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A quick guide on Health Spending Accounts

Whether you are a new member or have been a member for many years, learning more about UBC’s Health Spending Account will enhance your understanding of this benefit and how it works.

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UBC’s Health Spending Account (HSA) is a group benefit that provides annual credits which can be used to reimburse a wide range of health-related expenses, over and above the extended health and dental plans. If you are a member of one of the following employee groups and enrolled in the extended health benefits plan, you are eligible for the HSA benefit:

  • CUPE 116
  • CUPE 2950
  • IUOE 115
  • Management & Professional
  • BCGEU Child Care and Non-Union Child Care
  • Faculty

Annual HSA credits are non-taxable dollars that can be spent on eligible claims. Due to the tax favoured status, HSA’s are administered in accordance with Canada Revenue Agency guidelines. Some HSA guidelines differ from UBC’s extended health and dental plan provisions. Eligible dependents, as well as items which can be claimed are defined in the Income Tax Act and may be broader than under the extended health and dental plans.

Five important things to know about HSA’s

  1. To maximize the amount reimbursed, submit eligible claims under your extended health or dental plan first. Then submit the claim under your spouse’s plan, if applicable. After you have received reimbursement under these plans, you are ready to submit the balance under the HSA plan.
  2. Unused annual credits can be carried forward into the next year. If the carried forward amount is not used by the end of the next year, the amount is forfeited. For example, if you have $100 from your 2021 annual credit remaining at the end of the year, this amount is carried forward into 2022 and added to your 2022 annual credit. The $100 carried forward amount must be used by the end of 2022.
  3. Claims incurred in the previous year cannot be reimbursed using the following year’s annual credit. For example, if you have a claim from 2020 and you have no HSA credits at the end of the year, you cannot claim the 2020 claim from your 2021 annual HSA credit.
  4. There is a deadline to submit HSA claims. If you have a carry-over credit, you have 90 days from the end of the benefit year (December 31) to submit an HSA claim for expenses incurred during that year. For example, if you have credits at the end of December 31, 2020, you have 90 days (until March 31, 2021) to submit claims for 2020.
  5. You can check your HSA balance and submit your claims anytime by logging into my Sun Life | Sun Life  or using my Sun Life mobile | Sun Life

For more information on annual credits, eligible dependents and claims visit UBC’s website: Health Spending Account.


  • Benefits FYI

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