Update March 31, 2021: Using the PayFlex Card for PPE
The IRS released Announcenment 2017-1 confirming the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE), such as face masks, hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes, are qualified medical expenses if used for the primary purpose of preventing the spread of coronavirus. PPE expenses incurred on or after January 1, 2020 can be reimbursed by a Health Care FSA.
When eligible purchases are made with the PayFlex Card, they’re typically auto adjudicated at the point of sale using Inventory Information Approval System (IIAS). FSA participants need to allow time for IIAS at pharmacies and stores to be updated to include these newly eligible expenses. Until IIAS and Debit Card systems are updated to reflect these new items, the PayFlex Card may be denied when attempting to purchase these items. If the PayFlex Card doesn’t work, FSA members can pay out of pocket and submit a request for reimbursement.
March 30, 2020: Health Care FSA Update, A new law allows reimbursement from your Health Care FSA for the purchase of over-the-counter drugs and medicines without needing a prescription from your doctor. In addition, feminine hygiene products are an eligible Health Care FSA expense. Please note that your PayFlex debit card may not work for these newly eligible purchases until the retailers have time to update their debit card systems. If a PayFlex debit card purchase is denied, you may pay for the items and then file a claim for reimbursement from your Health Care FSA account.
About the PayFlex Debit Card
PayFlex, the university's Flexible Spending Account administrator, will mail a PayFlex debit card to new enrollees in a Health Care FSA. If you are only enrolled in a Dependent Care FSA, you will not receive a card. If you are enrolled in a Health Care FSA and do not receive your new card, call PayFlex at (877) 343-1346.
If you receive a PayFlex Card with an activation label, you must activate the card before you can use it. Follow the instructions on the label to activate your card.
Your PayFlex Card is valid for at least a three-year period so you may not receive a new card when you re-enroll in the program. Please refer to the expiration date printed on your card. A new card will automatically be mailed to you prior to your card's expiration date.
The PayFlex Card can only be used to pay for eligible health care expenses incurred from January 1 through March 15 of the following year. You incur expenses when the care is provided, rather than when you are billed or when you pay for the care, with the exception of orthodontia (contact PayFlex for details on claiming orthodontia expenses). The date you pay for services is not relevant. If you enroll mid-year, expenses incurred before your effective date are not eligible.
Important: Save All of Your Itemized Receipts, Explanation of Benefits (EOB), and Other Documentation!
The IRS requires flexible spending account administrators to validate that all card transactions are used for eligible expenses. In some instances, PayFlex is able to automatically validate your purchase, but in most circumstances PayFlex will request that you fax or mail a copy of your itemized receipt. Failure to submit requested receipts could result in suspension of your card and you may be asked to pay back the amount you were reimbursed. So remember, please save your receipts. See Help Us Help You Keep Your PayFlex Card Active for tips on documentation that may be required to file a claim.
Using Your PayFlex Card
You can use your PayFlex Card like a debit card to pay for eligible expenses as long as the balance in your account will cover the charges. Transactions exceeding your available balance will be denied but may be reimbursable if you file a claim.
For example, if your bill is $500 and you only have $400 in your account, you cannot use your card for the full $500 amount. You could ask the merchant to charge your PayFlex Card for the amount available in your FSA ($400) and pay the remaining balance ($100) with another form of payment, or pay the entire bill with another form of payment and submit a claim for reimbursement.
Where to Use Your Card
You can use the PayFlex Card at qualified health care merchant locations where MasterCard is accepted. The PayFlex Card is accepted at physician and dental offices; mail order pharmacy services; and hearing and vision care providers. The card can also be used for eligible health care purchases at non-health care merchants (such as drug stores, pharmacies, grocery stores, and hospitals) as long as they have implemented an inventory information approval system (IIAS), which identifies whether a product or service purchased with a health care card is an eligible expense according to IRS 213(d).
If you cannot use the card because the merchant does not accept MasterCard, or the merchant is not categorized as a qualified health care merchant, pay using another form of payment and submit a claim for reimbursement from your Health Care FSA.
How To Use Your Card
- Use the card to pay for eligible health care expenses only
- Select "credit" when/if prompted. Because there is no personal identification number (PIN) assigned to this card, even though it works as a debit card you cannot select "debit."
- Request itemized receipts and save them
If you buy non-eligible items at the same time, you will have to pay separately using a different form of payment. For example, if you fill a prescription and want to buy soap and toothpaste at the same time, you can use your PayFlex Card to pay the prescription copay, but you will have to pay for the other items in a separate transaction and by different means because they are not reimbursable from your FSA.
There is no need to submit a claim for reimbursement when you pay for eligible expenses with your PayFlex Card; however, PayFlex will ask you to verify your card transactions at a later date. It is very important to save all of your receipts.
Due to IRS regulations, you cannot use the PayFlex Card to buy over-the-counter (OTC) medications. You may, however, obtain reimbursement from your Health Care FSA for OTC medications by submitting a prescription from your doctor and a receipt. Visit the PayFlex website for a list of eligible expenses, including those for which you cannot use your PayFlex Card.
More information on the PayFlex Card
FAQs About the PayFlex Card
- How do I activate my new card?
- If you receive a new card with an activation label, call Card Services at (877) 261-9951 and press 1. This is the same number you will see on the card activation label. Then enter your card number followed by the # sign. You will then enter the last four digits of your Social Security number (SSN). If your SSN is not accepted, you may need to enter the last four digits of your Employee ID number. Once you finish these steps, your card will be activated. You can then use your card right away.
- What should I do if I have trouble activating my card or if I have more questions?
- Please call PayFlex Member Services. The number is on the back of your PayFlex Card.
- When can I start using my Card?
- You may begin using the card at the beginning of the plan year once funds have been made available and after you have activated and signed the card.
- Will I get a new card each year?
- No, but you will receive a new card before your current card expires.
- How many cards are issued for each family?
- Initially, one card is issued per family. If additional cards are needed, contact PayFlex.
- Can I use the PayFlex Card for dependent care expenses?
- No. You may only use your card for eligible health care expenses for you and your dependents. You may not use the card for day care or elder care expenses.
- Can I use the PayFlex Card for over-the-counter (OTC) medicines?
- No. Due to IRS regulations you may not use your PayFlex Card to purchase OTC medicines.
- What should I do if I receive services from a person or facility that doesn't accept the card?
- Pay for the expense by other means, and then file a claim for reimbursement.
- My card did not work when I tried to use it. What could be the problem?
There are a few possibilities:
- You received a new card that you have not activated. If you receive a PayFlex Card with an activation label, you must activate the card before using it for the first time.
- You selected "debit" when you swiped the card. You must select "credit" when using it to make purchases because you do not have a personal identification number (PIN);
- The merchant is not classified as a qualified spending account service provider;
- Your purchase is not eligible for reimbursement from an FSA. Examples include magazines, cosmetics or vitamins;
- You do not have sufficient funds in your account to cover the purchase; or
- Your card has been suspended temporarily due to problems validating certain expenses you've paid with the card previously.
If you're unable to use the card for your purchase, you may pay for the expense with another form of payment and then submit a claim.
- What if the amount of my expense is greater than my account balance?
- If there are insufficient funds in your Health Care FSA to cover the entire expense, the transaction will be declined. Login to your account on www.payflex.com to view your account balance. Pay the entire amount with another payment method and then submit a claim.
- Can I use the Card to purchase items, such as prescription drugs and contact lenses, by mail order or online?
- Yes. Simply enter your card number and expiration date as you would when purchasing online with a credit card.
- Where do I report a lost or stolen card?
- To report a lost or stolen card, call PayFlex toll-free at (877) 343-1346.