Quick Look: The Best FSA Providers
- HSA Bank
- Employee Benefits Corporation
There are several different ways you can manage your healthcare funds, each of which comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. A healthcare flexible spending account, otherwise known as an FSA, is an account and tool that is established by your employer and helps you pay for medical expenses you would typically pay out-of-pocket. This savings account is tax-advantaged and essentially allows you to put money aside for you, your spouse or your dependents.
The Best FSA Providers
There are a number of FSA providers, offering account solutions for employers, brokers and individuals. The following are some of the top FSA providers in the industry, offering an array of options for healthcare flexible spending accounts. Each of the following FSA providers offers a simple user experience and allows for employers to customize FSAs in order to build a program or plan that works best for the type of organization or company.
Elevate set out with a goal to raise the bar for employee benefit offerings, which the company believes is crucial to help employers retain talent at their organization. Through Elevate’s solutions, employers can build a plan with over 200 interchangeable attributes. The FSA provider claims to leverage opportunities for better connectivity with other platforms, mobile, security and better configuration.
Opening an account is fairly simple, and the user-friendly interface makes it easy to manage the account. You can contact Elevate’s sales team through their website by filling out their contact form. You can also create an account and become a member on the website. From there, as an employer, you’re able to create an employee benefits plan that suits your employees. Elevate’s FSAs are typically used by larger employers, but there is no minimum group size.
BAS offers their My Enroll360 to an array of organizations, including public and private companies, not-for-profits and federal agencies. As the manufacturer, implementer and administrator of the MyEnrol360 SaaS solution, they have control over every aspect of the employer experience when developing a comprehensive FSA. The MyEnroll360 provides users with a one-stop-shop for everything from retiree premium billing to ACA healthcare plan compliance document management.
BAS claims an implementation process of one day and they offer a debit card to make reimbursements even easier. Their online portal offers employees access to their FSA balances 24/7, as well as their reimbursement and claims history and materials to keep them updated and educated. BAS supports healthcare FSAs and Dependent Day Care FSAs. BAS claims your solution should be as unique as you and your company are, so they work to tailor a solution for you and your employees by offering a wide range of options.
HSA Bank offers over 20 years of experience in the consumer-directed healthcare industry. HSA Bank provides you with access to multiple types of tax-advantaged accounts that are designed for employers to help them better manage the costs of health insurance, offer better flexibility in benefits packages and promote healthier lifestyles within their workforces.
HSA Bank is both the custodian and the administrator of these accounts, allowing employees to avoid outside custodial relationship changes. Like other FSA account providers, HSA Bank also offers a member portal that allows both employers and employees to access their account information around the clock. As of 2022, HSA Bank has helped more than 3 million users, solidifying the company’s reputation within the industry.
Employee Benefits Corporation
Employee Benefits Corporation prides themselves on being a trusted partner within the healthcare industry. With nationally-recognized compliance experts, they make it easy for clients, brokers and participants to understand and use the benefits of their unique FSA. Employee Benefits Corporation is entirely owned by employees.
This provider offers flexible plan design options, including the ability to have separate fees, contacts and reporting for different divisions within your company. They also offer mid-year takeovers if you’re in the middle of your plan year but are looking to make the change. Participants can pay from their FSA funds directly with a benefits card, or they can use another payment method and submit a reimbursement claim on the mobile app, on the website or through a form.
Payflex’s drive is all about simplicity for the employee and their experience. They pioneered the first platform that combines wellness, eligibility management and benefits financial accounts in one place. Payflex is a third-party administrator and offers a single solution for tax-advantaged savings accounts. Payflex's FSAs offer employees flexibility and make it easy to use their benefits with a Payflex Card.
Payflex offers products and programs that can fit the unique needs of your company. You can contact them online to get in touch with a sales representative. Employees can access their account online. They also offer a tax savings calculator on their website for individuals to calculate how much they can save by signing up for an FSA.
Advantages of an FSA
FSAs are known as a tax-advantaged account, however, taxes are just one area where you might benefit from maintaining an FSA. Whether the advantages outweigh the drawbacks is entirely dependent on you and the company, but the following are the top advantages of an FSA.
- Buy equipment and services tax-free: This advantage is one of the more major ones when it comes to FSAs. The medical equipment and services you get are something you already need to pay for, so an FSA eases these expenses by offering that extra money to pay for healthcare related things tax-free. You no longer need to wait or save up to purchase certain things, you can use the funds in your FSA.
There are hundreds of pieces of equipment and services that are eligible to be paid for by your FSA funds, however, the expenses must be considered eligible in order to be paid for. Medical expenses including coinsurance and deductibles are all eligible, but eligibility goes beyond these expenses to include many over-the-counter items and treatments, such as bandages, pain-relievers and acupuncture.
- Money is contributed pretax: The money contributed to your FSA is taken directly from your paycheck before taxes, which means that that money is not taxed. This lowers the amount of money you have to pay in taxes. Since the money is taken from your income payment, your income lessens, which lessens the amount you pay in taxes.
- Allays fears related to medical costs: Medical costs can be overwhelming at times. Sometimes you may even avoid paying for something due to the cost, even if it could be life-saving. Since you have access to your FSA funds at any time, you can relieve some of those fears of medical costs. This can be beneficial to your well-being and your health overall. You don’t have to worry about how you’re going to pay for something and you can get it checked out and resolved as soon as something happens.
Drawbacks of an FSA
An FSA can be greatly advantageous for you as an employer or as an individual. However, as with all fund accounts, there are drawbacks. You can easily calculate the savings that comes with an FSA, but you also have to account for the possibility of some losses. The following is the main drawback of an FSA.
- Funds don’t roll over: Unlike a typical health savings account, an FSA’s funds don’t roll over into the next year. This means that an FSA is essentially a use it or lose it account. If you don’t use the funds in your FSA by the time the plan year ends, then you forfeit those funds.
Employers are able to elect a feature that allows for more flexibility in when you can use your funds. One feature is the extended grace period, which typically pushes the period during which you can access the funds by about 2 months. The second feature option is the rollover provision which allows funds to be rolled over. These features are optional for the employer to add or not, so it is essentially out of the individual's hands.
Moreover, an FSA puts pressure on the user to exhaust those funds, constantly watching the account to ensure it’s going to be empty by the end of the year. This money can only be used for approved medical expenses, but someone who chooses to save the money on their own can use those funds for other purposes—especially in emergency situations. In short, you must decide if an FSA is right for your situation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is an FSA worth it?
An FSA is worth it if you have somewhat predictable medical expenses. If you know that you spend a certain amount on medical expenses each year, then FSA funds can be beneficial. However, if you are unsure of whether you will spend any of the funds in your FSA due to medical expense unpredictability, then you may not be able to make the most out of your account.
Can I have an FSA with a PPO?
Yes, if your employer allows it, you can have an FSA with a PPO, since an FSA is not an alternate type of health insurance.