Mercer Marketplace - FSA 101

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You have to make a lot of important decisions during open enrollment. One of these decisions might be whether or not you should participate in a Flexible Spending Account, or FSA. If you’re not familiar with this benefit, you might not be tempted to take advantage of it – but you’d be missing out on big savings!

A Health FSA lets you contribute money from each paycheck pre-tax into an account that can be used to pay for qualified out-of-pocket medical, dental and vision expenses throughout the year.

By contributing pre-tax dollars to your FSA, you lower your taxable income — in other words, you pay fewer taxes and take home more money.

If you’re already participating in a Health Savings Account, or HSA, you won’t be able to contribute to a full Health FSA at the same time, but you can enroll in a Combination FSA to save on qualified dental, vision and preventative care expenses.

A Dependent Care FSA is another great way to save. This account also lets you set aside pre-tax dollars, but these funds are used to pay for day care expenses for children under age 13 or care for a disabled spouse or dependent.

Ready to enroll? There are just a few key things you should know to make sure you’re getting the most out of your FSA.

First, money contributed to an FSA is use it or lose it, meaning any funds left in the account at the end of the plan year are forfeited unless your employer’s plan offers a grace period or carryover, so it’s important to carefully estimate the amount you think you’ll spend annually on out-of-pocket medical expenses before you elect.

Once you have set funds aside in your FSA, using them is easy! You can simply swipe your benefits debit card if you have one, or you can pay for an expense out of pocket and request reimbursement from your FSA later via check or direct deposit.

Just remember that some FSA transactions need to be substantiated – in other words, you need to show that what you paid for was an FSA-eligible expense by submitting a receipt or an Explanation of Benefits. If it’s a recurring expense or a copay expense that matches your employer’s plan, you’ll be able to skip this step. Items purchased at an Inventory Information Approval System merchant, or IIAS, are also auto approved and do not require any documentation. But for everything else, you can easily submit substantiation through your online account, via fax or by using the Mercer Marketplace 365 mobile app. The app is completely free to download and offers an easy and convenient way to manage your benefits on the go!

Making the most of your FSA is easy. But if you do have questions, our Participant Services team is ready to help. Send an email to or call us at 877-248-0510.

An FSA is a great way to save your hard-earned dollars, and with the tools Mercer Marketplace 365 offers, it’s easy, too!