Group Insurance Commission – FSA

Group Insurance Commission – FSA

  • GIC COVID-19 Updates

      New IRS Rules for FSA Accounts in Response to COVID-19

      • Participants can make changes to their elections for FY 2021 through August 30, 2020.
      • Participants will have until December 31, 2020 to incur claims from FY 2020. This effectively extends the plans’ current grace period 3.5 months, from September 15 to December 31.
        • The FY2020 claim filing deadline, for claims or purchases with a date of service through December 31, 2020 will be moved from October 15, 2020 to January 31, 2021.

      Many members have expressed concern that their funds may be forfeited due to the closure, cancellation, or delay of elective medical procedures, dental appointments, or summer camps. As a result of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the IRS recently issued revised guidelines for sponsors of employee “cafeteria plans” that offer tax benefits under Section 125 of the federal tax code, including Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA’s). This will allow GIC members who participate in these plans greater flexibility and opportunity to use all or most of the funds withheld during the 2020 Fiscal Year (ending June 30, 2020) and for next year.

      The GIC has worked with its FSA provider, Benefit Strategies, to implement these new guidelines for the benefit of its membership. As we are nearing the end of annual enrollment with these revised guidelines being released, we will allow anyone who has already enrolled the opportunity to adjust their elections for Fiscal Year 2021 through August 30, 2020. If you need to make a change in your FSA elections, increasing, decreasing, or cancelling your payroll contributions, please visit the Benefit Strategies website at and then click on the link for the Enrollment/Change e-form (Available June 2, 2020). As always, if you have already spent or been reimbursed for more money than has been withheld for your HCSA (medical FSA) account, those deductions must continue until your account is made whole.

      You will also have more time to spend your balance from the current Fiscal Year (FY 2020), until December 31, 2020, and you will have until January 31, 2021 to file claims with dates of service from 7/1/2019 – 12/31/2020.

      The GIC and Benefit Strategies have already allowed participants to make reductions to or stop their Dependent Care (DCAP) deductions with a Qualifying Event for the current fiscal year without documentation requirements as a result of the pandemic, as a change in cost or availability of daycare has always been considered a Qualifying Event for these accounts.

      Also, it is important to remember that you may not have a cancellation Effective Date more than 60 days in the past, in keeping with the requirements around Qualifying Events. You may be refunded for deductions withheld after that Effective Date (but only if you have not already been paid out those deductions in claim reimbursements).

      Important Reminders

      • While participants may change their FY 2021 elections through August 30, they are required to make their initial enrollment prior to the June 1 annual enrollment deadline.
      • The maximum payroll contribution amount for DCAP participants ($192.30 for bi-weekly payrolls and $96.15 for weekly) will remain in effect. This prevents participants from accidentally exceeding the IRS maximum contribution limits for either the calendar/tax year or the fiscal/plan year.
      • If you have an unused balance in your FSA account after June 30, you will still be responsible for paying the monthly administrative fee, the employee share of which for FY 2021 has been reduced to $1.00/month.

  • Welcome GIC Members!


    • Hours: Monday – Thursday 8:00AM – 6:00PM, Friday 8:00AM – 5:00PM

    Please use our live chat feature at the bottom of the screen, or see below for the full list of contact options.

    Important Dates to Know

    FY2020 Plan Year: July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020
    2½ Month Grace Period: July 1, 2020 to September 15, 2020
    Claim Filing Deadline: October 15, 2020
    FY2021 Plan Year: July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021
    2½ Month Grace Period: July 1, 2021 to September 15, 2021
    Claim Filing Deadline: October 15, 2021

    • New Hire FSA Enrollment

        Click the button below if you are a new hire looking to enroll in the GIC FSA. This link will take you to an electronic form to complete and submit online.

        2020 Plan Year Enrollment
        For optimal e-Form usage, be sure to use Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. Click Here to download these browsers.

        Requests must be made no later than 10 calendar days from your date of hire. Upon enrollment, your request will be automatically sent to your agency GIC Coordinator.

        If you are a current enrollee who has experienced a status change and is looking to either newly enroll in the GIC FSA programs or make a change to your current election(s), please use the “Change in Status” form located below.

    • Change in Status – Enroll Mid-Year or Make Changes to Existing FSA Accounts

        If you’ve experienced a change in status and you want to either make changes to your FSA or enroll for the first time, please click the button below to complete your change request.

        Status Change Request
        For optimal e-Form usage, be sure to use Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. Click Here to download these browsers.

        Your request must be made no later than 60 calendar days from the date your change occurred. Once you submit your request, it will be automatically sent to your agency GIC Coordinator. Please note, you will still need to provide your coordinator with the appropriate documentation to verify your status change before you can be enrolled or before your election changes can be made.

    • Helpful Resources
    • Spending FSA Money
    • FSA FAQ
        What are the benefits of participating in an FSA?

        Your elections are withdrawn from your pay and placed in your account before federal or state income taxes, or federal payroll tax are applied. Commonwealth of Massachusetts employees save on average $300 for everyone $1,000 contributed in the Health Care Spending Account (HCSA)

        Also, Health Care Spending Account (HCSA) participants have access to their entire election at any point during the plan year. This feature allows you to manage your out-of-pocket costs more effectively since you can draw funds from your Health Care Spending Account (HCSA) when you incur a large expense early in the plan year.

        What expenses are qualified?

        Expenses that diagnose, treat, cure, or mitigate an injury, illness, or condition are qualified for reimbursement through a Health Care Spending Account (HCSA). This definition includes:

        • Health-plan cost-sharing co-pays, co-insurance, and/or deductibles.
        • Some medically necessary items that medical insurance may not cover – like acupuncture, foot orthotics, hearing aids, and batteries
        • Non-cosmetic dental services, including orthodontia
        • Prescription glasses and sunglasses, contact lenses and solution, and vision-correction surgery
        • Over-the-counter equipment and supplies like splints, bandages, and durable medical equipment supplies
        • Over-the-counter drugs and medicine per the new CARES Act

        Qualified Dependent Care FSA expenses include day care; preschool, before- and after-school programs; and summer day camps. You can reimburse these expenses when you and your spouse work or go to school full-time and the family member incurring the expenses is a tax dependent under age 13 or over age 13 and incapable of self-care (for example, a disabled child or a parent who’s a tax dependent who lives with you).

        Whose qualified expenses can I reimburse?

        Health Care Spending Account (HCSA): You can reimburse qualified expenses that you, your spouse, your tax dependents, and your children to age 26 incur. Neither you nor they have to be enrolled on the Group Insurance Commission health insurance for their expenses to qualify for reimbursement from your Health Care Spending Account (HCSA). Note that the list doesn’t include domestic partners or ex-spouses. You can’t reimburse their qualified expenses, even if they’re enrolled on your medical plan or you’re required to pay all or a portion of an ex-spouse’s expenses by a divorce agreement.

        Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP): You can reimburse qualified expenses incurred by a child under age 13, a disabled child over age 13, or another tax-dependent (such as a parent) incapable of self-care. These family members must live with you more than half the year, and you must incur the expenses so that you (and your spouse, if married) can work full-time or attend school full-time.

        Are there limits to how much I can elect in my FSA?

        The IRS maximum election to a Health Care Spending Account (HCSA) can’t exceed $2,750, the GIC’s minimum enrollment is $250 for the Health Care Spending Account (HCSA). The $2,750 figure is indexed for inflation.

        The IRS maximum Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP) election is $5,000 (or $2,500 if married and filing separate tax returns). The $5,000 figure is not indexed for inflation.

        How do I determine how much to elect?

        We provide a simple worksheet to help you calculate our Health Care Spending Account (HCSA) election. Be careful not to contribute more than you expect to spend since you forfeit unused elections.

        You can’t project with precision your future qualified Health Care Spending Account (HCSA) expenses. But if you receive regular care (prescription drugs, counseling, chiropractic visits) or expect to incur some non-regular expenses (inpatient stay, post-surgical physical therapy, vision-correction surgery, restorative dental work), you should make an election sufficient to cover those expenses.

        Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP) participants rarely need to project expenses. The $5,000 federal election limit typically covers only a fraction of their total costs. They typically elect $5,000 and rarely face the risk of forfeiture, since they usually can adjust their elections with a qualifying life event. Be mindful of your child’s 13th birthday during the plan year, as expenses at 13 are not covered.

        What if I need more money during the year?

        Your Health Care Spending Account (HCSA) election limit is $2,750 per employer. If you work more than one job, you may qualify to enroll in more than one Health Care Spending Account (HCSA). If your spouse is eligible for benefits with their employer, they can enroll in their company’s Health Care Spending Account (HCSA). And your children who are benefit-eligible at their place of work can open a Health Care Spending Account (HCSA) to reimburse their qualified expenses. (You can reimburse their expenses as well, as long as they’re your dependent or under age 26.)

        Your Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP) limit is $5,000 per calendar year (weekly maximum of $96.15; biweekly maximum $192.30). If you’re married and file separate tax returns, your election limit is $2,500. You can’t have multiple Dependent Care FSAs in a single year, and you and your spouse can’t elect $5,000 each.

        Can I change my election during the year if I need more or less money?

        To comply with IRS regulations, you may only enroll in either plan, change your contribution, or terminate your election during the Plan Year if you can demonstrate a qualified “change in status.” The following events are considered valid changes in status under IRS regulations:

        • Change in legal marital status
        • Change in number of dependents
        • Change in employment status that affects your eligibility for the program
        • Change in work schedule, which affects your eligibility for the program
        • Dependent satisfies or ceases to satisfy eligibility requirements
        • Judgment, decree or order pertaining to child or spouse

        A “change in status” request can be made by completing the HCSA/DCAP Enrollment/Change in Status e-form available on the Benefit Strategies website. This request must be made no later than 60 days after the status change occurs. The completed online form will be sent to your GIC Benefits Coordinator. You will need to provide your Benefits Coordinator with documentation verifying a change in status, such as a marriage or birth certificate.

        Additional status changes allowed for DCAP

        DCAP participants may be allowed to make a corresponding change in their election due to:

        • Increase or decrease in the fee charged by provider
        • Change in provider resulting in an increased or decreased fee
        • Change in the hours of care needed due to employment change
        • Child reaching limiting age of 13 years old
        • Child starting or stopping school that changes the number of hours for which care is needed

        Note: Changes by a provider who is your relative are not considered a permissible status change.

        When can I access my funds?

        You can spend your entire Health Care Spending Account (HCSA) election at any time during the plan year. Your employer continues to take level pre-tax payroll deductions from your paycheck, regardless of your spending.

        You can spend your Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP) funds only as deposited. Think of your Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP) as a tax-free reimbursement account.

        What is substantiation?

        Because FSAs elections reduce your taxable income, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires that we make sure you spend your funds on qualified expenses only. To confirm that an item is qualified, we need to know the following information:

        1. Provider
        2. Date of Service
        3. Patient
        4. Expense
        5. Your out-of-pocket cost
        Do you need to substantiate every debit-card purchase?

        No. When possible we will auto-substantiate many claims using methods approved by the IRS. These methods include:

        • Copay matching: If an item is equal to a copay (or multiple of a copay) on your Group Insurance Commission Health Plans, it’s automatically substantiated.
        • Recurring expenses: If you respond to our request for substantiation for, say, a chiropractic visit, and indicate that you visit the chiropractor regularly for that service, we’ll automatically substantiate every subsequent visit to a chiropractor for that dollar amount for the rest of the plan year.
        • Prescription and over-the-counter equipment and supplies: As of 3/27/2020 per the CARES Act, these items no longer require a prescription. Debit Cards will be updated to allow eligible over the counter items to be purchased, but this could take time depending on the merchant. If your debit card does not work, use another method of payment to purchase the items and file a manual claim via the mobile app, portal, or via E-Mail, fax or mail.

        The most common items for which we need documentation are dental and vision expenses and medical-plan deductibles and coinsurance. These expenses typically are in odd amounts. And since these providers also offer services that aren’t qualified, we can’t substantiate the expense merely by knowing the type of provider.

        How do I submit substantiation?

        It’s easy. When we request substantiation by e-mail (if we have your e-mail address) or USPS, we provide clear instructions. Most participants take a picture of the detailed receipt with a smartphone and upload the picture via our mobile app. You can also e-mail, fax, or mail it to us.

        Be sure your receipt(s) include:

        1. Provider
        2. Date of Service
        3. Patient
        4. Expense
        5. Your out-of-pocket cost
        How do I purchase over-the-counter drugs and medicine with my Health Care Spending Account (HCSA)

        Per the new CARES Act, these items no longer require a prescription! Debit Cards will be updated to allow eligible over the counter items to be purchased, but depending on the merchant this could take time. If your debit card does not work, use another method of payment to purchase the items and file a manual claim via our mobile app or online portal. You can also email, fax or mail it to us.

        How does the debit card work if I buy some qualified and some non-qualified items at the drug store?

        When you present the debit card as payment, the card will determine which expenses are qualified and pay for those items. You’ll then be left with a balance for non-qualified expense. You pay that balance with personal funds.

        How does the debit card work for my GIC Health Care Spending Account (HCSA) , and Commonwealth of Massachsuetts Qualified Transit and Parking benefits?

        If I make elections to both accounts, do I receive two separate debit cards?

        No. We configure the card with separate purses of money for each account type. When you present your card at a dental office, pharmacy, or physician office, for example, funds are drawn from your Health Care Spending Account (HCSA). If your transit and/or parking provider accepts credit cards, your expenses are drawn from your Qualified Transit and/or Parking benefit.

        If I make elections to both a Health Care Spending Account (HCSA) and Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP), can I move funds from one account to the other?

        No. Each election is limited to qualified expenses associated with that particular account.

        What happens if I don’t spend all my money?

        You forfeit any unused balances at the end of the year. The GIC FSA programs offer a 2 1/2 month grace period; July 1-September 15 occur eligible expenses and until October 15th to submit claims.

        You have 30 days to file claims for qualified expenses that you incur during the plan year and 2 1/2 month grace period, no later than October 15th .

        What happens if I leave employment during the year?

        If you leave state service during the Plan Year whether you resign, retire, or involuntarily separate, your participation in HCSA and DCAP will terminate at midnight on the day of termination and your HCSA debit cards will be inactivated. You will still be able to submit claims for eligible health care expenses incurred on or before your last day of active employment. For the Plan Year of July 1, 2020-June 30, 2021, you have until October 15, 2021 to submit all claims. See the following information about using your account after you terminate state service:

        • HCSA – You may elect to continue to contribute to the HCSA account under COBRA by making direct payments on an after-tax basis. Your eligibility for HCSA COBRA will be determined by Benefit Strategies. Benefit Strategies will send the COBRA Qualifying Event Election Notice directly if you qualify for HCSA COBRA coverage. If you elect HCSA COBRA coverage, the amount billed to you will include a 2% administrative fee.
        • DCAP – You may file claims for eligible dependent care expenses against your account balance for expenses you incur until your DCAP account is exhausted. Claims can be filed with dates of service through the end of the Plan Year as long as you are actively working, actively seeking employment, or a full time student. Claims must be filed by October 15, 2020.
        Who’s eligible for Group Insurance Commission FSA Programs?

        Health Care Spending Account (HCSA): Active state employees who are GIC benefits eligible may participate in the HCSA program. Enrollment in one of the GIC’s benefit plans is not required. New employee coverage begins on the first day of the month following 60 calendar days from the first date of employment or two calendar months, whichever comes first. Employees must work at least 18.75 hours in a 37.5 hour workweek or 20 hours per 40 hour workweek. To maintain eligibility, you must continually meet the hourly minimums. You may claim health care expenses under the HCSA plan for you, your spouse, and/or your eligible tax dependents for claims incurred after your effective date

        Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP): Active state employees who are GIC health care benefits eligible and have eligible dependent care expenses, for a dependent child under the age of 13 and/or a disabled adult dependent, that are necessary for the employee (and spouse, if married) to be able to work may enroll in the DCAP program. Employees hired during the Plan Year are eligible for DCAP on the first day of employment. Employees must work at least 18.75 hours in a 37.5 hour workweek or 20 hours per 40 hour workweek. To maintain eligibility, you must continually meet the hourly minimums.

        GIC’s Current FAQ section

    • Coordinator Resources


    For more information, please contact us at:

    Fax: 603-232-8079
    Live Chat: Text 877-353-9442 or click the ‘Live Chat’ tab at the bottom of this screen

    Mailing Address
    Benefit Strategies
    P.O. Box 1300
    Manchester, NH 03105-1300

Corporate Headquarters
967 Elm Street
Manchester, NH 03101
Directions to this office

Mailing Address
Benefit Strategies
P.O. Box 1300
Manchester, NH 03105-1300

Toll Free: 1-888-401-FLEX (3539)
Phone: 603-647-4666
Fax: 603-647-4668

Hours of Operation:
8am to 6pm Monday - Thursday
8am to 5pm Friday