Thursday, July 19, 2007

Leaving Job - Protecting your MER Contribution

MER Money and Changing Jobs

Like many people, I had money deducted from my paycheck as part of a Medical Expense Reimbursement Account program. Every time I went to the doctor or filled a prescription, I would stick the receipt in an envelope. Each quarter I would send it in. For 2007, I elected $500.

In May, I changed companies and wondered what would happen to my money. Because my old company outsourced HR (I AM NOT JOKING), I ended up speaking with an idiot on the help desk after I left. According him, I was entitled to submit bills throughout the rest of the year for the ENTIRE amount. When I explained I had only contributed 4 months worth of money, he said it didn’t matter.

Of course, things did not go as expected. After I submitted bills for June, they denied them claiming I wasn’t part of the program anymore. After discussing the matter with the HR CSR, I was able to review the summary plan description and determine the following:

Basically, the correct answer is:
1. I could submit bills for the entire $500 amount; however, they must have been incurred before the end of May.
2. If you do not incur bills before the deadline, you lose the entire amount AND any unused contributions.
3. As long as I submitted the bills before 12/31, rules 1 and rule 2 would be unaffected.

How it works:
• Assuming I had contributed $200 by the time I left the company, incurring $100 before June1 and $100 after June, I would only be reimbursed $100.
• Assuming I had incurred $500 before June 1, I would have been reimbursed $500 even though I only contributed $200.

Bottom Line: If you leave a company, make sure you get your MER situation in order quickly. Our plan had a deadline of the last day of the month you leave the job.

No comments: