Monday, April 25, 2005

The Annoying FSA

I've made ample use of my employer-given ability to pretax my family's medical expenses through a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) for the past several years. (If you're unfamiliar with FSAs, there's a fine write-up and example use of FSA accounts at

Now, our plan is a bit funky, in that it runs from April through March, rather than January through December. But no matter — the savings are worth it.

For this plan year, however, my employer switched administrators for our FSA plan. The previous administrator, they said, had given several employees a "hard time" when it came to reimbursement of qualifying expenses. Personally, I absolutely adored the service I received from the old provider. Their plan debit card worked like a charm every time. On those occasions when I couldn't use the card and instead had to pay with my own funds and then submit for reimbursement from the FSA, the reimbursement check usually arrived at my mailbox within 8-10 days of my faxing the receipts.

After one month of dealing with The New Guys, I fear for what the future may hold.

April 1 came along, and I was in need of a few prescriptions. We hadn't been issued our FSA debit cards yet, so I had to follow the "pay out-of-pocket / fax receipts / wait for reimbursement" routine.

Monday, April 4: Bought the prescriptions at Wal-Mart pharmacy.
Tuesday, April 5: Faxed the receipts and prescription tags.
Saturday, April 9: Checked FSA account online. Account balance shows debit for amount of presciptions. Status: "Authorized."
Friday, April 15: No check yet. Call FSA adminstrator. Inquire as to status of claim. Interrupted quite rudely by remark that "Sir, reimbursement checks require ten days for processing and authorization." My response, at this point, was probably far too timid.
Monday, April 25: Huh. Still no check.

I should've known there'd be problems when I first logged onto the administrator's web site and had to wait for three Flash sequences to download before I could even select whether I wanted a Flash-enabled site or not. Couple that with the fact that the site offers download of manual-claim reimbursement forms only; nowhere can I find the form for debit-card tranaction validations, save my employee-benefits packet from work.

At this point, my plan is to see what the mail brings tomorrow afternoon. If there's no check, I plan on making a second call to the administrator. I probably will not be as kind and deferential this go-around.

If someone from my employers' corporate office needs to make the call — say, the someone in charge of determining what FSA administrator we use next year — that can most certainly be arranged.


— Posted by Michael @ 11:56 PM


What happened? Did you get any satisfaction?

Anonymous Anonymous
, at 11:50 AM, April 29, 2005  
** Comments Closed on this Post **

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