Thursday, November 09, 2006

FSA = Failing Support Abounds?

Flexible Spending Accounts (aka Section 125 Plans) seem to be struggling, even as their HSA (Health Savings Account) cousins are taking off. Although FSA’s have great market share (a LOT of medium- and large-size employers offer them), not so many folks actually avail themselves of the plans.
Briefly, an FSA allows one to sock money away, pre-tax, for unreimbursed medical and daycare expenses. This can save one a great deal of money (after all, it means that Uncle Sam is paying a third of your medical costs), but there’s a potential down-side, as well: FSA’s are “use it or lose it” propositions, which means that money left unspent is forfeited.
According to a recent study by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, more than 90% of their members offer FSA’s. But, less than 40% of eligible employees actually use them. Even worse, about 7% of the ones who do end up leaving “money on the table.”
Oh, and about a third of the respondents said that their company also offered some type of Consumer Driven Health care product, as well. Unfortunately, the study didn’t indicate how many folks chose that option, or how many actually contributed to an HSA.
Maybe next time.
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