Health Savings Accounts (HSA) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) allow you to contribute money on a pre-tax basis to help pay for eligible medical and dependent care expenses, saving money on taxes in the process. HSAs and FSAs have annual contribution limits.

Optum Bank provides the online bank account and debit cards for the Health Savings Account (HSA) and both of the Flexible Spending Account (FSA) plans.

Health Savings Account (HSA): Carleton’s HSA account is availabe to employee’s who elect Carleton’s Blue plan which qualifies as a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP).

Flexible Spending Account (FSA) Medical: This plan is available to all benefit eligible employees, and can be elected with Carleton’s Maize plan ,or on it’s own.

  • Please Note: FSA Medical plans are not compatible with an HSA High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP), for example Carleton’s Blue plan, if you elect the Blue plan you automatically waive enrollment into the FSA Medical plan.

Flexible Spending Account (FSA) Dependent Care: This plan is available to all benefit eligible employees, regardless if you elect other benefits.

Qualified HSA, FSA & DCA Expenses

Health Savings Account (HSA)

Health Savings accounts are available to Blue Plan participants. 

By enrolling in the Blue plan, you will receive a contribution from Carleton into your HSA account. 

  • The purpose of an HSA is to help you pay for eligible medical, dental and vision expenses.  Employees can choose to make an elective pre-tax contribution (which lowers your taxable income).
    • 20% penalty plus income tax if you withdraw funds from your HSA for non-qualified expenses before you turn age 65.  Once you’re 65, you’ll owe taxes but not the penalty.​
  • Some insurance premiums are considered qualified medical expenses.  These include:​Health plan coverage while receiving federal or state unemployment benefits​
    • COBRA premiums​
    • Medicare premiums (Part A, B, C or D – NOT Medicare supplement or Medigap plans​
    • Premiums for qualified long-term care insurance ​
  • Newly hired employees who enroll in an HSA or those employees with mid-year qualifying event changes must adhere to the IRS limit (pro-rated to the months remaining within the calendar year). 
  • There is no risk of forfeiture; balances roll over from one year to the next and you can keep your HSA if you leave Carleton. 
  • You also have the option to invest your HSA dollars once your account balance exceeds $2,000. Learn more about HSA accounts through Optum’s Educational resources.
  • HSAs are subject to IRS limits and regulations. The chart below summarizes the 2024 limits:
TierEmployee Annual Contribution LimitCarleton HSA Annual Contribution2024 IRS Annual Limit2024 Employee Age 55 Catch Up Contribution
Single:$2,950
$1,200$4,150$1,000
Employee + 1:
$5,900$2,400$8,300$1,000
Family:$5,300$3,000$8,300$1,000

HSA Coverage for Spouse, Eligible Dependents & Domestic Partner

  • Spouse & Eligible Dependents – HSA funds can be used for your spouse and eligible dependents even if they are not on your plan.​
  • Domestic partners and dependents that you no longer claim on your income tax return – You cannot use HSA funds, as they are not considered legal dependents.​

HSA Contribution Changes

  • HSA Contribution Change – Employees can change their contribution to the HSA 1 time per month through Workday. This guide can assist you with making requested changes in Workday.
    • Select the appropriate option  – “Change HSA Contribution”​
  • Effective Date: The date your request is initiated in Workday will register the new contribution change effective with the beginning of the next payroll cycle.  ​
  • Workday is set to maintain the IRS annual HSA maximums to prohibit employees from over-contributing.​

Reach out to Human Resources (hr@Carleton.edu) for support or questions.​

HSA & Medicare

When you turn age 65 you need to notify HR when you are enrolling in Medicare. Contributions made by yourself and Carleton will need to be stopped.  Optum’s FAQ includes important resources, including information about your HSA and Medicare enrollment. 

  • Enrollment into Medicare Part A and/or B disqualifies an employee from making or receiving contributions to their HSA plan. Medicare is not considered a high deductible health plan (HDHP).​
  • If you are receiving social security benefits, you are automatically enrolled in Part A – you don’t have the option to delay enrollment.​
  • If you enroll in Medicare Part A after the month you turn 65, your Part A coverage can begin six months retroactively (but no earlier than your birthday month).​
    • Example:  ​You enroll on July 1st, your Medicare Part A coverage is actually effective January 1st.  You can’t make or receive any HSA contributions for the year.​
  • If your spouse is enrolled in Medicare Part A and is also covered under your Blue plan, this does not disqualify you (the employee/policy holder) from contributing to the annual limit allowed (which is based upon your tier of enrollment). ​

Flexible Spending Account (FSA) Medical & Dependent Care

Medical and Dependent Care Spending Accounts allow you to set aside money on a pre-tax basis, which lowers the employee’s taxable income for the current tax year. Distributions for qualified expenses are tax free.  Flexible spending accounts are subject to annual IRS limits and regulations. Medical and Dependent Care Flex Accounts require annual election.

FSA Medical: Having an FSA allows you to set aside pre-tax dollars for you and your qualified dependents:

  • Pay for eligible medical, dental and vision expenses. 
  • Dependents are not required to be covered by your health insurance plan;
  • You can use FSA funds for legal dependents. Domestic partners and dependents you no longer claim on your income tax return cannot use FSA funds.
  • This plan is a “use it or lose it” plan which means that any remaining balance is forfeited at the end of the calendar year or when you leave Carleton. 
  • Our plan does offer a “grace and run-out” period which offers some flexibility in avoiding forfeiture annually.  
 2024 Flexible Spending Account
 Grace PeriodRun-Out Period
2024 IRS FSA Maximum$3,200Allows you to incur expenses thru March 15, 2025 to spend down remaining 2024 balance.Allows you to request reimbursement by April 30, 2025 before forfeiture of any remaining 2024 balance.

FSA Dependent Care Account: Allows you to set aside pre-tax dollars to pay for the care of children under age 13 and certain older family members while the employee works or goes to school. 

  • The annual contribution limit for 2024 is $5,000 ($2,500 if married and filing separately).
  • Examples of eligible expenses are in-home child care, licensed day care facilities, before and after school programs, day camps and adult day care (i.e. custodial care for an eligible adult who is mentally or physically incapable of caring for themselves is very specific and will require medical documentation).
  • This is a pay as you go account, meaning that the funds must be available in your account prior to receiving reimbursement.
  • This plan is a “use it or lose it” plan which means that any remaining balance is forfeited at the end of the calendar year. It is important to estimate expenses carefully before making your annual election. 

OPTUM Debit Card Important Information

Your personal information is extremely important! If you are currently enrolled in a flexible spending account or Carleton’s high deductible health plan (Blue Plan with an HSA), please note that your respective debit MasterCard comes with added (free) protection and their services are just a few steps away!

MasterCard’s Zero Liability Protection, ID Theft Protection, and ID Theft Resolution services . 

For your safety and peace of mind, sign up today for this free service at MasterCard’s ID Theft Protection. Simply enter the first 6 digits of your debit MasterCard to get started.