Got a Reimbursement Account? Greater Flexibility Allowed for 2020 and 2021

Duke staff and faculty can carry over their unused 2020 balances into 2021 and make changes to 2021 elections

Duke has adopted new provisions based on the recently passed Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA) that will allow faculty and staff greater flexibility in using remaining 2020 balances and making changes to 2021 elections for Duke’s healthcare reimbursement account and dependent care reimbursement account.

The CAA allows employers to temporarily adopt provisions that allow employees to carry over the full amount of their unused 2020 balances in both their health and dependent care reimbursement accounts for payment of 2021 expenses. Additional provisions of the Act permit employees greater flexibility in making prospective, mid-year changes to both of these accounts.

These changes help address concerns from participants in both programs about typical health and daycare services that were either unavailable or deferred during 2020 due to the pandemic. This resulted in larger unused 2020 account balances, funded by pre-tax earnings, which otherwise would have been forfeited due to the “use-it-or-lose-it” rule ordinarily required under the Internal Revenue Code. They also allow participants to make adjustment to this year’s elections based on unanticipated needs related to the impact of the ongoing pandemic.

Here are the highlights:

  • Beginning March 29, employees may submit claims against full, remaining 2020 health and dependent care account balances for eligible expenses incurred anytime in 2021. See here for additional details, and
  • If you would like to make a prospective change to the 2021 reimbursement account elections made in open enrollment for any reason, you may do so now up through August 31, 2021. See here for guidance and caveats, and
  • If you have a remaining 2020 dependent care account balance, enrolled prior to January 31, 2020, and have a child who has turned age 13 during 2020, see here regarding a temporary eligibility change raising the age up to 14, and lastly
  • If your participation in the plan(s) ends during 2021, you will still be able to submit claims for the balance in your account for expenses incurred through December 31, 2021. See here for additional details.

More detailed information and Frequently Asked Questions are available on the Duke Human Resources website. Please write benefits@duke.edu or call 919-684-5600 with questions.