Answers to 5 Valentine's Day Benefits Questions

Posted by BAS - 13 February, 2012


1. Question: I am planning a romantic evening out with my wife for dinner February 14. The caregiver who watches our children during the day will be staying late to watch the kids. May I submit the babysitter's charge for the evening to my Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account for reimbursement?

Answer: No. The charge for the evening babysitting must be separated from the charge for watching your children during the day. A child care expense may be reimbursed from a Dependent Care FSA only if the expense is incurred so that you can work or look for work.

2. Question: Are condoms an eligible medical expense for reimbursement from my Health Care Flexible Spending Account?

Answer: If your plan allows, the cost of condoms may be eligible for reimbursement from a Health Care FSA.

3. Question: My fiancé and I are getting married February 14. Can I add him to my health insurance coverage?

Answer: Obtaining a new dependent through marriage is considered a special enrollment event under HIPAA. Assuming your plan is not excepted from the HIPAA portability requirements, your plan must provide you the opportunity to enroll your new spouse for coverage. You must request special enrollment within 30 days of the marriage (your plan may provide a longer opportunity). Enrollment of your spouse will be effective not later than the first day of the first calendar month beginning after the date the plan receives your completed enrollment request.

4. Question: My partner and I just satisfied my employer's requirements for domestic partner coverage and my partner may now be covered under my health plan. Will the amount I pay for my partner's coverage be tax-free?

Answer: Probably not, unless the domestic partner is your common law spouse or tax-Code dependent. If your employer's cafeteria plan allows you to make contributions for your domestic partner's coverage on a pre-tax basis, the value of the coverage would be included in your income for federal tax purposes. The federal tax rules do not permit the value of domestic partner health coverage to be provided on a tax-favored basis. Depending on where you live, there may be a different treatment for state tax purposes.

5. Question: My husband bought two dozen beautiful long-stemmed red roses. They were so expensive that there was not enough money in our bank account to cover our monthly COBRA premium, so I did not mail my premium check. How long do I have to make payment for my COBRA coverage?

Answer: The first premium payment for COBRA continuation coverage must be postmarked within 45 days of your COBRA continuation coverage election. Each subsequent payment must be received within 30 days of the payment due date. A payment is considered paid when it is mailed. Consult your COBRA notice because your plan may permit a longer grace period for payment.

Topics: COBRA, Enrollment/Eligibility, Dependent Day Care FSA

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