COVID-19 Pandemic: Option to Terminate Health Care, Dependent Care, Parking, and Mass Transit Flexible Spending Accounts

Please note: As of June 25, 2020, termination requests for the Health Care, Dependent Care, Parking, and Mass Transit Flexible Spending Accounts due to closures caused by COVID-19 are no longer being accepted. Regular qualified status change requests will be processed as normal.

Due to COVID-19, the Benefits Department is allowing the termination of Health Care, Dependent Care, Parking, and Mass Transit Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) due to closures caused by COVID-19 for April - June 2020. Please note: if you have spent your full year's FSA balance, you cannot make changes to your FSAs and you cannot terminate your accounts.

If you have a University Parking Lease that you would like to suspend, you should contact University Parking Services. The Benefits Department is not able to suspend or cancel your parking lease.

If you would like to terminate your elections for this plan year for one, some, or all of these particular FSAs:

  1. Fill out the status change form detailing that you are unable to use the funds due to closures related to COVID-19.

  2. Fill out the appropriate benefits election form, and ensure that the appropriate FSA in which you would like to suspend displays a $0 (zero dollar) value.

    • Select the benefits election form appropriate for your employment type at the University.

  3. Submit an inquiry to the Benefits Department to start the submission procession (once you are contacted by a Benefits representative, you will be able to submit your completed forms).

FSA Termination Schedule for May 2020

Employee Type Submit-By Date* Effective Date
Bi-weekly May 15, 2020 May 1, 2020
UPP2 Docs May 14, 2020 May 1, 2020
Monthly May 18, 2020 May 1, 2020

*These dates are based on payroll schedules. Any forms submitted after these dates will have an effective date of June 1, 2020.

FSA Termination Schedule for June 2020

Employee Type Submit-By Date** Effective Date
Bi-weekly June 12, 2020 June 1, 2020
UPP2 Docs June 16, 2020 June 1, 2020
Monthly June 18, 2020 June 1, 2020

**These dates are based on payroll schedules. Any forms submitted after these dates will not be processed. Please note: the Health Care FSA has a $550 rollover if they account is kept active.

Questions about these FSAs should be directed to the Benefits Department.

Note: The Health Care, Dependent Care, Parking, and/or Mass Transit FSA must be terminated entirely in order to stop payroll deductions. If you wish to use these accounts in the future, you must re-enroll during the annual Open Enrollment period for coverage effective July 1, 2020 or if you experience a Qualified Status Change (you must submit a Qualified Status Change within 60 days of the event and with any necessary supporting documentation).


Can I stop my deductions due to COVID-19 closing my childcare facility, health facility and/or office causing me to not be able to use the funds I contributed to my Dependent Care, Parking, Mass Transit and Health Care spending account(s)?

Yes, all FSAs can be terminated effective April 1, 2020 stopping contributions for April – June (end of current benefits plan year). Once the accounts are terminated, they can no longer be used. You have the option of re-enrolling during the Open Enrollment period. Re-enrolled accounts are effective with the new plan year beginning July 1, 2020.

In order to terminate any FSAs, what forms do I need to fill out?

Both the Benefits Enrollment form and Change in Status form are necessary to complete the FSA termination. The Change in Status form should note the reason as “unable to use funds due to closures related to COVID-19.”

Terminations of accounts are effective on the first of month that the request and subsequent forms are received. For example, forms received by the Benefits Department on April 14, 2020 mean the termination of the account is effective as of April 1, 2020. Forms received anytime in May, means the account is terminated effective May 1, 2020, etc.

Form submission dates may align with payroll cut-off dates, which may require an adjustment for the suspension. The Benefits Department will work with the individuals whom this affects.

How do I submit the forms to terminate any of my FSAs since the Benefits Department and all OHR is working remotely?

To submit your forms and related documentation, please contact the Benefits Department to begin the process. Once you are contacted by a Benefits representative, you may submit your completed form(s) and documentation as long as they do not include a full nine (9) digit social security number. The Benefits Department will advise you on the most appropriate submission practice. Once your documentation has been received, you will receive a confirmation email.

If I terminate my FSA account, can I still access the monies that I contributed?

Claims can still be processed against the FSA, but they need to be for services conducted prior to the FSA closure date. For example, if you elected to terminate your FSA for an April 1, 2020 closure, all claims need to be from March 31, 2020 or prior. Monies cannot be spent on claims or services conducted after the effective termination date.

When can I reopen my account?

You can re-enroll during the annual Benefits Open Enrollment period. Re-enrolled accounts are effective with the new plan year beginning July 1, 2020.

Does the amount I contribute when I re-enroll have to be the same as when I terminated my account?

No, you can elect a new amount to contribute.

How much of my Health Care flexible spending account rolls over to the new plan year?

Currently, $500 will roll over to the new plan year if you keep your plan active. At this time, as determined by the IRS, if you terminate your account, no funds will roll over.

If I already spent the monies that were in my FSA, can I terminate my account?

No, if you have already spent your full year’s balance, you cannot make any change to your FSAs, and you cannot terminate your accounts.

Can I suspend my University Parking lease deductions during this time?

The University Benefits Department does not oversee University Parking Leases. Please contact the Parking Office to inquire on your lease deduction at by calling 412-624-4032 or emailing

How can I check the balance of my flexible spending account?

Instructions on how to check your flexible spending account balance, as well as how to submit claims for reimbursement are on the OHR website. If you have any issues or need additional guidance, please contact UPMC Member Services at 1-888-499-6885 (select option 1, then select option 1 again for flexible spending accounts).

What relief did the CARES Act provide for flexible spending accounts?

  • OTC products as eligible expenses: The CARES Act permanently reinstated over-the-counter products as eligible expenses for Health Savings Account (HSA), Flexible Spending Account (FSA), and Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) funds without a prescription. This reverses laws put in place by the Affordable Care Act nearly 10 years ago, which stated that those expenses were only eligible for reimbursement with a prescription. This change takes place retroactive to January 1, 2020.
  • Menstrual care included as eligible:  Menstrual care products were added as eligible expenses as part of the legislation. That means employees can now use their HSA, FSA and HRA funds to purchase items such as tampons, pads and menstrual sponges. This change also takes place retroactive to January 1, 2020.

Additional Notes:

  1. UPMC Health Plan’s FSA platform vendor is not yet programmed to accommodate these changes at a retail level. Online claim submittals through the Consumer Advantage app or website, as well are paper claim forms, for OTC and menstrual products are being accepted.
  2. While merchant’s systems are still being updated to accept debit card transactions for OTC medications, your UPMC Consumer Advantage card may still be declined at the retail store point-of-sale.  As a reminder, FSA Store in partnership with UPMC Consumer Advantage can be utilized for these types of purchases.   The easiest way to access FSA Store is through your UPMC Consumer Advantage portal via  You also have the option to submit online or paper claims for these medications/items.