2020 Flex Credits for PMA Members
Making the best use of your Health Care Spending Account and your Professional Expense Reimbursement Account
In addition to many other benefits, Western provides Professional and Managerial Association (PMA) eligible members with two accounts that can be used to cover a wide variety of expenses. It also offers "Flex Credits" - funds to be allocated into either of the two accounts.
Your Flex Credits for 2020 are $2,000 as outlined in the new Memorandum of Agreement.
Here are the two accounts, and an explanation of Flex Credits:
- The Health Care Spending Account (HCSA) can be used to pay for many medical and dental expenses that are not covered or only partially covered by your Extended Health and Dental plans. If you would like a 2020 HCSA deposit, you will need to allocate funds to this account.
- The Professional Expense Reimbursement Account (PER) can be used to pay for professional expenses including conference registrations, travel and accommodation, membership fees for professional and/or learned societies, journal subscriptions, to purchase a computer or software, and for other expenses. See end of this document for a list of eligible expenses and restrictions. If you would like a 2020 PER deposit, you will need to allocate funds to this account.
The deadline to allocate your $2,000 Flex Credit allocation for the 2020 calendar year was December 6, 2019. If you did not actively choose where your Flex Credits should go, the default allocation was $2,000 to your Professional Expense Reimbursement Account with no allocation to the Health Care Spending Account. The allocation is irrevocable since the deadline has passed.
What is the right Flex Credit allocation decision for you?
In November of each year, you will be asked to make a decision about your Flex Credit allocations for the following year. Here are some things to consider:
Do you expect to have higher professional costs in the next calendar year?
You may anticipate the need for a new computer or software, or plan to attend a major conference and will incur registration, travel and accommodation expenses. If so, you may wish to allocate more or all of your Flex Credits to your Professional Expense Reimbursement Account.
Do you foresee higher medical/dental expenses?
Sometimes you are able to anticipate upcoming medical or dental expenses for the next calendar year. If your child requires orthodontic work, or you have an injury that requires ongoing physiotherapy or massage therapy, you may choose to allocate more of your Flex Credits to your Health Care Spending Account. Your HCSA can be used to claim for expenses above the dollar maximum for benefits such as vision care, drug dispensing fees, and to pay for the 15% co-insurance costs you may pay on some dental and medical expenses.
Making your Choice
If you're ready to allocate your Flex Credits, you can do so now. (Note: Allocations are to be made in increments of $100.)
- Log on to "My Human Resources"
- Select the “Allocate Flex Credits” tile
- Select “Flex Credit Allocation” from the menu on the left
- Your credits will display on the right
- Select the “Make changes to your elections” button from the bottom
Carry Forward Provisions of PER
Unspent Professional Expense Reimbursement allocations from 2018 may be carried forward to 2019 and 2020, but not beyond. In all subsequent years, a similar two year carry forward of allocations will apply, regardless of the PMA agreement expiry date. Please note that while the credits may be carried forward, claims for any given year must be submitted by March 31st of the following year in which they were incurred.
Carry Forward Provisions of HCSA
Unused credits in your HCSA will be carried forward and added to credits for the following calendar year. At the end of the second calendar year, tax laws require that any credits remaining from the previous year be forfeited.
Checking your Balances
To see your current balance in your PER, go to the Financial Services Professional Reimbursement website. Select Professional Expense Reimbursement Balance. You will need to use your Western user ID and password at the prompt to log on. You will see any carry forward from the previous year, your entitlement this year, any claims you have made in the current year, as well as the current balance in the account.
To see the current balance in your Health Care Spending Account, visit the Manulife Financial website and sign in. Once logged in, click on "My Benefits", then the link that says HCSA Balance. You will see amount deposited in current year, claims paid, and your current balance.
Submitting a HCSA Claim
The best way to make many claims is to log onto the Manulife secure website. Manulife is the administrator of the HCSA. You will have to register online, if you haven't yet done so. You can also make a claim using the Group Benefits Extended Health Care Claim Form, also available on the Manulife self-service website, and in hard copy from Human Resource Services in Room 4159, Support Services Building.
Here are a few tips:
- You can submit claims at any time in the year, but all claims must be received by Manulife no later than March 31st of the year following the year in which the expenses have been incurred (i.e. March 31, 2020 for expenses incurred in 2019).
- Before making claims under your HCSA, you are required to make claims under your regular benefits program - the Extended Health and Dental plans. You will see a box you can check that says "Check here to use your Health Care Spending Account (HCSA) to reimburse any unpaid portion of this claim."
- You should also co-ordinate any available coverage from a spouse's health or dental plan before using your HCSA credits to take advantage of the maximum coverage available to you.
Submitting a PER Claim
The quickest way to obtain reimbursement for your PER claim is to submit an online claim form. The following links provide step-by-step instructions on how to submit a PER claim online:
- Instructions for submitting a PER claim online
- Video on how to create an online Professional Expense Claim
Once you have submitted the claim online, print the PER cover page and forward it, along with your original receipts to your Chair, Director, Dean, or Vice-President. Once the Chair, Director, Dean or Vice-President approves the claim online, forward the PER cover page, along with original receipts to Financial Services, Room 6100, Support Services Building.
When the cover page and receipts are received by Financial Services, your claim will be processed and funds will be directly deposited to your bank account. You will receive an e-mail notification to your @uwo email address when this transaction has occurred.
You can also continue to submit a paper claim for your PER by following the instructions below.
- Download a copy of the applicable form from the Financial Services Forms page, found under the heading Professional Expense Reimbursement (PER).
- Complete, sign and submit the form and receipts to your supervisor for approval. Once the claim form is signed return the form, along with original receipts to Financial Services, Room 6100, Support Services Building. Claims will be processed as soon as possible and directly deposited to your bank account. You will receive an e-mail notification to your @uwo email address when this transaction has occurred.
Eligible Expenses and Conditions
The HCSA, the PER and the Flex Credits are all non-taxable benefits to you, however there are some limitations imposed by the Income Tax Act and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) including carry-over and other provisions.
Flex Credits: The allocation of flex credits must be made in advance of the calendar year in which the expenses are expected to be incurred.
HCSA Eligible Expenses: The Canada Revenue Agency governs the expenses that can be claimed using your HCSA, as they are the same expenses that can be claimed for the medical expense tax credit on your income tax return. A list of eligible expenses can be found on the CRA website. Note that if you receive a HCSA reimbursement for an expense, you cannot also claim the CRA medical expense tax credit for the same expense.
PER Eligible Expenses: The following expenses incurred by staff members are eligible for reimbursement:
- Memberships in professional associations (excluding PMA memberships);
- Registrations to conferences;
- Course tuition (may be covered under Education Assistance Policy 6.9, please consult Human Resources);
- Computer software and equipment (related to the staff member's work);
- Travel expenses related to professional development (transportation, accommodation, meals);
- Subscriptions (excluding newspapers), journals, books related directly to the individual's role at Western.
- Supplies (related to the staff member's work), ink cartridges, course textbooks, Internet access, etc.;
- Equipment - computers, printers, scanners, monitors, electronic organizers, upgrades of Western owned equipment
Note: To be eligible, equipment must be used primarily for work purposes. Furniture and upgrades to personal computers are not eligible. Upgrades to University-owned computers are acceptable. Personal use of equipment should be incidental, less than 10%. The reimbursement must purchase the equipment outright without contribution from the Member.
There must be sufficient funds in the Member’s PER account to cover the full cost of the equipment. All equipment purchased is the property of Western University. Equipment is not eligible for reimbursement within 12 months of retirement or the end of a Member’s contract.
Want more information about any of these accounts? You may find what you are looking for in the FAQ.
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