Year-end health care FSA reminders

Any amount over $550 remaining from your 2020 health care FSA will be forfeited, so spend down those dollars now

Oversized packs of pills in a shopping cart


As the end of year approaches, it's important to make sure that you're wrapping up any loose ends you might have with your health care flexible spending account.

Use it or lose it

It's not too late to spend down your health care FSA balance. Remember, any remaining funds over $550 from your 2020 health care FSA will be forfeited.

You can use your FSA to purchase a variety of over-the-counter medications such as those used for pain relief, allergies, colds, flu, and more. Visit the FSA store to shop hundreds of FSA-eligible expenses, from first aid preparedness items to those for self-care.

Health care FSA substantiation

Substantiating your debit card purchases is an important part of being enrolled in the health care flexible spending account. Because your FSA must follow IRS rules, it is important that JHU adheres to the guidelines and collects backup documentation when necessary.

If you are on its health plans, the university tries to eliminate when you need to do this as much as possible by sharing information from your health plan with Discovery Benefits. Most purchases for approved items at the pharmacy or retail store, and for claims processed under the university's health plans, are auto-approved. You will receive an email from Discovery Benefits if you need to submit documentation for other items.

You also can log into your Discovery Benefits account to see whether you have any outstanding claims that require documentation before they can be cleared. Acceptable backup documentation includes an itemized invoice from the provider or your explanation of benefits (EOB) from the insurance carrier. Any supporting documentation must include:

  • Name of patient
  • Name of provider or merchant
  • Date of service received or item purchased
  • Description of service received or item purchased
  • Dollar amount (after insurance, if applicable)

If you have to submit supporting documentation, you can log into your Discovery Benefits account to upload it. To make the process easy, you can save receipts as you incur expenses through your online account or the mobile app.To save a receipt for future submission, snap a picture on your phone, click on "Manage My Expenses," and then upload the photo to submit when requested.

If you don't submit documentation after you have been requested to do so, your debit card will eventually be turned off (about 200 days after the initial charge).

At the end of the plan year run-out period (April 30, 2021), if you still have unsubstantiated purchases, this dollar amount will be added to your wages for 2021 and taxed as ordinary income.