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Jesse Gelsomini Warns Flex Money May Not Cover Certain Medical Office Services
Testing Flex Money Limits
The IRS hasn't officially weighed in. Neither has Congress. But it looks as if most - if not all - of the annual retainers people are paying for special attention from their doctors is not reimbursable under flexible spending accounts.
Flexible accounts allow employees to set aside a portion of their income before taxes for medical expenses not covered by insurance. The catch: If any of the flex money is left at the end of the year, it goes to the employer.
"It's kind of a gray area, basically," said Jesse Gelsomini, an employment lawyer who specializes in employee benefits at Haynes and Boone in Houston.
"Are you paying for medical care or to get you to the front of the line?" Gelsomini asked. "I think the short answer is that flexible spending account administrators won't go out on a limb on this absent a directive from the IRS."
In any event, he cautioned, employees should contact their flexible spending administrator to get an opinion before signing concierge contracts or making their annual flex account commitment.
This article has been excerpted from Houston Chronicle. To view the full text, click here.