Monday, March 19, 2007

Head go boom now -- FSA reimbursements

March 31 is the deadline for claiming money from your 2006 flexible spending account, and I'm still trying to dredge back the last $26.65 of mine that Wageworks is clinging to with a deathgrip.

When we last left the saga, Wageworks was declining to pay any of my "pay me back" submissions, instead using any receipts I sent for reimbursement to clear the backlog of charges I'd put on my FSA Visa debit card but had not sent verification receipts in to cover (because I didn't realise they wanted verification receipts.)

I've long since lost receipts for most of the things I'd initially charged on the FSA card. However, Wageworks lets you file "substitute receipts" -- you submit one for any valid expense you haven't previously funneled through the FSA, and it swaps that over and clears the verification backlog. Fine. We had more than enough medical expenses last year for me to pull up documentation on a substitute expense.

So I had David procure a receipt for one of his medical visits and sent that off to Wageworks last month, with the verification form and the little "substitute receipt" tickybox all checked off. The total outstanding amount of charges needing verification (there are two or three) is $24.97. The amount left in my FSA is $26.65. So, total of $51.62. I sent a receipt for $80, figuring they would clear the backlog, refund me the balance of my account, and call it all done.

But lo, a month has ticked by, with no money flooding into my coffers and no logged activity on my online "track my account activity" dashboard. So, this afternoon, I summoned the willpower to call again and inquire.

It seems that the Bureaucratic Powers That Be do not automatically link charge verification paperwork and "pay me back" claims -- except when it works in their favor to do so.

A charge I filed for "pay me back" can be rerouted to clear a verification backlog, but a receipt submitted for verification won't automatically refund me for the additional amount beyond the backlog.

Not only that, but it won't trickle over to other charges awaiting verification. I only checked the little tickeybox on the card verification form once, next to one of the charges. Since the receipt covered an amount greater than all the charges, I assumed it would carry through and clear them all.

Nope. Resubmit with all the boxes checked, suggested the rep.

Arugh. But we had also just established that clearing the verification backlog wouldn't get me my refund ...

After 15 very convoluted minutes, we appear to have determined that resending my $80 receipt, this time with a Pay Me Back form, will clear the backlog and trigger my refund. Apparently. I have only the rep's assurances to go on that the receipt won't be kicked back entirely, since they've already seen it once.

Eleven days left to sort it out. At this point, it's the principle of the matter motivating me. I don't want this bureaucratic custer@%^! to keep my money!

And I am really glad I have a different FSA (well, HSA) provider this year. Let's see if Amex is less complication to work with than Wageworks.