Benefit Update: Changes for 2020 and 2021 Reimbursement Accounts

 March 1, 2021

TO:Vice Presidents, Vice Provosts, Deans, Directors, Department Heads, and Managers
FROM:Kyle Cavanaugh, Vice President, Administration
RE:Benefit Update: Changes for 2020 and 2021 Reimbursement Accounts

Duke is adopting new provisions available through the recently passed Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA) that will allow faculty and staff greater flexibility in using remaining 2020 balances and making changes to 2021 elections for Duke’s healthcare reimbursement account and dependent care reimbursement account.

The CAA allows employers to temporarily adopt provisions that let employees carry over the full balance of their unused 2020 healthcare and dependent care reimbursement accounts for payment of 2021 expenses. Additional provisions of the Act give employees greater flexibility in making prospective, mid-year changes to both of these accounts.

These changes help address concerns we have heard from participants in both programs about typical health and daycare services that were either unavailable or deferred during 2020 due to the pandemic. This resulted in larger unused 2020 account balances, funded by faculty and staff pre-tax earnings, which otherwise would have been forfeited due to the “use-it-or-lose-it” rule ordinarily required under the Internal Revenue Code. They also allow participants to make adjustments to this year’s elections based on unanticipated needs related to the impact of the ongoing pandemic.

Faculty and staff who participated in a health or dependent care reimbursement account in 2020 will receive an email later today with more information and specific instructions for how to take advantage of these changes. Thank you.