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Flexible Benefits

(state and higher education employees)


Sept 3: Why to consider enrolling in an FSA
To view the slideshow presentation, CLICK HERE.

May 28: HSA investing made easy
To view the slideshow presentation, CLICK HERE.

April 23: IRS approved expenses – How to find on the website and interpret it
. To view the slideshow presentation, CLICK HERE.

March 31: FSA claim substantiation overview
To view the slideshow presentation, CLICK HERE.

February 26: Getting started with your online account
To view the slideshow presentation, CLICK HERE.


Optum Financial

Use flexible spending accounts to pay for health care and dependent care while saving money on your taxes. An FSA allows you to pay certain expenses from your pre-tax income rather than after-tax income. The maximum amount you can contribute to an FSA is set by the Internal Revenue Service. The limits are subject to change yearly, and your employer may set a lower limit than the maximum allowed by the IRS.

Eligibility: Insurance-eligible state and higher education employees (excludes offline agencies) can enroll in the following FSAs. Part-time employees may not enroll in these benefits.

Optum Financial manages medical, limited purpose, or L-FSA, and dependent care FSA, or DC-FSA, programs. Benefits Administration manages transportation and parking flexible benefits (for state employees only).

Important 2022 medical FSA and L-FSA information: 

As a result of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, and because the State Insurance Committee voted to adopt some of the provisions that the IRS has permitted plan sponsors to choose whether to adopt, changes to flexible benefits are temporarily in effect. Click here for more information. For currently enrolled medical FSA and L-FSA members, temporary provisions allowed by the IRS will allow your entire 2021 medical FSA or L-FSA balance to carry over into your 2022 account (only up to $500 could be carried over in past years). This temporary change will expire after this year (2021). This does not impact the maximum you can contribute in 2022. 

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FSAs offered and contribution amounts

Medical FSA:

Annual limit - $2,750 | Carryover limit - $500

  • Used to pay for certain medical, dental, vision and prescription costs not covered by your insurance. 
  • You do NOT qualify for a medical FSA if you are enrolled in the CDHP/HSA. Up to $500 of your unused FSA balance can be carried over into the next plan year instead of you “losing it.”
  • Your entire election (up to $2,750 in 2022) is available for use at the beginning of the year/or within 3-4 weeks after you enroll.

Limited Purpose FSA: 

Annual limit - $2,750 | Carryover limit - $500

  • May only be used to pay for certain dental and vision costs not covered by insurance. 
  • For employees enrolled in the CDHP/HSA, the L-FSA is a great way to save tax-free on eligible vision and dental expenses while continuing to grow your HSA balance.
  • Your entire election (up to $2,750 in 2022) is available for use at the beginning of the year/or within 3-4 weeks after you enroll.

Important! You cannot enroll in both a medical FSA and L-FSA in the same year. 

Debit Card: Medical FSA and L-FSA members get a debit card to use their funds at the pharmacy or provider’s office (not applicable to DC-FSA). Per IRS rules, Optum Financial may need you to verify some debit card purchases by providing your explanation of benefits/claims document. Make sure to respond or your debit card may be suspended and any unsubstantiated claims may be reported to your employer for inclusion on your W2 or turned over to a collection agency. If your debit card is suspended, you will still have access to your flexible account funds but will need to file paper claims, fax them or upload them  on the Optum Financial website or app.

Dependent Care FSA:

Annual limit - $5,000 per household (up to $2,500 per spouse for married couples filing separately) | No carryover amount allowed

  • Used to pay for certain dependent-care costs, such as after school care, baby-sitting fees, adult or child daycare and preschool. Certain requirements must be met by the eligible employee and/or his or her spouse. For details, review the governing Plan Document located on the Publications page.

Availability of Funds: 

  • Employees who enroll in a medical FSA or L-FSA during annual enrollment will have their full election amount available to them upfront during the first week of January, or within approximately 3-4 weeks after they enroll. 
    • For example, with a medical FSA, if you contribute $500 per year, you’ll have access to those funds 3-4 weeks after you enroll. Then you’ll pay the funds back with money evenly deducted from your paychecks.
  • DC-FSA funds are only available as they are taken from your paycheck; your full election amount is not available up front. Also, you can only file claims for dependent care if you have a sufficient amount in your account to pay for them. You may not file claims for a future date.

Transportation and Parking: 

(state employees only)

Maximum contribution amount to the transportation FSA and/or the parking FSA is $270 per month.

  • Used to pay for certain work-related commuting and/or parking expenses.
  • Cannot be used for fuel, oil changes, car repairs or similar vehicle servicing.

State employees who have a transportation/parking FSA must submit current year claims by April 30 of the following year. Claims submitted after that date will be denied. However, you will not lose your funds if you continue to be enrolled. You will only lose funds if you do not spend them or are no longer enrolled in a transportation/parking FSA. 

Click here for an HSA/FSA grid that shows details about contributions, tax benefits and how you can use your funds for 2021.

Click here for an HSA/FSA grid that shows details about contributions, tax benefits and how you can use your funds for 2022.


State employees: Put money in an FSA in Edison.

  • Medical, L-FSA or DC-FSA: Choose how much money you’ll put in your FSA during the annual enrollment period (unless you have a special qualifying event) or during your enrollment period. Enrollment does not continue from year-to-year, so you will have to reenroll each year during annual enrollment. Enter your annual contribution in Edison. The system will calculate the amount to take out of each check based on the number of paychecks you receive each year.
  • Transportation and parking (state employees only): Enroll in Edison during annual enrollment, during your enrollment period, or you can submit a paper form at any time. If currently enrolled, you do not have to reenroll. To make changes outside of annual enrollment, you would submit a  paper form
  • Higher education employees: For assistance, see your agency benefits coordinator.
  • State employees: If you are enrolled in an FSA, you can check your paystubs regularly to make sure you are enrolled in the FSA you want, and that the correct amount is being taken from each paycheck. If you think your enrollment is incorrect (for example, you are enrolled in a transportation/parking FSA, but meant to enroll in a medical FSA), you have until March 30 of the current flexible benefits plan year to contact your agency benefits coordinator for research and resolution, or within 90 days of your flexible benefits effective date, whichever comes first. You must provide documentation in writing to Benefits Administration upon request. After those 90 days, your enrollment is set for the year and you may not change or cancel your FSA enrollment unless you have a special qualifying event as defined by IRS rules. The exception is transportation/parking FSAs; employees may change their contribution amount or cancel/start enrollment throughout the plan year.

CDHP enrollment

If you are enrolled in a CDHP/HSA, you and your enrolled spouse cannot use an FSA for medical expenses. You can have an L-FSA to use for dental and vision expenses. You should consider contributing the maximum allowed to your HSA before contributing to your L-FSA because HSA dollars are not "use-it-or-lose-it" like a FSA.

Optum Financial debit cards

  • Medical FSA and L-FSA members will get a debit card to use their funds at the pharmacy and provider's office, making it quick and easy to pay your deductible, copays and coinsurance.
  • Optum Financial will send all newly enrolled medical FSA and L- FSA participants a debit card. New hires and those newly enrolled will receive a debit card within 3-4 weeks of enrollment. You may order additional debit cards for your dependents (cost may apply) by logging into your account at > Click on your account type on the left side of the screen on the words “Account Overview” >  I want to >  Manage Debit Cards > Request Replacement -OR- you may call customer care 24/7 at 866-600-4984 to order a debit card.
  • You can use your debit card at pharmacies, doctor’s offices and other health care facilities to pay from your account.
  • If you enroll in the CDHP/HSA and a L-FSA, the same debit card will work for both accounts. Optum Financial will take any dental or vision expenses from your L-FSA “purse” on the debit card before using any of your HSA funds. This allows your HSA funds to continue to grow.
  • If you currently have a HSA with a debit card and plan to enroll in a L-FSA, you will use the same debit card for both your HSA and L-FSA eligible purchases.
  • Dependent care (DC-FSA) and transportation and parking FSA par­ticipants will not use a debit card.

You should keep all health, dental and vision insurance explanations of benefits, or EOBs, when using the debit card to pay for eligible health care expenses. Optum Financial may contact you later and request them. If you don’t respond to requests from Optum Financial to provide documentation for a debit card purchase, your card may be deactivated and the expense reported to your employer for inclusion on your W2 as a taxable expense or turned over to a collection agency.

Optum Financial accounts

If you enrolled in a medical FSA or L-FSA, you should go online at to create an account and register your new debit card to pay many of your medical expenses that are not already covered by insurance. After creating your account, you can review your claims activity, upload documentation, provide claims substantiation (if requested), order an additional debit card and see your account balances. 

If you are enrolled in a DC-FSA only, you cannot use a debit card, but you can create an online Optum Financial account to see your DC-FSA account balance, claims and activity.

You can order an additional Optum Bank (Optum Financial) Card, your account debit card, once you log in at New users will need to register first.


Click here for instructions on how to receive reimbursements for claims for your medical, limited purpose, dependent care and transportation and parking. 

Benefits Administration resources

Questions and answers
Quick facts