 FSA COVID RELIEF

ALLOWING A FULL CARRYOVER OF HCFSA FUNDS FROM 2020 TO 2021.  

This provision allows an additional year to spend down all unused 2020 Health Care Flexible Spending Account (HCFSA) balances.  This means that all 2020 HCFSA balances that were greater than $30 on 12/31/20, can now be used to pay for 2021 incurred expenses.  You will now have until December 31, 2021 to spend your remaining HCFSA 2020 balance. Your Sentinel 2021 HCFSA balance is now reflecting the full 2020 HCFSA carryover amount.

The deadline for submitting 2020 incurred HCFSA expenses has not changed.  Expenses incurred in calendar year 2020 must still be submitted no later than March 31, 2021.  Do not use the Benny debit card to pay for 2020 incurred claims.  It is recommended that 2020 incurred expenses are reimbursed through online, phone app or paper form.  All 2021 incurred HCFSA expenses will need to be submitted to Sentinel by March 31, 2022.

ALLOWING A GRACE PERIOD EXTENSION FOR DCFSA EXPENSES  

This provision allows an extension on the grace period for all 2020 Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (DCFSA) balances. This means that all unused 2020 DCFSA funds can now be used on services incurred in calendar year 2021.  You will have until December 31, 2021 to spend your remaining 2020 DCFSA balance.  The deadline for submitting 2020 incurred DCFSA expenses has changed.  All 2020 and 2021 DCFSA incurred expenses will need to be submitted to Sentinel by March 31, 2022.  Sentinel will use funds from your 2020 DCFSA balance first.  If you have 2020 incurred expenses that you wish to apply toward your remaining 2020 balance, it is recommended that you submit those prior to submitting 2021 incurred expenses.   Do not use the Benny debit card to pay for 2020 incurred DCFSA claims.  It is recommended that 2020 incurred expenses are reimbursed through online, phone app or paper form.

DCFSA Filing Notice: When filing a claim online or via the Sentinel mobile app for services from 2020 or 2021, please be sure to select the 2020 plan year when choosing your “Pay From” option.  This will allow the claim to draw from the 2020 DCFSA balance.

ALLOWING SERVICES FOR DEPENDENTS WHO TURNED AGE 13 IN 2020 or 2021.

This provision allows for 2020 funds to be used on eligible expenses incurred in calendar year 2021, by qualified tax dependents who turned age 13 in calendar year 2020 or 2021. Children age 14 are not eligible.  2021 contributions can only be used for children through age 12.

In order to take advantage of this option, when filing your claim online or through the phone ap, please select the “Adult” claim category and claim type that references 13-year-old child for 2020 rules.