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Flexible Spending Accounts

American University's FSA plan provides you with a grace period to spend your FSA contributions. You can be reimbursed for eligible health care and dependent care FSA expenses incurred in a plan year from January 1 through December 31 of the following year. 

2021 FSA Deadline extension due to COVID

  • If you are participating in a health care and/or a dependent care FSA during calendar year 2021, you will have until December 31, 2022 to incur eligible expenses and until January 31, 2023 to submit your expenses for reimbursement.

The regular plan deadlines are applicable for the 2022 calendar year FSA accounts. You have until March 15, 2023 to incur eligible expenses and April 30, 2023 to submit expenses for reimbursement.

Flexible spending accounts

You can set aside money in a flexible spending account (FSA) before taxes are deducted from your pay for certain health and dependent care expenses, lowering your taxable income and increasing your take-home pay.

You may elect to participate in either or both the health care or the dependent care FSA; however, money cannot be transferred between the accounts.

Both FSA benefits are use it or lose it plans. You may not recover money left in either of the accounts after the end of the plan year and grace period.


FSA participation does not continue automatically from year-to-year. You must enroll (or re-enroll) during open enrollment if you wish to participate in the upcoming year.

Cost for participation

Your cost is based on the contribution amounts you elect. In addition to your contribution, you pay a small monthly administrative fee of $1.45.

The annual 2022 flexible spending maximum you may elect is:

  • $2,850 for health care
  • $5,000 for dependent care (or $2,500 if you are married and filing separate tax returns)

The annual 2023 flexible spending maximum you may elect is:

  • $3,050 for health care
  • $5,000 for dependent care (or $2,500 if you are married and filing separate tax returns)

When estimating your dependent care expenses, remember you may not have expenses for weeks of vacation, illness, or other times your dependent receives free care. Please note that dependent care is only for children up to age 13.

You select the amount you want to contribute based on expenses you anticipate through December 31 of the following year. Estimate carefully because you cannot recover money left in the account at the end of the plan year and grace period.

Your contributions are equally divided by the pay periods you have in the calendar year and are deducted before federal income or Social Security taxes are withheld.

2020 and 2021 FSA Deadline Extensions Due to COVID

  • If you have a balance in a 2020 health care and/or dependent care FSA account, you have until December 31, 2021 to incur eligible expenses and until January 31, 2022 to submit your expenses for reimbursement from your FSA account.
  • If you are participating in a health care and/or a dependent care FSA during calendar year 2021, you will have until December 31, 2022 to incur eligible expenses and until January 31, 2023 to submit your expenses for reimbursement. 
  • If you have a balance in your 2020 FSA account(s) and are participating in a flexible spending account in 2021, funds will be drawn from your 2020 balance until it is depleted before drawing from your 2021 balances.

The regular plan deadlines will resume for the 2022 calendar year. The deadlines will be March 15, 2023 to incur eligible expenses and April 30, 2023 to submit expenses for reimbursement.

The IRS requires that all FSA transactions, even those made using a payment card, need to be verified as eligible expenses. While the substantiation process is performed by Optum Financial, you may be required to submit receipts or documentation for your transaction.

Learn more about the substantiation process for FSA transactions.

Participation in an FSA is a plan year commitment. During the year, you cannot change the amount you contribute, start participating, or stop making contributions unless you have a qualifying life event. Generally speaking, you cannot lower your contributions.

You can make an election change in the dependent care flexible spending account, but not the health care flexible spending account, due to a change in the cost of dependent care providers.

The health care flexible spending account helps you pay for medical, dental, and vision expenses that are not covered or fully reimbursed by your other benefit plans, such as copayments, coinsurance amounts, deductibles, and amounts above the benefit maximums.

You may submit reimbursement requests for health care expenses regardless of the balance in your account beginning January 1. You will be reimbursed for the entire amount of the eligible expenses up to your annual contribution amount, even before the full contribution has been deducted from your paychecks.

For a complete listing of eligible health care flexible spending expenses, visit

The health care FSA is for eligible heath care expenses for you and all of the dependents you claim on your federal tax return, not just those dependents covered under a university-sponsored medical plan. You are eligible to enroll in the health care FSA even if you are not in a university medical or dental plan.

FSA Eligible Expenses Under March 2020 CARES Act

The dependent care flexible spending account (FSA) reimburses you for eligible dependent care expenses such as day care and elder care, that enable you (and your spouse, if you are married) to work.

If your account currently does not hold sufficient funds to cover the entire reimbursement, you receive a partial payment. Additional reimbursements are issued automatically after contributions from your next paycheck have been added to the account.

Special rules apply to spouses who are full-time students or incapable of self-care. Expenses reimbursed under this plan may not be claimed as a federal tax credit on your tax return. Contact your tax advisor for additional guidance.

For a full listing of eligible dependent care flexible spending expenses, visit

FSA participants automatically receive a payment card that allows direct access to FSA funds for eligible health care expenses. You can use the card when you make eligible health care purchases from most merchants who accept credit or debit cards. Because the card deducts funds directly from your FSA account to pay for services and supplies, it eliminates the wait for reimbursement. The card is offered at no additional charge to you and is not tied to or reported against your credit report.

There are a few rules to know about using your card that will save you time and frustration. Here are some tips:

  • When you incur an eligible expense, you may use your FSA payment card to pay the provider right away.
  • If you paid with the payment card, be sure to keep copies of all claims and receipts for seven years, as you do with all tax records. Optum Financial or the IRS may request the receipts to audit your account. If Optum Financial requests documentation and it is not provided on their request, your payment card will be put on hold. 
  • Review the acceptable receipts and documentation requirements.
  • The card works easily with medical office copayments when the charges are standard copayment amounts.
  • Generally, Optum Financial may ask for documentation to support non-standard charges or charges that were not processed through a merchant that has a system that verifies the charge's eligibility.
  • All flexible spending claims must be submitted by the plan year's grace period.
  • If you prefer to pay out-of-pocket and file a claim, visit
  • New participants receive an FSA payment card within a few weeks of enrollment. 

Optum Financial

Customer service: 877-292-4040

ConnectYourCare is now Optum Financial

You may notice changes as they rebrand their digital tools and resources. You will need to re-register with Optum Financial to transition your account from ConnectYourCare to Optum Financial, either at,, or through your mobile app.

  • Contact the same 24/7 customer service team
  • Use the same payment card