Changes made to teachers’ Health Spending Accounts

September 13, 2011 Teacher Welfare

Content and links on this page are valid at the time of publishing. For current information on Health Spending Accounts, refer to the ASEBP website.

Be advised that the Canadian Revenue Agency has revised its list of eligible expenses and has removed massage therapy as an eligible expense. Although teachers’ extended health plans may provide coverage for massage therapy, any charges in excess of what the extended health plan pays will not be eligible as expenses under the Health Spending Accounts (HSAs).

HSAs are tax-free monies (or HSA credits) allocated to a person’s account; they are similar to bank accounts. Teachers’ HSAs are administered by the Alberta School Employee Benefit Plan (ASEBP) or insurance carriers, such as Alberta Blue Cross. Teachers can use an HSA to pay eligible medical and dental expenses that are not covered by health care plans. For example, some extended health plans pay 80 per cent of the cost of prescription medication; the teacher pays the remaining 20 per cent. A teacher can use HSA credits to cover that 20 per cent of the prescription charge. However, it should be noted that because the funds in HSAs enjoy tax-free status, HSA expenses are limited to what the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)—through the Income Tax Act—deems eligible. Teachers are encouraged to familiarize themselves with eligible HSA expenses when submitting expenses. A list of eligible expenses is updated periodically and is available on the CRA ­website

Finally, teachers are advised to keep copies for at least seven years of all receipts to verify expenses should Revenue Canada audit their income tax claims.

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