Carnegie Mellon University

Spending Accounts

Carnegie Mellon offers spending accounts to help you lower your health and dependent care expenses by paying with tax-free money. You can save up to 25% on the money you spend on eligible expenses by contributing to the spending accounts on a pre-tax basis. Please visit the plan pages to learn more about each plan, including tax implications of participating.

  • Health Savings Account (HSA) — Accompanies High Deductible Health Plans and is used to pay for qualified medical, prescription, dental and vision expenses with tax-free dollars. You own this account and can take the account dollars with you if you leave the university. Eligible full time employees who are enrolled in an HDHP with HSA plan can participate. If you or your spouse are enrolled in an HCFSA, you cannot enroll in an HSA.
  • Health Care Flexible Spending Account (HCFSA) — Allows you to use pretax dollars for qualifying medical, dental and/or vision expenses for you and your federal tax dependents. Eligible full time employees who are not enrolled in a High Deductible PPO with HSA Plan can participate. If you or your spouse are enrolled in an HSA, you cannot enroll in an HCFSA.
  • Limited Purpose Flexible Spending Account (LPFSA)— A special type of flexible spending account that can be used with an HSA and lets you use pre-tax dollars to pay for qualified dental and vision expenses. Using funds from your LPFSA instead of your HSA to pay for eligible expenses allows your HSA to continue to grow tax-free into retirement. Eligible full time employees who are enrolled in an High Deductible PPO with HSA Plan can participate.
  • Dependent Care Reimbursement Account (DCRA) — Helps you lower your dependent care expenses by paying with tax-free money. With the DCRA, you put aside money from your pay on a pre-tax basis to cover anticipated dependent daycare or elder care expenses while you work or attend school. Any eligible full time employee can participate in the DCRA.

Eligibility

  • You must be full-time benefits eligible (37.5 scheduled hours per week) to enroll. Members of the Campus Police Association must be scheduled to work 40 hours per week to be eligible.
  • Elections for the HCFSA, LPFSA and DCRA do not roll over from year to year. You must make a new election each year to participate. 

How Flexible Spending Accounts and Dependent Care Reimbursement Accounts Work

  1. Determine the out-of-pocket expenses that you expect you will incur in health or dependent care costs. 
  2. Carefully estimate the amount you will set aside into each kind of account each month. Try to contribute enough to cover most of your expected expenses (since it saves you money), but not more than you will use. What you do not use, you will lose, per IRS regulations.
  3. Each month, the amount you selected will be deducted from your pay before taxes are assessed.
  4. Throughout the year, you will incur eligible health or dependent care expenses. You may pay for them out of pocket or with an FSA debit card.
  5. For expenses that you pay out of pocket, file claims to reimburse yourself with your tax-free money.
  6. Claims incurred during the plan year should be submitted by June 30 following the end of the plan year.

Spending Account Comparison

HSA HCFSA LPFSA DCRA
Who Can Contribute? Eligible full time employees who are enrolled in an HDHP with HSA plan Eligible full time employees who are not enrolled in an High Deductible PPO with HSA Plan Eligible full time employees who are enrolled in an HDHP with HSA plan Eligible full time employees
Contribution Limits

Between $0 and $3,850 per year for individuals **

Between $0 and $7,750 per year for families**

Between $60 and $3,050 per year Between $60 and $3,050 per year Between $300 and $5,000 per year*
Plan Year N/A Calendar year plus a 2.5-month grace period 
(Jan 1, 2023 – Mar 15, 2024)
Calendar year plus a 2.5-month grace period 
(Jan 1, 2023 – Mar 15, 2024)

Calendar year 
(Jan 1 – Dec 31, 2023)

Deadline to Request Reimbursement N/A June 30, 2024 June 30, 2024 June 30, 2024
Eligible Expenses Medical, prescription, dental and vision Health care Dental and vision Day care / elder care

*$2,500 if married, filing separately.

**55 years and older are eligible to make an annual catch-up contribution of $1,000.