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The Advice Centre

How Health Spending Accounts work

Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Insurance Basics, Insurance made easy

Understanding Health Spending Accounts

A Health Spending Account is an account with a predetermined dollar amount that employees use to pay for eligible medical expenses not covered under either their or their spouse's group benefit plan.

Dollar amounts are determined in advance of the plan year for each year by the plan sponsor. These amounts are credited to your account periodically as directed by your plan. Some plans credit amounts monthly and others credit them once per year.

If you have a Health Spending Account plan the Plan Year Balance page in your Member Profile will show you the balance of your Health Spending Account account.

What can be claimed under my Health Spending Account account?

Claimable items under your Health Spending Account must be recognized as medical expenses under the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Income Tax guidelines. This means any medical expense you can claim on your tax return is an eligible expense under your Health Spending Account plan.

To find information related to claimable medical expenses, go to the CRA website or phone them, toll-free 1 800 959-8281.

How do I submit claims under my Health Spending Account?

Claims are considered by your group plan and the Medical Services Plan of BC before they can be claimed under your Health Spending Account. For most expenses, you will need to submit:

  • Health Spending Account claim form *
  • An explanation of benefits statement if another insurance carrier has considered the claim (such as your spouse's plan)
  • Original paid receipts (photocopies are only accepted if you have submitted the original receipts under another group plan)

*Make sure to answer yes for each expense to the question “Apply unpaid balance to HSA plan?” in the provided column on the claim form. Please see the reverse of the HSA claim form for detailed claiming requirements for each benefit.

Where can I get Health Spending Account claim forms?

Claim forms are available from your plan administrator or can be downloaded from your Member Profile. You can use one form for both your Extended Health Care and Health Spending Account claims.

When is the deadline for submitting my claims?

All Health Spending Account plans have a claiming deadline. This date may be different from your group plan's claiming deadline. You must submit a claim or you run the risk of forfeiting the balance in your account for the year. Refer to your plan booklet or the Plan Year Balance page on your Member Profile to find out your specific claiming deadline.

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