The Downs and Outs of a Flexible Spending Account

It sounds good, right?  To be able to pay for your health care expenses with pre-tax dollars?  Then you find out, through experience after experience, that they will do everything possible to avoid reimbursing you.

Disclaimer:  My experience applies only to Ameriflex.  My husband’s FSA was with another company, and it was fabulous.  It was easy and fast.

My experience is with Ameriflex, and I will not sign up again.  I have spent hours uploading the insurance EOB’s from the various doctors’ offices.  Claims have been denied because the EOB is too faint for them to read.  Seriously?  It is uploaded, directly from the insurance company’s website.  I see them just fine.  I’ve had claims denied because “there is no date of service on the EOB”.  Seriously?  I’ve highlighted the date of service and sent it to them.  I’ve had claims denied because the dates of service don’t match.  Okay, this is a simple error.  I’ve corrected it and sent them back, and they still aren’t being paid. Maybe I paid the bill on a different day than the date of service.  Which date do they want?  Neither seems to satisfy them.

Try calling customer service.  You think they want to be helpful? No.  Getting a direct answer to every question I asked was like pulling teeth.  I’ve had more productive discussions with my cat.

Lawrence Hutton once said, “Whatever you are be a good one.”  This quote has been attributed to Abraham Lincoln, although there’s no evidence that he said it.  This would be good advice for Ameriflex.  I’ve exceeded my frustrations with them, two consecutive years.  I won’t make this mistake again.  I’m not alone in my frustrations.  Since I first posted my negative experience on Facebook, I heard from 38 other people who had experienced the same frustrations.

So.  If you have tons of free time to waste and you desperately need the $2500 reduction in the amount of income reported to the IRS, then Ameriflex is the FSA program for you.  But the value of my time far exceeds any tax advantages this might give.  They still have $1437 that I am contributing, but at this point, given that it takes over one hour to get reimbursed $9.80, the opportunity cost is makes this a negative.  I might as well walk away from my $1437 and be done with it.

Don’t do it.  If you are a human resources professional, look for a better company.

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