It’s Open Season: Consider a FSA

Federal Benefits Open Season kicked-off this week. In addition to reviewing your options for FEHBP coverage—now’s your chance to enroll in a flexible spending account (FSA).

What is a health care FSA? It’s a pre-tax benefit account used to pay for medical, dental and vision care expenses not covered by your health care plan. Because the money in this account is  set aside from your paycheck—before it is taxed—your overall income taxes can be substantially reduced. Until 2003, FSAs were only open to private sector organizations. NTEU worked successfully to bring them to the federal workforce.

So what do FSAs cover? In addition to doctor co-pays, think flu shots, contact lenses, sunscreens, first aid products, baby items and a variety of everyday items. lists hundreds of different categories of expenses, including a savings calculator.

Not all items guarantee reimbursement, but many federal employees save thousands of dollars for themselves and their families every year.

As a reminder, dependent care FSA are also available to federal employees. They can be used for preschool, summer day camp, before or after school programs, and child or adult daycare. You can contribute up to $2,500 or $5,000 per year, depending on your tax filing status.

Using an exclusive benefit, NTEU members can shop around and compare health plan costs and coverage during the open season with the Consumers’ Checkbook Guide to Health Plans for Federal Employees on