Straight from an HR manager

John at Romantic Ramblings is an HR manager in real life, and has put up a post with some information on how Flexible Spending Accounts can work to an employer’s benefit. The main criteria: whether or not your out-of-pocket medical expenses are predictable.

[tags] Flexible Spending Accounts [/tags]

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8 Responses to Straight from an HR manager

  1. What a summary! Right on; and you said it in about 2% of the words I needed to say the same thing!


  2. Kay says:

    I’m not sure what that means, but it sounds naughty.

  3. Deb says:

    I have been doing the flex spending for four years, and haven’t had any problem with it. I do a conservative estimate and haven’t had to forfeit any $$ at the end of the year. I do my fitness membership for the YMCA, which is $700 per year. I wish I had had the flex spending back when I used to have to pay for childcare.

    I do get your point though, Kirsen, about this not being a solution for the problem of accessible and affordable health care in this country. It’s still my money I’m spending on the higher co-pays for precriptions and all the things that are not covered by my insurance (my son’s glasses, for example). It’s also interesting that the employer gets the unspent money! I didn’t realize that!

    If I did end up with unspent money at the end of the year, I would buy Jeff a spare pair of glasses. One year he lost his glasses but we had already spent our flex money, so I told him he had to wait until after January 1st to get a new pair! (He does have contacts though so I wasn’t totally making my kids go around blind!)

  4. Kirsten says:

    Hi, Deb,

    I ended up opting in to our program with a very conservative contribution.

    As far as healthcare costs, I hope someday to get my head around that. My hunch is that at bottom it’s got something to do with how we value health/life and also use money as a proxy for value; somehow combined with modern technology & drugs we’ve turned out a mischevious brew. Certainly the providers are getting squeezed; hospitals are struggling to just break even, a lot of them, and I don’t begrudge the high salaries MDs get — I think I should be paying them more than I pay the gal who waits on my table at Applebee’s.

    By the same token, insurance shields us from the sticker shock that might really wake people up. I got a bill by mistake from ViaHealth, which runs clinical blood testing services here in Roch — they billed me instead of my insurance company. I was astonished at how high the bill was — for those few minutes before I realized the bill was a mistake, it hit home how damned expensive their services are. Does that mean their services aren’t worth it? In some cases, the answer is probably “yes” — meaning, if I were always responsible for the entire amount, I might be a bit more selective; I might push my doctor to see whether all the tests were really necessary etc. Is there a cheaper way.

    OTOH the human body is mind-bogglingly complex, and it’s like we’re only just beginning to understand how to understand it, at a biomolecular level. So all our medicine today is in effect “early adaptor” medicine, and so has a really high price tag.

    Ugh, I’m rambling, have to stop!

  5. Deb says:

    I don’t understand what you mean by early adaptor, so I’m asking you to “ramble” some more on that!

  6. Kirsten says:

    It’s a bit of biz jargon, Deb. Although I misspelled it, should be adopter.

    Someone who needs to be the first to have a new gadget is an early adopter. They spend a premium and suffer any bugs that haven’t been worked out yet.

  7. Deb says:

    Learn something new every day.

  8. Kirsten says:


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