Convoluted FSA Accounts

TJT

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At my work I have an FSA account for transport. I mostly use this for tax advantages but since the Rona I haven't been able to spend any of it. We switched carriers from last year to another bank called Discovery Benefits(no relation to the CC company).

Approaching the half-year mark I realized I had a bit of money in there and I want to buy a bunch of rail commuter passes since they don't expire and I don't want the money to just poof at the end of the year where I get no use out of it.

However, when I tried to purchase rail passes these shitheads told me it was an invalid merchant and I'd have to go to their office to buy them in person. Supposedly. I haven't went down there yet to try this because it's quite far away and I don't actually need to use the rail but I want to hoard them.

Then I noticed that this place doesn't even have a reimbursement system. You absolutely have to purchase anything with their benefit visa card. This thing hasn't worked at parking locations or anything so I have no idea where it is supposed to function.

What is the right recourse here? I'll try going all the fucking way downtown to buy in person but since I am positive the point of purchase will be the same that it will be denied.

Anyone experience bullshit like this? Seems more than likely that they make this difficult so you can't spend your FSA easily.
 
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Sanrith Descartes

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I havr never used FSAs for anything other than healthcare. I didnt know there was such a thing for travel? You can get a tax break on travel expenses ?
 

TJT

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I havr never used FSAs for anything other than healthcare. I didnt know there was such a thing for travel? You can get a tax break on travel expenses ?
Sure can. It's called Transportation FSA, I have one in addition to my HSA. Cap is $1k a year but if you're going to spend $1k on commute/parking anyway it's free tax reduction.
 

fred sanford

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Sure can. It's called Transportation FSA, I have one in addition to my HSA. Cap is $1k a year but if you're going to spend $1k on commute/parking anyway it's free tax reduction.
Adding on to that, we have a daycare FSA. I can use it for daycare or after school care. $5k/yr max.
 
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Furry

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I can burn my fsa up pretty easy on health care. Get a dentist with a free whitening punchcard system if you have trouble reaching it the normal way. Wish I could do HSAs, but I've imploded a hyuge sum of other people's money on medical care with very little out of pocket, so not having one was the right choice for me.
 

Poster

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I havr never used FSAs for anything other than healthcare. I didnt know there was such a thing for travel? You can get a tax break on travel expenses ?
You live in the tri-state area right? I've had Wageworks at both of my employers here. I get my unlimited monthly (or any other kind of) metrocard with pre-tax dollars.

Other people in office get parking/LIRR/NJT/bus pass etc. I think, same deal, pre tax $$ up to a certain amount per month.
 

Sanrith Descartes

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You live in the tri-state area right? I've had Wageworks at both of my employers here. I get my unlimited monthly (or any other kind of) metrocard with pre-tax dollars.

Other people in office get parking/LIRR/NJT/bus pass etc. I think, same deal, pre tax $$ up to a certain amount per month.
Thanks. I'll check into it.
 

Hoss

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I didn't know they had them for non medical expenses either. I had similar troubles the last time I had a medical HSA. It was complete bullshit. First they decided my allergy treatments weren't acceptable (from a real ENT, not some quack with needles). Then they decided the dentist wasn't acceptable. I fought with them for most of the year. Every time I contacted them, they'd give me a bullshit non answer and close the ticket. At some point they suspended my card until I repaid them for the dentist charges that went through early in the year. They gave me at least a half dozen stories about why the dentist wasn't allowed ... 'it looked like a financial transaction' was my favorite. They wouldn't explain WTF that even meant.

Anyway, long about november I finally wrote them a fucking check, got my funds unfrozen and spent over $1k on the only thing that they were allowing. Eyeglasses. At least I was able to buy some for the family.

The FSA company in my case was conexis. I complained loudly and often to HR and my company executives. They never helped me, but at least they fired conexis the following year. The only help I got was "well you need to send them proof this is a legitimate expense". And I was like, "I did and they rejected it with no explanation. I can give it to you if you want to try"

I'm still fucking pissed about that shit. The moral of the story is ... you're getting fucked no matter what because no one will help you. So take you pick. Get fucked dry or lube yourself up.
 

fred sanford

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I'm pretty surprised at these rejection stories. So far I've yet to have my HSA get declined at a doctor's office or hear back from the HSA that they declined a charge after the fact.

I'm not sure if my HSA is just really good or very relaxed. Even if I make a claim after the fact like for something my wife did and forgot to use the card for. I use an app on my phone and just type in a number and they reimburse me. It doesn't even ask me for what it was for.
 

Captain Suave

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My HSA (Blue Shield) has literally zero verification. When I want money I just ask for bulk reimbursement and they wire it to my bank. I've never used the card once in 15 years.

Even though I use a dependent care FSA, the rules around them still baffle me. Why can they not return unused funds at the end of the year and have you treat them as taxable income? The "use it or lose it" restriction really seems like sanctioned theft.


Wish I could do HSAs, but I've imploded a hyuge sum of other people's money on medical care with very little out of pocket, so not having one was the right choice for me.
Not saying you're wrong, but I've done the math out on HSA vs standard plans pretty exhaustively, and for the plans available to me the HDHP/HSA is categorically cheaper regardless of your level of spending (and it's even more favorable at high spend levels due to lower coinsurance rates). And that math doesn't even take into account the investment returns from unspent contributions.
 
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fred sanford

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Even though I use a dependent care FSA, the rules around them still baffle me. Why can they not return unused funds at the end of the year and have you treat them as taxable income? The "use it or lose it" restriction really seems like sanctioned theft.
It would be nice if they did that. Every year at sign up I just calculate daycare/aftercare costs for the next year and make sure they go over whatever I put on for my childcare FSA