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Commuter Benefits and HSAs: Two of a Kind

Commuter benefits and HSAs aren't as different as you may think.

Commuter Benefits and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)? You might ask yourself, “What do they have in common?” One is for workplace commuting. The other is for eligible medical expenses.

Clearly, that is not the connection.

But, Commuter Benefits and HSAs actually share at least 3 common traits (in addition to the tax advantages) to make them powerhouse benefits.

Funds automatically roll.

That’s right. This is one of the most overlooked perks of Commuter Benefits and HSAs.

Any funds in your commuter benefit accounts or in your HSA at the end of the month or even year, automatically roll forward and continue to be available.

You don’t have to worry about cut-off dates and use-or-lose. Commuter Benefits and HSA funds continue to be available in the new year.

You won’t be asked for receipts when using your card.

No need to fear receipt requests! If you have an FSA or HRA, you might have been asked for a receipt after using your benefits card. This is not the case with commuter benefits and HSAs. Although, the reasons why are slightly different.

When using your benefits card for commuter benefits, information is provided regarding the merchant and even terminal you used your card at. This is sufficient evidence to validate your expenses.

With an HSA, you are ultimately responsible for your expenses, not the administrator. This means you need to save your receipts in case you are ever audited by the IRS. But, an administrator, like Benefit Resource, will not ask you to provide a receipt.

You can make changes monthly (if needed).

Your health insurance, FSAs, HRAs and even most voluntary benefits are elected once a year and you are locked in. But, a lot can happen in a year’s time. And, commuter benefits and HSAs let you easily make changes.

Psst… We have a secret: There is no “qualifying event” required to make changes to a commuter benefit or HSA election.

You decide. You are in control.

Just think about the possibilities…

  • You decide to change up your commute and bike to work a couple days. No problem. Adjust your election.
  • You make arrangements to work from home a couple days a week. No problem. Adjust your election.
  • Your train is being serviced and you decide to take uberPool or Shared Rides. No problem. Adjust your election.
  • You take an extended vacation and your commuting needs are reduced. No problem. Adjust your election.
  • You realize you have built up a balance in your commuter benefits and have enough funds to pay expenses for the next year. No problem. Adjust your election to zero and spend down your balance.
  • You get a raise. You want to increase your HSA contributions. No problem.
  • You have unexpected personal expenses and need to cut back on HSA contributions. No problem.
  • You have unexpected medical expenses and need to increase your HSA contributions. No problem.
  • You have a little extra cash and want to build an HSA rainy day fund. No problem.

You get the idea. Commuter benefits and HSAs give you control to increase, decrease or even stop elections while still remaining eligible for the benefits.

In case you forgot, there are the tax savings.

While this is not unique to Commuter Benefits and HSAs, don’t forget about those tax-savings.

Pre-tax benefit accounts are like a 30-40% off coupon on the things you buy anyway. It is a smart choice. Especially when you factor in the three common traits (AKA advantages) of Commuter Benefits and HSAs.