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myHR: June 6, 2012

Do You Still Have Money in Your Flexible Spending Account?

If you have an unused balance in your Health Care or Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA), you should keep some important dates in mind. Due to an IRS regulation known as “Use It or Lose It”, if you don’t use the full balance in your account each plan year, you lose that unused money.

Penn’s plan year runs from July 1–June 30 of each year. The money you contribute to the Flexible Spending Accounts during each plan year can only be used for expenses incurred within certain dates (see below). Keep in mind that the expenses must be incurred while you are actively participating in the accounts.

FSA Account Plan Year Time Frame to Incur Expenses Deadline to Submit Claims
FY12 Health Care and Dependent Care July 1, 2011–June 30, 2012 (current plan year) July 1, 2011–Sept. 15, 2012 Sept. 30, 2012
FY13 Health Care July 1, 2012–June 30, 2013 (new plan year) July 1, 2012–June 30, 2013 Sept. 30, 2013
FY13 Dependent Care July 1, 2012–June 30, 2013 (new plan year) July 1, 2012–Sept. 15, 2013 Sept. 30, 2013

If you enrolled in the Aetna High Deductible Health Plan with a Health Savings Account (HSA) during this year’s Open Enrollment period, using up your Health Care Flexible Spending Account is even more important than ever. When your new medical plan takes effect on July 1, 2012, you won’t be able to participate in the HSA portion of the plan unless your Health Care Flexible Spending Account is completely exhausted. If you don’t use up your balance by June 30, 2012, your HSA account won’t be available until October 1, 2012. Visit the Human Resources website for more information about the Aetna High Deductible Health Plan.

For more details on Flexible Spending Accounts, including listings of eligible expenses and instructions on how to file a claim, visit the Human Resources website or call the Penn Benefits Center at 1-888-PENNBEN (1-888-736-6236), Monday through Friday, 8am–6pm.


Become a Microsoft Office Whiz

There’s a lot to learn when it comes to Microsoft Office. From Word documents and Excel reports to PowerPoint presentations and Outlook shortcuts, wouldn’t it be nice to master these programs and be more productive at work? Well now you can!

Join us this month for a series of online webinars that’ll help you become a Microsoft Office pro. You’ll get an in-depth look at a variety of programs that’ll save you time and enhance your work performance.

  • Microsoft Office Excel 2007 Techniques—June 13: Learn advanced features such as data manipulation, tracking and editing changes and creating templates.

  • Microsoft Word 2007 Techniques—June 13: Create professional documents using bookmarks, hyperlinks, charts and graphs, and see how to generate a table of contents and index.

  • Microsoft Project 2007 Techniques—June 14: Enhance your project management skills, from organizing your tasks and calendar to updating your project timeline.

  • Microsoft Office 2010 Tips and Tricks Crash Course—June 19: Discover shortcuts for handling your email in Outlook; become a pro at building templates in PowerPoint; get advanced styling and formatting tips for Word; and see how to create lists and reports in Excel.


Hear About Saving for Retirement from “People Like Me”

Saving for retirement is one of the most important things you can do to secure a comfortable financial future for you and your family. So if you haven’t joined Penn’s retirement plans yet, what’s holding you back?

There could be a variety of reasons: you need cash for other things right now, you’re not sure how to invest, you think retirement’s too far away, or—on the flip side—you think it’s too late to start saving.

Watch this video from Vanguard’s People like me® series to hear what real people have to say about their own retirement savings. You’ll also hear why the retirement experts at Vanguard say it’s easy to save, how much they recommend you save, and more.

Then, consider joining Penn’s retirement plans today. You can sign up on your own through Penn’s website, or meet with trained counselors from both TIAA-CREF and Vanguard who can walk you through the process.


Penn to Provide Tax Offset for Same-Sex Partners

The University of Pennsylvania has offered benefit coverage to the same-sex domestic partners of our faculty and staff for nearly 20 years.

All of our faculty and staff currently pay for healthcare coverage on a pre-tax basis. But federal and Pennsylvania state tax codes don’t recognize domestic partners as dependents for tax purposes. That means if you’re covering a domestic partner under Penn’s benefit plans, you pay taxes on the value of the benefit extended to your partner.

To help offset these taxes, Penn will provide up to $125 per month (minus applicable taxes) to faculty and staff covering same-sex domestic partners under our medical plans as of July 1, 2012. This offset—up to a maximum of $1,500 per year—will appear as additional taxable income in your paycheck beginning in late July.

Penn strives to provide comprehensive health coverage for all faculty and staff and your eligible dependents, and we have a long history of supporting our LGBT community. We were the first Ivy League institution and among the first Mid-Atlantic Region employers to include same-sex domestic partners in our benefits coverage. And now we’re among the first universities to provide this tax offset.

For more information, click here. Affected employees will receive a letter with more information. If you have any questions, please contact the Penn Benefits Center at 1-888-PENNBEN (1-888-736-6236).