NOTE: This information is only current as of Jul 21, 2017. Please visit asebp.ca for the most up-to-date information.

Spending Accounts

Health and wellness spending accounts are offered at the request of employers as a flexible complement to your regular group benefits. If you are unsure whether you have a health and/or wellness spending account or what package you’re enrolled in, check the Coverage section on My ASEBP or on your ASEBP ID card on the My ASEBP Mobile App under Health Spending Account or Wellness Spending Account.

Note that the following is an interpretation of the official, legally binding ASEBP insurance policies and plan documents available through your employer or by contacting us.

What's covered?

Health Spending Account (HSA)

If you have an HSA, your employer will allocate credits (dollars) into your account annually that you can use to pay for eligible expenses that aren’t fully covered under your ASEBP or provincial health care insurance plan. Your HSA also provides you with a tax advantage by using tax-free dollars to pay for eligible expenses. 

Eligible Expenses

Generally speaking, if a medical expense is eligible for reimbursement through your benefit plan with ASEBP, then it is eligible for your HSA. The majority of medical expenses that qualify for an HSA fall under this category. Note that you must exhaust all your provincial health care insurance and other benefit plan coverage options before your expense is eligible for reimbursement under the HSA.

While ASEBP is not in a position to confirm the exact expenses allowable under the Income Tax Act of Canada, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) does provide a list of eligible medical expenses based on their interpretation of the Act on their website. Note that the Income Tax Act of Canada also determines the criteria for eligible dependants for HSA expenses, and the CRA includes a definition on their website. For questions about what’s covered under your HSA or dependant eligibility, please contact the CRA

For information about submitting an HSA expense, see Submitting a Claim.

Credits and Expense Payments

Package 1: HSA credits are deposited into your account at a frequency determined by your employer (e.g. monthly, quarterly, etc.). Eligible expenses will be processed every two business days and, under normal circumstances, you can expect payment within a week of your claim submission as long as you have enough credits available to cover the expense.

Package 2: HSA credits are deposited into your account annually at the beginning of the plan year (September 1), and expenses are paid semi-annually. Eligible expenses will be reimbursed up to the maximum amount of your available credits within 30 days of the submission deadlines, which are February 28/29 and October 30. 

Submission Deadlines 

At the end of the plan year, which runs from September 1 to August 31, you have an additional 60 days (September 1 to October 30) to submit any expenses that were incurred during the previous plan year. (E.g. if you have an expense from September 1, 2017, you will have until October 30, 2018, to submit it to your HSA.)

Once this 60-day run-off period has ended, you can no longer submit any expenses for that plan year as expenses cannot be carried forward into subsequent plan years. 

After the October 30 submission deadline, any unused HSA credits will be carried forward for one plan year. If you do not use these credits in the second plan year, they will be forfeited back to your employer.

For information about submitting an HSA expense, see Submitting a Claim.

Wellness Spending Account (WSA)

If a WSA is included as part of your group benefits, your employer can allocate credits (dollars) into your account (if you have allocated to your WSA) every year that you can use to pay for wellness-related expenses, as outlined below. Your WSA reimburses expenses that are not covered under your general health benefit plan or your HSA. Note that reimbursed WSA expenses are taxable. Our WSA program is currently in the pilot phase, approved until August 31, 2019.

Eligible Expenses

Eligible expenses for WSA include the following four expense categories. 

Health Support, Fitness and Sports Activities and Equipment

This category covers expenses that support the overall well-being and physical health of you and your family. Types of covered expenses include:

  • Monthly or annual fitness centre fees, sports league/facility fees (e.g. the YMCA, Spa Lady, etc.)
  • Instructed classes at a fitness facility (e.g. aerobics classes, yoga, Tai Chi, etc.), drop-in fees or passes
  • Certified instruction for a physical activity in excess of facility fees (e.g. a personal trainer, Canskate Program for Adults, etc.)
  • Home exercise fitness equipment (e.g. treadmills, stationary bikes, weights, etc.)
  • Wellness-related programs like weight and nutrition counselling programs (e.g. a nutrition or meal plan purchase, membership fees, etc.) and smoking cessation programs (e.g. fees for seminars, support programs, etc.)
  • Alternative healing therapies not covered by your group benefits or HSA (e.g. stress management programs, hydrotherapy, etc.)
  • Sports equipment required for a physical activity (e.g. skis, helmets, hockey equipment, etc.)

Family Care

This category assists you with expenses for your dependants. Types of covered expenses include:

  • Child care fees for services provided by someone other than a direct family member, such as:
    • Day/Home care
    • Nannies
    • After-school care programs (excluding additional costs related to activities such as sport clubs, field trips, etc.)
  • Home and eldercare—Medical and/or non-medical expenses related to the care of a dependant, child, spouse or parent, such as:
    • Medical products/supplies (e.g. drugs/supplements, walkers, medical beds, etc.)
    • Non-medical products (e.g. lifts, home installed supportive aids, air filtration products, guide dogs, caregiver guides, etc.)
    • Eldercare counselling
    • Homecare assistance
    • Transportation
    • Caregiver support programs
    • Respite/Holiday and/or weekend care
    • Retirement/Nursing homes
    • Day programs
    • Long-term care facilities
    • Rehabilitation centre
    • Nursing care
    • Emergency care

Transportation

This category is intended to cover expenses associated with commuting to work. Types of covered expenses include:

  • Transit passes
  • Monthly parking fees

Professional Development, Professional Development Travel and Computer Products

This category is intended to financially assist you in pursuing professional development through continuing education. This category can also be used to reimburse you for your eligible dependant’s expenses. Types of expenses covered include:

  • Courses, seminars, conferences or classes provided by an accredited educational institution and related to professional development
  • Books or texts required for a course, seminar, conference or class
  • Professional journals and subscriptions directly related to the enhancement of skills, job competencies, etc.
  • Professional fees or registrations and/or voluntary association fees related to your career 
  • Course travel
  • Computers, hardware, repairs, maintenance and upgrades
  • Cell phones and tablets
  • Business-related software, internet services, etc.

Credits and Expense Payments

Package 1: WSA credits are deposited into your account at a frequency determined by your employer (e.g. monthly, quarterly, etc.). Eligible expenses are processed every two business days and, under normal circumstances, you can expect payment within a week of your claim submission as long as you have enough credits available to cover the expense.

Package 2: WSA credits are deposited into your account annually and expenses will be paid semi-annually. Eligible expenses will be reimbursed up to the maximum amount of your available credits within 30 days of the submission deadlines (February 28/29 and October 30). 

Submission Deadlines

At the end of the plan year, which runs from September 1 to August 31, you have an additional 60 days (September 1 to October 30) to submit any expenses that were incurred during the previous plan year. (E.g. if you have an expense from February 6, 2017, you will have until October 30, 2017, to submit it to your WSA.)

Once this 60-day run-off period has ended, you can no longer submit any expenses for that plan year as expenses cannot be carried forward into subsequent plan years. 

After the October 30 submission deadline, any unused WSA credits will be carried forward for one plan year. If you do not use these credits in the second plan year, they will be forfeited back to your employer.
For information about submitting a WSA expense, see Submitting a Claim.

What's not covered?

HSA

Under the Income Tax Act of Canada, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) provides a list of eligible medical expenses based on their interpretation of the Act on their website. If you are curious about a particular expense and can’t find it listed, please contact the CRA to confirm its eligibility. 

WSA

  • Clothing
  • Strictly recreational activities (such as bridge or poker clubs/leagues)
  • Food, weight loss or meal replacement supplements
  • Lessons or activities for your dependants not related to childcare or physical fitness (e.g. piano or art lessons) 
  • Any classroom or correspondence course provided by a non-accredited institution
  • Work-related supplies (e.g. paper, toner/cartridge, etc.) 
  • Recreational/non-work items (e.g. camera, computer games, etc.)
  • Products or services deemed non-taxable by the CRA because they are eligible under your HSA 

Additional Information

HSA/WSA Credit Allocation

If you have both an HSA and WSA, you will receive a fixed credit amount each plan year, as determined by your employer, which you will need to allocate between your HSA and WSA. (E.g. you can allocate 50 per cent to your HSA and 50 per cent to your WSA or 100 per cent to your HSA and zero per cent to your WSA, etc.) 

In June, when it comes time to allocate your credits, you will receive an email from ASEBP to the email address associated with your My ASEBP account. If you are not registered for My ASEBP, you will receive this notification by mail. You can complete your allocation under the Credit Allocation page in the HSA or WSA section on My ASEBP

Credit allocations for the year must be submitted by August 31 every year and cannot be changed after this date. If notification is not received by this deadline, all credits will automatically be allocated to your HSA as this is the most tax-effective option. If you were hired part way through the school year, you’ll have 90 days from your date of hire to make your credit allocation, with each following allocation due on August 31.

Monitoring your Balances

You can track your current HSA/WSA balance and activity (i.e. employer credits, expenses and payments) through My ASEBP or the My ASEBP Mobile App. 

Approximately 90 days after the end of the plan year, an annual statement will be available on My ASEBP, summarizing your HSA/WSA activity for the entire plan year. If you need help understanding the number of credits that are in your HSA or WSA, or if you feel that there are credits missing, please contact your employer.

Unused Credits

After the October 30 submission deadline, any unused HSA/WSA credits will be carried forward for one plan year. If you do not use these credits in the second plan year, they will be forfeited back to your employer. HSA/WSA credits are tracked on a ‘first in, first out’ basis to minimize the risk of forfeiting credits for the upcoming year. 

When you view your account balances in My ASEBP, any unused credits from the previous year are identified as “Credits Carried Forward from Previous Year” and will only become available after the 60-day run-off period is over and your eligible expenses have been paid for the previous year (usually by November 30). Note that you will not see your forwarded credits in My ASEBP until the 60-day run-off period is over. 

Credits will be carried forward in the account in which they have been allocated—HSA credits carry forward to your HSA and WSA credits to your WSA—and cannot be transferred to another account. Note that expenses can only be claimed in the plan year in which they were incurred and cannot be carried forward if there aren’t enough credits available to pay them in full.