Don’t Leave Money on the Table

Health Care Reimbursement Account can save you 30 cents for every $1

Health Care Reimbursement Account can save you 30 cents for every $1

When Cheryl Mayton needs new eyeglasses, she pulls out her orange and blue Health Care Card.

When she pays at a doctor’s office or for a prescription, she pulls out the same card.

That’s because Mayton and her husband are enrolled in Duke’s Health Care Reimbursement Account, which allows employees to set aside pre-tax money to pay for eligible health care expenses. Mayton estimates she saves about $2,724 each year through the account administered by WageWorks.

“The cost of health care is continually rising,” said Mayton, 56, a clinical trials coordinator at Duke Clinical Research Institute. “We want to make sure we have a buffer there. We’re thinking towards retirement. This helps us save for retirement.” 

Any Duke employee can enroll in a Health Care Reimbursement Account during Duke’s annual Open Enrollment, which is October 23 to November 3. Current participants must re-enroll during Open Enrollment.

Members of the Duke Basic medical plan – employees like Mayton – receive a $200 to $500 contribution to their reimbursement account from Duke, depending on level of coverage selected, to offset higher out-of-pocket costs associated with the Duke Basic plan.

“That’s money back to me that helps me pay for my health care,” Mayton said. “I can plan. I can budget for the next year.”

About 18,245 employees are currently enrolled in Duke’s Health Care Reimbursement Account administered by WageWorks, according to Saundra Daniels, plan manager for voluntary benefits at Duke. Participants are able to save, on average, 30 cents for every dollar contributed to the program.

“The main benefit of the WageWorks reimbursement account is the tax savings,” Daniels said. “Contributions are deducted from employees’ paychecks prior to federal, state, and Social Security taxes being withheld. Therefore, taxable income is reduced.”

The maximum contribution employees can make annually is $2,600. The minimum contribution is $130. Up to $500 of unused money from the account can be carried over
to the next plan year.

Eligible expenses include co-pays and deductibles not covered by insurance, as well as other expenses such as non-cosmetic dental fees, eyeglasses and contact lenses.
Cosmetic surgery, toiletries and teeth whitening are examples of ineligible expenses.

Mayton likes the convenience that comes with the account because she pays with the Health Care Card, which works similar to a debit card. If she wants, she can also submit claims for reimbursement through the WageWorks mobile app. Pictures of receipts can be uploaded to assist with verification of purchases or submission of claims.

Mayton plans to enroll in the reimbursement account again and will use it to pay for dental procedures for herself and her husband. 

“WageWorks allows me to decide and plan for health care costs, based on my family’s needs,” Mayton said. “WageWorks, it’s what works for me.”