Recently, we published a post that addressed two common questions: What is substantiation? Why is it required? In sum, we learned it’s less what you buy and more where you buy that prompts substantiation requests. For part two on this topic, we’ll be reviewing best practices to avoid receipt requests.
Three Easy Steps
There are a few ways to automatically receive approval for benefits card transactions and avoid receipt requests:
Step 1. Use your card at IIAS merchants
We briefly touched on this in our first post, noting that you will almost never receive a request for substantiation after making a purchase at an IIAS merchant.
To review, an IIAS merchant has an Inventory Information Approval System (IIAS) that automatically identifies eligible medical expenses. This is typically your larger retailers and pharmacy chains that sell a broad range of products and services. Click here for a list of merchants.
When shopping at an IIAS merchant to avoid a receipt request, take the following steps:
- Have the sales clerk total your entire purchase.
- Pay for all the eligible medical items first with your pre-tax benefits card.
- Use another form of payment for the remaining amount / ineligible items.
Again, where you make your purchase is important. Vision care expenses at a local optical center are often flagged for receipt requests. However, there are merchants (such as FSA Store Optical), which use IIAS to identify the specific eligible items and allow you to purchase contacts and eyeglasses.
Step 2. Confirm enrollment in health plan
To receive automatic approval for co-pays, certain co-insurance, and deductible expenses, make sure your employer has reported you as enrolled in the company health plan. Co-pays for office visits, specialists, and hospital stays are typically approved automatically.
Depending on the location and other information provided to Benefit Resource, you may be asked to verify a non-standard amount. Just remember, this doesn’t mean the expense isn’t eligible. It just means BRI hasn’t received enough information to verify it automatically. An Explanation of Benefits (EOB) from your insurance carrier or health care provider gets it resolved in no time.
Step 3. Nip recurring expenses in the bud
If you have a recurring eligible expense for the same amount from the same provider/merchant (e.g. orthodontia payments), it will prompt a request receipt. However, you only need to provide the receipt(s) for the first transaction. After that, you won’t need to submit receipts for future card transactions, as long as it was at the same provider for the same amount.
Say Goodbye to Receipt Requests
Next time you buy an eligible expense with your card, you’ll know exactly what to do to avoid receipt requests. Happy Purchasing!