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Flexible spending accounts (FSAs) for individuals

A flexible spending account (FSA) is a great way to pay for eligible expenses using money you set aside before taxes via a payroll deduction with your employer. Because these are pre-tax funds, you keep more of the money you earn.

Use the money in an FSA to cover eligible:

  • Health care expenses, such as out-of-pocket costs
  • Dependent care expenses, such as work-related child care

You decide how much of your pre-tax pay goes into an FSA, up to the limit allowed by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The money comes out of your paycheck through regular, equal payroll deductions.


Then, use your FSA throughout the year to reimburse yourself or help pay for certain eligible expenses.

See which expenses can typically be paid for with FSA funds

Carefully estimate what amount you want to direct to your FSA. Your account balance may not carry over from year to year. If your employer allows a carryover amount (for example, $500), any remaining balance above that amount will be lost at the end of the plan year.

Some employers do not offer carryovers. In this case, you would lose any money in your account at the end of the plan year (or at the end of the grace period).

IRS regulations now state that an employer may offer either a grace period or a carryover, but not both.

There are several ways to use your FSA money without completing any paper claim forms. Log in to your member website, or check with your employer.

Debit cards can now be used as “debit” or “credit.” However, a merchant may ask you to use the card as a debit card. This means you will need a personal identification number (PIN). When your card is activated, it is assigned a PIN. If you would like to change the PIN, please call 1-888-999-0121 (TTY: 711). If your spouse or dependent has a card, it will use the same PIN.

Legal notices

Aetna is the brand name used for products and services provided by one or more of the Aetna group of companies, including Aetna Life Insurance Company and its affiliates (Aetna).

Health benefits and health insurance plans contain exclusions and limitations.

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