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Washington, D.C. - The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) today announced the results of the latest Flexible Spending Account (FSAFEDS) program open season that ended December 13. OPM statistics show that total enrollment has increased by 32,000 - a 25 percent increase. At the close of the open season for 2005, with 157,000 participants, the FSAFEDS program remains the largest FSA program in the nation.
"This increase highlights the growing interest among federal employees in FSAs and programs that offer them greater choice and flexibility in how they target their health care dollars through tax-deferred income," stated OPM Director Kay Coles James. "Federal employees are wise consumers and recognize their responsibility to ensure the health care needs for themselves and their families."
The FSAFEDS program lets federal employees contribute pre-tax income up to $4,000 each year to a health care FSA to pay for qualified medical expenses not covered by the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHB), including dental care, eyewear, prescription drug co-payments and over-the-counter medicines. Employees also may fund a separate FSA account up to $5,000 annually to cover the cost of child care or to pay for the care of qualifying parents.
Before the beginning of each new calendar year, employees wishing to participate in the FSAFEDS program must commit a specific dollar figure -- subject to a $250 minimum per account and previously stated maximums -- to a health care or dependent-care account.
"Health care costs are of increasing concern to Americans, and FSAs offer greater control to consumers," added James. "Both FSAs and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), recently introduced into the FEHB, allow federal employees the opportunity to save more of their hard-earned dollars. Employees' increased participation in these types of programs speaks for itself."
Last September, OPM introduced HSAs to federal employees as another way they can manage their health care needs, and soon will issue the latest numbers of those who have enrolled in an HSA. HSAs enable enrollees to build tax-free savings accounts for current and future medical expenses, and provide them greater flexibility and discretion over how to utilize their health care benefits.
Our mission is to Recruit, Retain and Honor a World-Class Workforce to Serve the American People. OPM supports U.S. agencies with personnel services and policy leadership including staffing tools, guidance on labor-management relations and programs to improve work force performance.