Flexible Spending Accounts 2014 Open Season: November 10–December 21, 2014

The 2014 Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) Open Season is scheduled for November 10 through December 21, 2014, 5:00 p.m. Central Time (CT). Eligible career employees who elect to participate in the FSA program must enroll via PostalEASE during this time. Enrollments made during this FSA Open Season are effective for the 2015 plan year — January 1 through December 31, 2015 — plus a grace period that extends until March 15, 2016, for all employees who are still participating as of December 31, 2015. FSA participation ends sooner for participants who separate or have extended leave without pay.

FSAs allow employees to set aside a portion of their pre-tax earnings for certain types of out-of-pocket health care and dependent care expenses. The money withheld for FSAs is not subject to income, Medicare, or Social Security taxes. United Healthcare administers the FSA program for the Postal Service™.

The booklet FSA BK1, Flexible Spending Accounts (November 2014), which is being made available on https://liteblue.usps.gov, provides an overview of FSAs. The booklet is not being mailed to employees this year.

Grace Period Still in Effect

Employees with FSAs — for Health Care, Dependent Care, or both — are able to use any balance remaining in an FSA at the end of the plan year to cover expenses incurred during the 2-½ months following that plan year. For the 2014 plan year, the grace period extends until March 15, 2015. For the 2015 plan year, the grace period will extend until March 15, 2016. With the grace period, employees do not have to schedule services or procure items in an end-of-year rush to avoid losing money in the account. Of course, participants have to spend the previous year’s balance by March 15 or forfeit the money under the use-it-or-lose-it rule.

The grace period is available only to FSA participants who are still enrolled on December 31, 2014 of the plan year. Most FSA participants remain enrolled through December 31, 2014, but an employee who exceeds eight consecutive pay periods of leave without pay or separates from employment before that date (on December 30, 2014, for example) is not eligible for the grace period.

The deadline for filing claims has not changed — the FSA Customer Service Center must receive all claims by September 30, 2015, of the year after the plan year. For full details, refer to FSA BK1, Flexible Spending Accounts (November 2014).

Using PostalEASE to Enroll

To enroll in FSA during open season, employees have four options:

1. Go to https://liteblue.usps.gov and click PostalEASE.

2. Use an employee self-service kiosk and click PostalEASE.

3. Go to http://blue.usps.gov and under “Essential Links,” click PostalEASE.

4. Call the Employee Service Line toll-free at 877-477-3273 and press 1 for PostalEASE.

Publicity Poster

To publicize FSA Open Season, all offices must post the open season notice on bulletin boards through December 21, 2014.

Direct Mailings to Employees

Headquarters Compensation is coordinating FSA Open Season mailings to career employees at their mailing addresses of record. Employees receive mailings that provide an overview of how FSAs work and the advantages they offer. The FSA booklet, the PostalEASE FSA worksheet, and a withdrawal request form are posted on https://liteblue.usps.gov.

Review of Basic FSA Provisions

Eligibility to Participate

Participation in the FSA program is limited to career employees. To enroll, a career employee must have completed at least 26 full pay periods of Postal Service career service during the current appointment by the end of Pay Period (PP) 26-2014 (December 12, 2014). A career employee who is in a leave without pay (LWOP) status that has lasted for eight consecutive full pay periods as of December 12, 2014, is not eligible to participate in the FSA program, unless he or she is returning from uniformed military service.

Election Opportunities — Health Care and Dependent Care FSAs

Eligible career employees may elect to participate in one, or both, of two FSAs — the Health Care FSA and the Dependent Care FSA. Each FSA covers eligible expenses for services that are received during the employee’s period of participation during the 2015 plan year (for most employees this will be January 1, 2015 through March 15, 2016). Annual contributions to the Health Care FSA are limited to $2,500. Annual contributions to the Dependent Care FSA are limited to $5,000 for a family and $2,500 for a married employee filing a separate income tax return. FSA BK1, Flexible Spending Accounts, describes eligible and ineligible expenses and provides guidelines for estimating 2015 expenses.

Reminder: Health care expenses for dependents must be included in the Health Care FSA contribution amount and not in the Dependent Care FSA.

Withholding of FSA Contributions

There are 27 pay periods in 2015 (most years have 26). Therefore, the maximum Health Care FSA contribution per pay period in 2015 is $92.60 (normally it is $96.15). The maximum Dependent Care FSA contribution per pay period in 2015 is $185.19 (normally it is $192.31). The minimum contribution for each FSA is $5.00 per pay period, for a total of $135.00 in 2015 (normally it is $130.00). Contributions for each FSA are withheld in equal amounts through payroll deductions covering 27 pay periods (PP 01-2015 through PP 27-2015).

Qualifying Life Event Enrollment and Elections

Participants may neither cancel enrollments nor change contribution levels during the plan year except following qualifying life events, as explained in FSA BK1, Flexible Spending Accounts. In those cases, HRSSC specialists determine a participant’s eligibility to enroll or to change contribution levels during the plan year and respond to employee inquiries about that eligibility.

Address and Fax Numbers for FSA Claims

Participants should mail or fax Form FSA1, Flexible Spending Account (FSA) Withdrawal Request, directly to the FSA Customer Service Center as explained on Form FSA1, or may file claims online at www.myuhc.com.

Use of 711 for Employees Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

Employees who are deaf or hard of hearing may call the FSA Customer Service Center number, 800-842-2026,
via 711, the Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS).

Open Season Materials

Direct Mailings to Career Employees

Mailings that provide an overview of how FSAs work and the advantages they offer are mailed to each career employee at his or her mailing address of record during the FSA Open Season. Also, the following items are posted on https://liteblue.usps.gov; they are no longer mailed to employees:

n FSA BK1, Flexible Spending Accounts (November 2014), a booklet that explains plan policies and provisions in detail.

n The FSA PostalEASE worksheet.

n FSA1, Flexible Spending Account (FSA) Withdrawal Request (November 2014), a form used to request withdrawal of funds from an FSA for payment of eligible expenses for services received during the period of participation.

Further Information

FSA Customer Service Center Toll-Free Hotline

Employees with questions should call the FSA Customer Service Center’s toll-free hotline at 800-842-2026. After enrolling, participants may use the hotline to do the following:

n Make account inquiries.

n Discuss eligible expenses for payment through the FSA program.

n Obtain other plan information.

Employees who are deaf or hard of hearing may call the FSA Customer Service Center number, 800-842-2026,
via 711, the TRS.

Tax Advice

FSA BK1, Flexible Spending Accounts, provides some tax information. Participants with tax questions not addressed in FSA BK1 should contact their tax advisors or call the IRS toll-free information line at 800-TAX-1040

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