FAQs About Getting Started with Individual FSAs

If your company offers health insurance and you are eligible to enroll in one of their plans, you are eligible to enroll in an FSA. You do not need to be enrolled in health insurance through your company, you simply need to be eligible to be offered insurance. Though there are exceptions, self-employed employees and shareholders who own 2% or more in an S-CorpLLCLLP, PC, sole proprietorship, or partnerships are generally ineligible for FSAs.

If you already have a health savings account (HSA), or intend to sign up for one, you can only enroll in a Child & Elderly Care FSA. You may not be enrolled in an HSA  and a Health Care FSA at the same time. 

To use the funds from a Child & Elderly Care FSA, you need to be working or currently looking for work, and you likely need to claim your dependent(s) on your federal tax return.

  • If your dependent is a child, they must be 13 years or younger.
  • If your dependent is over 13 years old, they must be physically or mentally unable to care for themselves, and have lived with you for more than half the year.

See the IRS rules for determining whether a person qualifies as a eligible dependent for the purposes of a Child & Elderly Care FSA.

Sure! If you have both health care and child/elderly care expenses, you can contribute to both Health Care and Child & Elderly FSA. During setup, you'll be able to choose separate amounts for each type. However, you can't transfer funds between the two accounts.

Yes! You'll have 30 days from the birth of a child, a death of a family member, or another qualifying life event (QLE) on this list to set up a new FSA. When you do, the plan will have a retroactive start date of the first of the month in which the event occurred.

Keep in mind that if you're expecting a newborn, you need to wait until after the child is born to set up the account. Learn more.

After your plan starts, you can pay for eligible Health Care FSA and/or Child & Elderly Care FSA expenses using your Zenefits Card, or by submitting claims for reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses.

For the latest contribution limits allowed by IRS, please check this Help Center article.

For the latest contribution limits allowed by IRS, please check this Help Center article.

As an employee, the only cost to you is the amount you contribute to your FSA. Your company will pay all setup and account fees.

FSAs let you plan ahead for your out-of-pocket expenses, so the right contribution amount for either FSA type will ultimately depend on how much you expect to spend on eligible expenses.

Here are a few things to consider:

  • If you contribute more, you may increase your tax savings. You can maximize your tax savings if you contribute more. Learn more.
  • Your company may choose to contribute to your FSA(s). If so, you'll be able to see the amount(s) when you set up your plan. Company contributions count towards your annual maximum limit for a Child & Elderly Care FSA, but not towards the limit for a Health Care FSA.
  • FSAs are "use it or lose it" accounts. Any funds you don't spend by the end of the plan year (or when your employment ends) go back to your employer, so don't contribute more than you're sure you will spend.
  • Contribution amounts can't be changed. Once the plan starts, you can only change your contribution amount(s) after a birth, death, change in martial status, or other qualifying life event.

The right choice depends on what kinds of expenses you have:

  • Choose a Health Care FSA to pay for out-of-pocket health care expenses (e.g., doctor copays, prescriptions, deductible expenses, and other FSA eligible expenses) for you, your spouse, or your dependents.
  • Choose a Child & Elderly Care FSA to pay for the care of a child or other dependent (e.g., an aging parent) so that you (and your spouse, if you have one) can work or look for work.

Your deadline to enroll in a FSA is dependent on what type of enrollment is occurring. 

New Company FSA Plan or  FSA Open Enrollment 

When your company sets up a new company FSA plan (initial FSA enrollment) or renews an existing plan (open FSA enrollment), you have until the 25th of the same month to set up your individual FSA to start on the 1st of the following month.

New Hire FSA Enrollment 

When you get hired at a company with an existing FSA plan, you'll need to complete enrollment for your FSA within 30 days from your hire date. Your FSA start date will depend on your hire date. If you do not meet this deadline, you will need to wait until your company's next FSA renewal period or enroll if you experience a Qualifying Life Event.

Qualifying Life Event Enrollments

Employees have 30 days from their Qualifying Life Event to enroll in an FSA. This enrollment will be effective the first of the month following the QLE. Employees must reach out to Customer Care in order to complete this request. 

Like Health Care FSAs, you can start using your Child & Elderly Care FSA on the first day of your plan. However, unlike Health Care FSAs, Child & Elderly Care FSAs are not pre-loaded with the full annual amount. Contributions are added to your Child & Elderly Care FSA only as they're deducted from your paychecks.

You can start using your Health Care FSA on the first day of the plan. The entire annual contribution amount (including employer contributions, if any) is available on that date, and is repaid incrementally through deductions from your paychecks over the remainder of the plan year. However, you can't use your FSA to pay for expenses that occurred prior to the start of your FSA.

FSAs let you set aside some of what you earn each year into an account that's specifically for out-of-pocket health care, child, or elder care expenses, without paying taxes on those dollars. If you have recurring care expenses (e.g., copays, daycare, etc.), or simply a rough estimate of how much you expect to spend on them, an FSA will help you save money.

Learn more about the tax advantages of an individual FSA.

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