Health Care Spending Account Reimbursement

When submitting for reimbursement, you are responsible for the expenses being acceptable to the IRS, and the receipts must include the proper information.

The Benefits Office will keep track of your payroll reductions, the total amounts requested, and funds available. You can request up to your annual pledge at any time. 

Reimbursement Information and Rules

  • Request for Reimbursement forms or the Employee Self Service site must be used when you file for reimbursement for your expenses.
  • You may file for reimbursement at any time during the year, but no later than the last business day in April of the next year. You may request reimbursements weekly, monthly, semi-annually, or annually, whichever is the most convenient for you.
  • Your spending account reimbursements will be direct deposited to the same institution and account where your monthly paycheck is deposited.  If you wish, you may use a different institution and/or account for your spending account(s) payment.  You can make that change in Employee Self Service site under the Payroll Direct Deposit section or by filling out the Flexible Spending Account Direct Deposit Form (pdf) and submitting it to the Benefits Office at 120 University Services Building.
  • Claims are generally processed by the Benefits Office within seven to ten (7-10) working days of receipt.
  • If there are problems with the documentation attached, reimbursement will take longer.  We pay direct deposit claims daily, but because of claim volume, we cannot guarantee claims received on a certain day will be processed on that day's payment cycle. In addition, if the University or banking system is closed for holidays, the payment will be delayed to the next appropriate business day.

Reimbursement Process

At the time you submit your Request for Reimbursement, you must attach documentation to justify the expenses.  You are responsible for the expenses, and the documentation of those expenses, being acceptable to the IRS.  Canceled checks cannot be accepted as receipts.  The Benefits Office will retain all documents.  Please keep a photocopy of the documents sent to this office for your records.

In order to comply with IRS regulations, if an expense is covered by insurance, claims must be processed through your insurance carrier before being submitted to your spending account.  This includes insurances outside of The University of Iowa. 

Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs are only eligible for reimbursement with an actual prescription and quantities are limited to individual personal use.  This must be electronic or written on a prescription pad and signed by a physician, doctor of osteopathy, physician’s assistant, chiropractor or advanced registered nurse practitioner.   It must specify the name of the individual for whom the drug is prescribed and the dosage.  This prescription must be attached to each claim submitted, along with the receipt indicating the date and the amount of the purchase.

Some expenses require you submit documentation from a physician of your need for a specific service or item. Check the Federal Government’s Employee web site for specific documentation requirements.

You must sign each hard copy reimbursement form you submit.

How to get reimbursed from the Health Care Spending Account

  • Submit eligible claims to your insurance carrier.
  • The insurance company will send an Explanations of Benefits (EOB) to your home (it will read “This is Not a Bill”).  This form should be submitted for reimbursement. 
  • If your insurance plan does not show prescription medications on their EOB forms, tape the prescription tag that shows your out-of-pocket costs from the pharmacy onto one side of an 8½ by 11 piece of paper (do not overlap - they have to be microfilmed) and treat that page as an EOB.
  • When submitting cash register receipts for over-the-counter items:
    • circle eligible items (DO NOT HIGHLIGHT)
    • tape to an 8.5 x 11 piece of paper (do not overlap - they have to be microfilmed)
    • date of purchase must be visible,
    • if receipt does not clearly identify item, include a photocopy of box or bottle.
  • Fill out a Request for Reimbursement form
  • Staple the original documentation to the back of the original Request for Reimbursement form.
  • We accept direct submission through the Employee Self Service site, in-person drop-off, campus or U.S. mail, or FAX transmissions to (319) 335-2776. You cannot send the reimbursement form and mail the receipts – they must come together.  PDF is our preferred format for electronic submissions (please try to keep the file size below 2MB).

If you choose to submit directly through the Employee Self Service site, it will:

  • allow you to quickly see if claims have been paid and, if not, what the specific problem is.
  • eliminate the need for you to make copies of your claims - claim information will be stored in the Self Service system and can be easily accessed at anytime for your record-keeping.
  • help save resources by reducing paper flow. 

To submit a claim through Employee Self Service, you simply log into the site and select, "Spending Account Recap/Forms."  You add your items to the appropriate form type, attach your supporting documentation, and submit.  You can access detailed instructions in the "Online Spending Account Guide" reached by  clicking "Help" when you are on the "Spending Accounts" page of the Employee Self Service site.

The hardcopy claim forms have also been improved.  Please use your University ID number or Employee ID number for identification on the forms.  The new forms are available in the "Spending Accounts" area on the Benefits Forms web site

Reimbursement Payment

Your spending account reimbursements will be direct deposited to the same institution and account where your monthly paycheck is deposited.  If you wish, you may use a different institution and/or account for your spending account(s) payment.  You can make that change in Employee Self Service under the Payroll Direct Deposit section or by filling out the Direct Deposit Form and submitting it to the Payroll Office at 120 University Services Building, Suite 30.

To authorize the University to deposit your spending account payments directly into a checking or savings account, you simply complete the Direct Deposit Authorization for Payroll, Benefits, and Travel Expenses – available on Employee Self Service.