The Five Ws of WSAs
Using Your Benefits
Whether you just had a Wellness Spending Account (WSA) added to your plan or need a refresher, here’s everything you need to know to get the most from your credits!
You know you have access to a WSA, but who else does? Well, it’s simple—if you’re on a single plan, you can submit eligible wellness-related expenses just for you, but if you’re on a family plan, eligible expenses related to your dependants can be submitted.
WSAs are similar to Health Spending Accounts (HSA), but with three main differences. For starters, instead of covering health-related expenses, your WSA covers wellness-related expenses—think outside the scope of Drugs, Dental, Vision and Other Medical Services & Supplies. Secondly, unlike your HSA, which consists of tax-free dollars, your reimbursed WSA expenses are taxable. This means, the Alberta School Employee Benefit Plan (ASEBP) will issue you a T4A for WSA claims you were reimbursed for in the previous year. Finally, and this may be the most important differentiator, there are two different WSA plans: WSA 1, for other education workers and WSA 2, for teachers.
Where you can put your WSA credits to use depends on what plan you have. WSA 1 will cover eligible expenses in the following categories: family care; health support, fitness and sports activities and equipment; professional development; technology and transportation. Alternatively, WSA 2 covers family care; health-related technology; and health support, fitness and sports activities and equipment. For specific examples and how to make the most out of your WSA, check out this brochure if you’re a teacher and this one if you’re another type of education worker. As for where your credits can’t be used (i.e. ineligible expenses), the most common items that top this list are warranties on technology items (e.g. Apple Care) and shipping and handling fees.
If you allocate your credits to your WSA account, they’ll be available year-round, from September 1 to August 31. However, if you change employers or are terminated during this timeframe, your credits will remain accessible for 60 days from your termination date. Please note that expenses are only eligible if incurred prior to your termination date.
Additionally, the rate at which your employer adds credits to your account may vary. While you can claim as you go (which is the approach we recommend), you’ll be reimbursed as credits are available in your account, which may not be immediately. We highly recommend you check your Spending Account Activity on My ASEBP to learn more about the frequency and amount of credits you have available. Alternatively, you can also reach out to your employer.
Your WSA is a flexible complement to your regular group benefits that helps you optimize your health and wellness by incorporating other dimensions of wellness.
We couldn’t help but throw in one extra tip to make you a WSA wiz! When submitting your claims, remember to always include the date of service or purchase, the provider or store name, the total cost, a detailed description of the service or item and, finally, proof of payment (i.e. a receipt) when applicable. The number one reason WSA claims get rejected is because they’re missing one of these five vital items, so save yourself some time (and get reimbursed faster) by ensuring you include everything from the get-go.
Now that you have the inside scoop, it’s time to put your learnings to the test! If at any point during your health journey you find yourself with more questions, feel free to reach out to us through your preferred method of communications.