3 Ways to Reduce Anxiety this Open Enrollment

Blog - OE stress reduction

Practical advice for the everyday worker

Open Enrollment only comes once year, and making decisions that will impact your bottom line for the next 12 months can be overwhelming and daunting.  Where to start?  What to do?  According to a research survey conducted by Unum, nearly half of all U.S. workers spend only 30 minutes or less reviewing their benefits prior to enrolling in plans for the next year.  That’s barely 30 minutes spent on making decisions that could affect you – and your dependents – for an entire year.

So, what can you do about it?

For starters, take a moment to come up with a game plan.  Commit to setting aside some time to review your Open Enrollment options, like after dinner or whenever you have some time away from other responsibilities and distractions.  If you’re married, involve your partner in reviewing your options.  Sometimes even reiterating your choices and verbalizing them to someone else can help you in the decision making process.  Reviewing your benefits can definitely be intimidating, but if you tackle each option piece by piece, it won’t seem as scary.  Cross off each plan as you review it, and count that towards your goal of completing a thorough review.  Benefits may not seem especially exciting, but they’re really important and worth investment of your time.  Often, they can help you and your family when you need it most.

With so many names, clauses and terminology, it can be easy to get confused by industry jargon.  If you’re unsure about what something is or what exactly it means – ask.  Know what you’re signing up for and don’t have buyer’s remorse.  Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to tackling important decisions that affect your hard earned money, so make sure you know what something is before you enroll in it.  Reach out to your HR or benefits department for assistance in clarifying a benefit. You can also go directly to your benefit provider or carrier for clarification.  Many companies have easily accessible toll-free numbers and websites that are full of helpful information.

When reviewing your benefits, it’s important to calculate what you’ll spend on each benefit, such as on your health insurance.  Calculating your total out-of-pocket costs will help you get a better sense of how much will be deducted from your paycheck every pay period so there’s no surprises when your plan year starts.  Equally important is calculating how much money some programs can save you when you sign up, like when you enroll in a Flexible Spending Account.  Pre-tax plans, like a Flexible Spending Account, are a great tool to help you save money on expenses you anticipate on having in the coming year.

Whether you’re an Open Enrollment pro or enrolling for the first time at a new job, take a few extra minutes to read through the benefits your employer offers.  It’s time well spent on important decisions.  Your future self will thank you!

Your Guide to Submitting a Dependent Day Care FSA Claim

DCA Claims

Here is everything you need to know to successfully submit a Dependent Day Care FSA claim for approval.

The following items must be provided with your claim submission:
  1. Completed claim form with employee signature
  2. Invoice/receipt from service provider* (see below)
  3. If an invoice/receipt from your provider is unavailable or does not include all the information below, ask your provider to sign your claim form in the provider signature box. The provider-signed claim form will be accepted in lieu of an invoice/receipt. To access your claim form, log into your P&A Group My Benefits account here and select Claim Form under Quick Links.
*Itemized invoice/receipt from your service provider must include:
  • Service start/end dates
  • Provider name
  • Service description
  • Amount

Choose from one of three ways to submit a claim to P&A Group.

How to Submit a Claim

Option 1: Upload a claim and receipt by logging into your account at www.padmin.com.  Select Upload Claim/Documentation under Member Tools and follow the prompts on your screen.

Option 2: Use P&A Group’s mobile site to upload a claim and receipt through QuikClaim. Go to www.padmin.com on your mobile device.

Option 3: Log into your account at www.padmin.com and complete a claim form (located under Forms).  Once completed, fax or mail it to P&A Group, along with a copy of your invoice/receipt.

Important Reminder: your receipt MUST include the service provider start and end dates.


Sample Eligible Expenses

  • Nursery schools, day care centers
  • Summer day camps
  • Before and after school care
  • Day care centers
  • Senior day care

Sample Ineligible Expenses

  • Overnight camps
  • Nursing homes
  • Late payment fees
  • Expenses incurred for purpose other than allowing you (or your spouse) to work.

How to Get Reimbursed

The fastest and easiest way to receive your money is by signing up for direct deposit!  When you enroll in direct deposit, your funds are automatically deposited into your checking or savings account.  Sign up for direct deposit right online by logging into your P&A Group Account.  Select Direct Deposit under Quick Links.

If you don’t sign up for direct deposit, you will receive a reimbursement check at your home mailing address.


New Year, Healthier You? (Surprisingly eligible FSA items to help with your New Year goals)

Female fitness flat lay, sneakers, dumbbells, notebook planner on blue background, healthy sports lifestyle New Year resolution

With the first month of the new year almost behind us, how are you doing?  Have you stayed on track with your 2018 goals and promises to yourself, or have you veered off path, maybe even refrained altogether from making any #goals?

Whether you’re on the “new year, new you” bandwagon or not, FSA Store offers thousands of discounted products that can help you stay on track for a healthy 2018 – and get the most out of your Health FSA.

Here are five cool FSA eligible gadgets and products.

  1. Qardio Arm wireless blood pressure monitor
  2. acuPressure foot mat
  3. Quell sports electrodes
  4. KT tape recovery and patch
  5. Nice stretch total solution plantar fasciitis relief kit

Browse more items at FSA Store.

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.” – Abraham Lincoln

School’s Out for Summer: Save on Summer Daycare with Your FSA

Summer day care blog post graphic (1)

Summer is in the air (finally!) and many families are settling into new routines, enjoying the perks of summer vacations carefully planned around work schedules and other commitments.  It’s a busy time of year for many, especially for working parents who have to worry about child care while school’s not in session.

Luckily, there’s some financial relief available on summer childcare costs through Dependent Daycare Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs).   This kind of pre-tax advantage gives you an average of 30% savings on eligible dependent daycare expenses.  Here’s how it works.  When you enroll in a Dependent Care FSA, you choose to contribute a certain dollar amount – pre-tax – into this special designated account.  That total dollar amount is divided by the nuber of pay periods you have in a year, and that amount is deducted from your paycheck, pre-tax, every pay period.  Because you are using pre-tax dollars – money before taxes are deducted – you save approximately 30% when you use this account.  With the high costs of day care, a 30% savings can make a huge impact on your budget.

If you have a child or dependent who attends a summer day camp take advantage of the savings an FSA offers and use this account to pay for those summer day care expenses – as long as they’re under age 13, per IRS rules.  (Overnight camps are not an eligible expense, so the Dependent Care FSA is unable to reimburse for it.)  You can also use this account to pay for other qualifying day care expenses, like nursery schools, adult day care or eldercare for your dependent parents, and day care centers.

Participants in the Dependent Daycare FSA need to enroll in the account during their employer’s Open Enrollment period (check with your HR department to see when yours may be), unless they experience an event that allows them to enroll mid-plan year, like a change in work schedule or moving.  IRS guidelines impose a maximum contribution amount of $5,000 for this account.

Already enrolled in a Dependent Daycare FSA?  Make sure you use your account by the end of the plan year.  An IRS rule known as Use or Lose does not allow Dependent Care funds to rollover from year to year, so be diligent in spending your account balance by the end of the plan year.  Your plan may offer a grace period, which allows you to use leftover funds on eligible expenses during the first 2 ½ months of the following plan year.  Check with your employer to see if your plan has this provision in place.

Whether you’re a first time participant, or a regular FSA account holder, the tax savings you receive with an FSA can be pretty significant – and it gives you the chance to put more money in your pocket!


Do you participate in a Health FSA, too?  Consider stocking up on essential summer care products at FSA Store, an online provider of exclusive pre-approved, discounted FSA eligible expenses.  Experience great savings on sun care, first aid kits and more.

Coming Soon: P&A Benefits Card To Be Accepted at uberPOOL, Lyft Line & Via

Personal perspective view of hand holding phone ordering Uber ride

P&A Group’s Benefits Card vendor, Alegeus, has just announced that uberPOOL, Lyft Line & Via fare can be paid for with the P&A issued Benefits Card.  This new feature will provide greater convenience for commuter participants in the pre-tax Transit program!  Previously, these fares were not authorized with the Benefits Card and therefore unable to be used under the Section 132 Transit program. Paying for uberPOOL, Lyft Line and Via fare with the Benefits Cards is currently restricted to cities who are eligible to leverage these services.  The following cities currently leverage these services:

uberPOOL

Atlanta, GA

Boston, MA

Chicago, IL

Denver, CO

Las Vegas, NV

Los Angeles, CA

Miami, FL

New York, NY

Philadelphia, PA

San Diego, CA

San Francisco, CA

Seattle, WA

State of New Jersey

Washington DC

Lyft Line

Boston, MA

Miami, FL

New York, NY

Seattle, WA

Via

Chicago, IL

New York, NY

Washington DC

This list is constantly growing, so please check the Uber, Lyft and Via websites for updates.  We look forward to working with our client and broker partners in adding this feature to eligible Transit Plans.

Top 5 Resources for Your FSA Open Enrollment

 

 

workspace with computer, pen, pencil and cup of coffeeOpen Enrollment is here and well underway for many companies.  Making important benefit decisions for you and your family can be critical, and we want you to know about the free FSA tools available to help you.  Before you enroll in your P&A Group Flex Spending Account (FSA), take advantage of these resources which include everything from explaining the plan and tax savings opportunities, to helping you determine how much to contribute and what expenses are eligible.  We’ve identified the top five P&A FSA resources for participants.

  1. FSA Calculator – This interactive calculator lets you determine the estimated savings you’ll receive when you sign up for the FSA. Calculate your anticipated expenses and see how much you’ll save by enrolling.  Access the calculator under the Tools & Resources page or when you log into your P&A My Benefits Account.
  1. Penny Panda Videos – Penny Panda, P&A’s newest spokesperson for everything FSA related, offers a series of short educational videos that guide you through what you need to know about the FSA plan, how to log into your account and more. Check out Penny Panda on our Tools & Resource page.
  1. FSA Store – Shop online for exclusive pre-approved eligible FSA expenses through our vendor partner FSA Store, which offers an extensive eligible expense list of products and services. Plus, you also get $10 off your first order and free shipping on orders over $50.  Visit FSA Store today!
  1. FSA Glossary – There’s an abundance of acronyms and industry specific terms when it comes to your healthcare benefits. Unsure of what a specific FSA term or definition means?  See P&A’s FSA Glossary for help.
  1. Team of Customer Service & Benefit Professionals – Customer service simply cannot be replaced with technology, which is why we have a team of professionals ready to assist you with any questions about your P&A plans. You can also choose how you want to communicate – give our team a call, use online webchat or send us in e-mail through Contact Us.  Extended customer service hours are Monday – Friday, 8:30 am – 10:00 pm ET.