Just to verify that madsky101-ga's answer is correct, I thought I
would point out a couple of sites that should help you with any
lingering doubts you may have.
Having gone through this same battle myself a couple of years ago with
my husband?s benefits department, I certainly understand the logic you
are following in thinking that expenses that were incurred during the
calendar year that you began the FSA (even though they were prior to
the initiation of the plan) seem like they should be eligible,
especially since this is basically a tax issue and taxes are based on
a calendar year, etc.
Well, much to my disappointment, I learned from the Human
Resources/Benefits Manager (in no uncertain terms I might add) that
the requirement for eligibility for reimbursable expenses boils down
to: "?if you are not contributing to a Medical Reimbursement FSA
during the time the expense was incurred, then it is not eligible for
Even with that pronouncement from the Human Resource Department gurus,
I still had to find the wording of the law that made this true. Well,
much to my chagrin, I did find the legal wording; and, yes, the gurus
were once again correct.
The following excerpt from a federal/state law clarification site
pinpoints the specific wording that explains why the expenses incurred
prior to your initiating the plan not eligible for reimbursement.
?Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) are also offered under cafeteria
plans and generally consist of either a Medical Reimbursement account
or a Dependent Care Reimbursement account. A reimbursement account
allows an employee to set aside funds on a pre-tax basis for later
reimbursement of medical or dependent care expenses on a tax-free
basis. However, premiums for health insurance may not be reimbursed
under a Medical Reimbursement FSA. Expenses reimbursed through an FSA
must be incurred during the participant's period of coverage under the
FSA, which may not exceed 12 months. Any participant in a cafeteria
plan must forfeit any unused money to the plan at the end of the
Also, at the same site:
??As stated under "Federal/State Law" an FSA is a reimbursement
account that allows an employee to set aside funds on a pre-tax basis
for later reimbursement of expenses incurred during the participant's
period of coverage under the FSA.?
Note: You need acrobat reader to open this site
If you are interested in reading more specifics about the Flexible
Spending Accounts, the following link leads to an article from
Taxplanet.com that is outstanding:
I hope this helps.