COVID-19
View the latest updates and emergency notifications on the COVID-19 News & Information website.
Human Resources Service Center

Health Care Reimbursement Account (HCRA)

Flexible Benefits Plans: HCRA & DCRA Grace Period Extended

As a result of the National Emergency regarding COVID-19, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently issued Notice 2020-29 (PDF), providing relief and guidance to employers sponsoring health flexible spending accounts (“health FSAs”) and dependent care assistance programs (“DCAPs”). In addition, the Departments of Labor and Treasury, and Health and Human Services (the Departments) issued new rules (Disaster Relief Notice 2020-01(opens in new window)) regarding extended deadlines for group health plans, which include health FSAs.

These new provision allow employees to make mid-year enrollment changes without a qualifying event and provide employees with additional time to meet certain HCRA and DCRA plan deadlines.

The final rule requires all group health plans, including HCRA and DCRA plans, to disregard the March 1, 2020 deadline until 60 days after the announced end of the National Emergency (the “Outbreak Period”).

In addition, the plan(s) claims submission deadline for plan year 2019 has been extended (previously June 30th). You will now have 60 days from the date the COVID-19 related National State of Emergency declaration ends to submit claims for expenditures occurring in the 2019 plan year (which includes the 2 ½ month grace period from January 1 through March 15, 2020). These changes are part of the federal government’s response to COVID-19 and National State of Emergency declaration.

For additional information, please contact the Benefits Office at benefits@csuchico.edu or call 530-898-5436.

Plan Summary

The CSU offers eligible employees the opportunity to participate in a Heath Care Reimbursement Account (HCRA), or flexible spending account. A HCRA allows you to set aside a portion of your pay on a pre-tax basis to reimburse yourself for eligible health, dental and vision care expenses for you, your spouse or registered domestic partner and eligible dependents. You may contribute up to $2,700 each plan year through payroll deduction.

New employees may enroll in the plan within 60 days of employment or during open enrollment. All employees except faculty participating in the Faculty Early Retirement Program (FERP) and rehired annuitants may establish a HCRA.

HCRA Guidelines and Information

  • The HCRA is administered by ASIFlex, a third-party administrator. ASIFlex(opens in new window) can be reached at 800-659-3035.
  • Eligible employees must enroll in a plan(s) within 60 calendar days of employment (or re-employment, if there has been a break of service of more than 30 calendar days).
  • You must re-enroll every year during the open enrollment period. Open enrollment occurs annually (date is determined by CalPERS) and is usually in the fall with all changes taking effect on January 1st of the following year.
  • The annual maximum for a HCRA is $2,700; there is a $20 monthly minimum and $225.00 monthly maximum contribution.
  • There is a $1.00 monthly administrative fee.
  • The first deduction is usually taken from the second paycheck following enrollment.
  • Once coverage begins, you will not be able to change your contribution amount unless you have had a “change in status”.
  • Taxable income on an employee’s annual W-2 statement will be reduced by the amount placed in the account.
  • You must estimate your eligible expenses carefully. Any money left in your HCRA will be forfeited.
  • A special-purpose Visa debit card that gives participants an easy, automatic way to pay for eligible expenses is available for a $1.00 monthly fee. See the HCRA Debit Card FAQs (PDF) for information, to request a debit card complete the HCRA FSA Debit Card Request Form (PDF).
  • More information on the HCRA can be found in the CSU HCRA Plan brochure (PDF).

Enrollment Process

  1. Review the CSU HCRA Plan brochure (PDF).
  2. Complete the DCRA/HCRA Enrollment Authorization Form (For 2021 Tax Year) (PDF).
  3. Submit the completed form to the Benefits Unit, Kendall Hall, Room 218.
  4. The Benefits Unit will:
    • Review your enrollment form (incomplete form may delay or prevent benefit coverage).
    • Notify you if additional information or documentation is needed.

To File a Claim

Flexible Spending Account (FSA) Deadlines

FSA claims for services received during the grace period will be automatically applied to any unused funds from the 2019 plan year if submitted by the claims filing deadline.  If the claim exceeds the available funds from the previous year, any excess will be automatically applied to the 2020 plan year.

Important Dates:

  • The deadline to incur expenses during the 2½ month grace period is March 15, 2020 (for participants enrolled through December 31, 2019).
  • The deadline to submit claims incurred from January 1, 2019 to March 15, 2020 using 2019 funds for reimbursement is June 30, 2020.

After all theses deadlines have passed, all unused 2019 HCRA/DCRA account balances will be forfeited, per the IRS "Use-or-Lose" rule.

Helpful Information:

  • Claims may be submitted to ASIFlex through their mobile app, online, by mail or fax.  Information about theses options are available at ASIFlex.com(opens in new window)
  • Eligible expenses for HCRA funds include sunscreen, prescription glasses/sunglasses, or mileage for use of an automobile to obtain health care.  A listing of HCRA eligible items may be reviewed at ASIFlex.com(opens in new window)