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Flexible Benefits

Use flexible spending accounts to pay for health care and dependent care while saving money on your taxes. An FSA allows you to pay certain expenses from your pre-tax income rather than after-tax income. The maximum amount you can contribute to an FSA is set by the Internal Revenue Service. The limits are subject to change yearly, and your employer may set a lower limit than the maximum allowed by the IRS.

APSU offers three different types of flexible spending accounts: a medical FSA, a limited purpose FSA, and a dependent care FSA. Learn more about each different type below or by viewing the Quick facts document.

Annual limit - $2,850 Carryover limit - $570


Used to pay for certain medical, dental, vision and prescription costs not covered by your insurance. You do NOT qualify for a medical FSA if you are enrolled in the CDHP/HSA. Up to $500 of your unused FSA balance can be carried over into the next plan year instead of you “losing it.” You cannot enroll in both a medical FSA and L-FSA in the same year.

Annual limit - $2,850 Carryover limit - $570


May only be used to pay for certain dental and vision costs not covered by insurance. For employees enrolled in the CDHP/HSA, the L-FSA is a great way to save tax-free on eligible vision and dental expenses while continuing to grow your HSA balanceYou cannot enroll in both a medical FSA and L-FSA in the same year.

Annual limit - $5,000 (or $2,500 if married and filing a separate tax return). No carryover amount allowed. Any remaining funds on December 31 are forfeited.


Used to pay for certain dependent-care costs, such as after school care, baby-sitting fees, adult or child daycare and preschool. Certain requirements must be met by the eligible employee and/or his or her spouse. For details, review the governing Plan Document located on the Publications page.

Important! You cannot enroll in both a medical FSA and L-FSA in the same year.


Availability of Funds: 

  • Employees who enroll in a medical FSA or L-FSA during annual enrollment will have their full election amount available to them the first week of January, or within approximately 3-4 weeks after they enroll. 
  • DC-FSA funds are only available as they are taken from your paycheck; your full election amount is not available up front. You can only file claims for dependent care if you have a sufficient amount in your account to pay for them. You may not file claims for a future date.



Optum Bank debit cards

  • Medical FSA and L-FSA members will get a debit card to use their funds at the pharmacy and provider's office, making it quick and easy to pay your deductible, copays and coinsurance.
  • Optum Financial will send all newly-enrolled medical FSA and L- FSA participants a debit card. New hires and those newly enrolled will receive a debit card within 3-4 weeks of enrollment. You may order additional debit cards for your dependents (cost may apply) by logging into your account at optumbank.com/Tennessee > Click on your account type on the left side of the screen on the words “Account Overview” >  I want to >  Manage Debit Cards > Request Replacement -OR- you may call customer care 24/7 at 866-600-4984 to order a debit card.
  • You can use your debit card at pharmacies, doctor’s offices and other health care facilities to pay from your account.
  • If you enroll in the CDHP/HSA and an L-FSA, the same debit card will work for both accounts. Optum Financial will take any dental or vision expenses from your L-FSA “purse” on the debit card before using any of your HSA funds. This allows your HSA funds to continue to grow.
  • If you currently have an HSA with a debit card and plan to enroll in an L-FSA, you will use the same debit card for both your HSA and L-FSA eligible purchases.
  • Dependent care FSA participants will not use a debit card.
  • You should keep all health, dental and vision insurance explanations of benefits when using the debit card to pay for eligible health care expenses. Optum Financial may contact you later and request them.

If you don’t respond to requests from Optum Financial to provide documentation for a debit card purchase, your card may be deactivated and the expense reported to your employer for inclusion on your W2 as a taxable expense or turned over to a collection agency.

Optum Bank accounts

If you enrolled in a medical FSA or L-FSA, you should go online at optumbank.com/Tennessee to create an account and register your new debit card to pay many of your medical expenses that are not already covered by insurance. After creating your account, you can review your claims activity, upload documentation, provide claims substantiation (if requested), order an additional debit card and see your account balances.

If you are enrolled in a DC-FSA only, you cannot use a debit card, but you can create an online Optum Financial account to see your DC-FSA account balance, claims and activity.

You can order an additional Optum Financial card, your account debit card, once you log in at optumbank.com/Tennessee. New users will need to register first.


Click here for instructions on how to receive reimbursements for claims for your medical, limited purpose, dependent care and transportation and parking.