Employers that offer a healthcare Flexible Spending Account as a benefit to employees may want to give them a heads up that, if the plan year ended on Dec. 31, they have just a few days left to spend what's left in the account.

With most calendar-year plans, those who've selected an FSA generally are given until Saturday (March 15) of the following year to spend down those dollars. If the plan does not permit employees to carry over the money, unused funds go the way of the dodo bird on that date.

The good news is that carryover will soon be available to more folks, said Joe Jackson, CEO of WageWorks, a consumer-directed benefits plan consultant. Beginning this year, he noted, employers that offer FSAs can let employees carry over up to $500 of unused funds at the end of the plan year.

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Dan Cook

Dan Cook is a journalist and communications consultant based in Portland, OR. During his journalism career he has been a reporter and editor for a variety of media companies, including American Lawyer Media, BusinessWeek, Newhouse Newspapers, Knight-Ridder, Time Inc., and Reuters. He specializes in health care and insurance related coverage for BenefitsPRO.