By Helen Gonzales, Vice President for Human Resources

Do you want to save 20-40 percent on medical expenses not covered by health insurance? Flexible spending accounts allow you to set aside pre-tax dollars for certain medical, dental, vision, prescription and hearing care expenses not covered for employees and eligible dependents by any insurance plan. You can also set up a dependent care account for qualified dependent care. Reimbursements for qualified expenses are convenient to receive, either by direct deposit or with an flexible spending account debit card.

A flexible spending account allows employee contributions up to $5,000 on a pre-tax basis for qualified expenses. To set up payroll deductions, employees need to participate in the FSA open enrollment each year. Open enrollment for calendar year 2011 is Wednesday, Nov. 3-Wednesday, Nov. 17. UNM offers flexible spending accounts to benefits-eligible employees regardless of enrollment in a UNM medical plan. An employee can enroll in a medical reimbursement account, dependent care account or both.  For information about each type of account, visit, click "Benefits" and then "Flexibles Spending Accounts (FSA).

In preparing for FSA open enrollment, be aware of changes in eligible expenses due to health care reform. Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, over-the-counter medications will generally not be eligible for reimbursement through FSAs, effective Jan. 1, unless the medication requires a prescription or a prescription is obtained for the over-the-counter medication. Insulin and other over-the-counter items such as crutches, bandages and diagnostic devices, such as blood sugar test kits, will remain eligible for reimbursement. To review the IRS frequently asked questions, visit

Continue to check the Division of Human Resources Web site,, for updated information about FSA open enrollment.