If you took the BRight Ideas quiz from Benefit Resource this year, you may already know the answer to these questions. Haven’t taken the quiz yet? Take it here.
If you’ve never played the game Two Truths and a Lie, the premise is simple. You are presented with three statements- two are true and one is a lie. You win by correctly guessing which one is the lie. Consider the game an ice breaker for getting to know your pre-tax benefits.
The Three Options
- You do not need to have a qualifying life event to change your HSA election
- CBP elections can be adjusted before you go out of town to save money
- You can deposit money via payroll deductions into an HRA
Which one do you think is the lie?
Take your time.
Okay. You have it?
The Lie is…
Drum roll, please:
I can deposit money into an HRA.
You cannot deposit money into an HRA, or Health Reimbursement Account. The only person allowed to put money into an HRA is your employer. If you’re confused, it might be because FSAs and HSAs allow you to put money in the account. (We love our acronyms). But that’s not the case with HRAs.
With an HRA, your employer determines:
- how much money is available in the account
- what happens to funds if they aren’t used
- what money in the account can be used for
- when money is available and when it needs to be used by
Both “CBP elections can be adjusted before you go on out of town to save money” and “You do not need to have a qualifying life event to change your HSA election” are true.
Let’s start by exploring CBP elections a little more in-depth.
The benefit of (temporarily) reducing your election
The elections for your Mass Transit and Parking accounts can be adjusted on a monthly basis*. Reducing your election might be your ticket out of town. Literally.
Let’s say you’re going on vacation for a week. Instead of having money pulled for your Transit or Parking account, you can reduce your election for the month. Then, the money that would have gone toward your commute can be put toward your travels.
The one downside
We’ll be honest. There is one small downside to adjusting your election: It has to be done manually.
To take advantage of a little more holiday play money, you will update your election before and after your vacation. You may also be able to manage your election online by logging in to your account with Benefit Resource.
It only takes a few minutes.
Log in to your account today at www.BenefitResource.com to get started.
Now, for truth number two…
HSAs and qualifying life events
You do not need to have a qualifying life event to change your HSA election. What a relief.
Those Flexible Spending Accounts are pesky (we say that affectionately as an administrator) because they require you to have a life event before making any changes to your election.
But with an HSA, you can generally change your HSA election on an as-needed basis. Actually, on an “as-wanted basis” might be more fitting. You can change your HSA election at almost any time for any reason.
We say “almost” because your employer might have some administrative restrictions on how often you can change your HSA election. Some employers permit HSA election changes every month, some once a quarter. But even if one of those is the case, they still both take less time than having to wait for a qualifying life event.
Test your knowledge
Remember how we called this an ice breaker? We hope you feel like you know a little more about pre-tax benefit plans than before playing Two Truths and a Lie.
If you’re feeling like you have a pretty good understanding of benefits and want to test your knowledge, go take the BRight Ideas quiz.
*Depending on specifications and administrative restrictions set by your employer