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Q.) What is a Cafeteria Plan?
A.) Simply put, a Cafeteria Plan is a vehicle that employers can use to help their employees pay for qualified expenses with pre-tax dollars. A section 125, or "Cafeteria" plan allows employees to set aside a portion of their salary (before taxes), and then use the pre-tax funds to pay for certain medical care, dependent care, and parking and transit expenses. A cafeteria plan is a proven method to save you money!

Q.) Why participate in a Cafeteria Plan?
A.) The greatest benefit of a cafeteria plan is that it is flexible; you only pay for benefits that you really want. This pick and choose feature is why the program is called a "Cafeteria Plan". And since you're paying for these benefits with pre-tax dollars, your taxable income is reduced. This reduction in taxable income will significantly increase the percentage of your take home pay.

Q.)Where can I use my debit card?
A.)Starting July 1, 2009, the IRS requires that merchants use what is called IIAS technology. This technology looks at the barcodes of each individual item you purchase to determine whether or not it is an eligible expense. If the merchant you shop at does not have IIAS technology in place, you will need to use another form of payment and submit a manual claim (or go to a different merchant). For an updated list of merchants that are IIAS compliant, click HERE.

Q.) What expenses are eligible under a Cafeteria Plan?
A.) A Cafeteria Plan can only be used to pay for eligible medical and dependent care expenses. Eligible medical expenses include co-pays for prescriptions and doctor's office visits, and many over-the-counter medicines (starting in 2012, OTC medicines must be accompanied by a note from an MD, stating that the OTC meds are medically necessary). Eligible Dependent Care expenses include care for dependent children under the age of 13, and care for a disabled spouse or dependent of regardless of age. Please visit the IRS Publications section of our web site for a list of eligible expenses. Click here.

Q.) How much can I set aside for Cafeteria Plan expenses?
A.) Your employer generally sponsors your Cafeteria Plan, and thus sets the monetary limit on your Medical Cafeteria account. The IRS has set an annual limit for your Dependent Care Cafeteria account of $5,000 when married and filing a joint tax return, or $2500 when single or married filing separate tax returns.

Q.) What happens if I don't use the funds I've set aside in my employer's Cafeteria Plan?
A.) Per IRS regulations, a Cafeteria Plan is a "Use It or Lose It" benefit. This means that you have until the end of the plan year to use the funds you've set aside in your employer's Cafeteria Plan. Any funds that haven't been spent by the end of the year are forfeited.

Q.) How do I access my account information?
A.) You can check your balance, claim history, and other important information regarding your Cafeteria Plan by logging on to http://www.benxco.com/participants_cafeteria.html. Just click on "Manage Your Account".

Q.) Can I change my Cafeteria Plan election mid-year?
A.) Once the plan year has begun, you generally cannot change your election unless you experience a status change event. A status change event, as defined by the IRS is any of the below:
  • A change in the employee's marital status
  • A change in number of dependents
  • A change in employment status
  • A dependent's satisfying or ceasing to satisfy dependent eligibility requirements

Q.) Do I still need to send in receipts to substantiate my claim?
A.) You will not need to provide substantiation for purchases made at participating IIAS merchants with your Ben-X debit card. In rare circumstances, you may be asked to provide a receipt. Please hold on to all receipts. If you make a purchase with an alternate form of payment for an eligible expense and you need reimbursement, fill out a claim form available on our website. Substantiation is required for all manual claims. Acceptable substantiation is documentation for the expense that provides the date and type of service. Usually, a detailed receipt from the merchant will provide all of these details.