Flexible Spending Account

Academic Staff 


Flexible Spending Account Program

The Flexible Spending Account (FSA) program is available to eligible Academic staff who are actively at work during the FSA program benefit year.

Academic Staff have the opportunity to allocate new credits on an annual basis just prior to the beginning of the FSA benefit year. The credit allocation is made through the myUCalgary portal during the month of May and is based on the staff member's full-time equivalent (FTE) status as of July 1. Once the allocation process is complete, choices are irrevocable. If no allocation is made, credits are automatically allocated to the Health Spending Account.

FSA Benefit Year

July 1 – June 30

Positions Eligible

Full time and Part time: Continuing, Contingent Term, Limited Term

From date of hire

Annual Credit Allocation

$800 - Pro-rated for part-time based on FTE

For new Academic staff, annual credits are pro-rated by start date.

Health and Wellness Spending Accounts

The Flexible Spending Account (FSA) is a program to enhance the value of your benefit plan by providing greater flexibility for you to manage your health related expenses.

Eligible staff members receive an annual credit allocation for their discretionary use to help support overall health and wellness. The credits may be allocated to a non-taxable Health Spending Account (HSA) and/or a taxable Wellness Spending Account (WSA).

Claim Forms

You may sumbit claims online through your Alberta Blue Cross account, or using these forms.


Flexible Spending Account Information

  1. Health Spending Account (HSA)

    This account offers each staff member flexible choices to manage their health expenses in a tax effective manner. Credits are allocated to this account with pre-tax dollars. As these dollars are directed to the account before income tax is deducted, compensation provided through the HSA goes further than if these health-related expenses are paid for with after tax dollars.

    All medical expenses deemed eligible by the Canada Revenue Agency incurred by the employee and dependents are considered eligible expenses under this account.

    Some examples of eligible expenses include:

    • deductibles, coinsurance payments, and amounts in excess of extended health coverage limits
    • charges for dental procedures in excess of the regular dental plan's payment limits
    • vision care expenses such as eye exams, glasses, and laser eye surgery
    • paramedical practitioners such as chiropractors, acupuncturists, optometrists, physiotherapists, and psychologists
    • employee paid health and dental premiums.
  2. Wellness Spending Account (WSA)

    This account offers employees further flexibility to direct credits to support a broad range of wellness, learning, development, and technology expenses. This account is funded with pre-tax dollars, but the benefits are taxable. As these dollars are directed to the account before income tax is deducted, a T4A slip is sent to each employee directly from Alberta Blue Cross for amounts reimbursed from the account. This benefit applies to eligible expenses incurred by the employee only. Expenses for dependents are not eligible.

    Some examples of eligible expenses include:

    • health support – smoking cessation programs, nutritional counseling
    • fitness and sports activity – fitness memberships including UCalgary Active Living memberships (family memberships must be held in the employee's name), sports league membership, physical activity instruction fees
    • fitness and sports equipment - specific types of exercise equipment for at home use to promote physical activity and fitness such as treadmill, elliptical (excludes clothing)
    • professional development- membership fees or dues, courses and seminars by accredited institutions, all learning and development programs.
    • professional development travel – transportation to courses, parking
    • computer products – software, hardware, internet services (excludes gaming equipment and games)
    • mobile digital communication – cell phone/accessories/fees (excludes gaming equipment and games) family care – home care, elder care
    • personal interest – text books, photography or art courses and required supplies for personal interest if included with the course fee. Supplies are not considered eligible when purchased outside of the course fee

Expenses can only be claimed in the benefit year in which they were purchased or expense incurred. Expenses cannot be carried forward to the next FSA benefit year. There is a three month run-off period after the end each benefit year to submit claims incurred within that benefit year. This means that for Support and Academic Staff members, whose benefit year is July 1 – June 30, you will have until Sep. 30 to submit receipts dated during the prior FSA benefit year. For Management and Professional Staff members, your the benefit year is Jan. 1 – Dec. 31. You will have until March 31 to submit receipts dated during the prior FSA benefit year.

  1. Health Spending Account

    Claims can either be submitted online through the Alberta Blue Cross secure plan member website or via the Health Spending Account claim form. If you choose to set up a secured Alberta Blue Cross online account, you can submit claims, track the status of claims, and set up direct deposit for payments.

    When you submit a core Extended Health Care or Dental claim to Alberta Blue Cross, any unpaid balance automatically transfers to your Health Spending Account unless your benefits are coordinated with your spouse's plan. If you have coverage under more than one benefit plan, the unpaid portion of your claim must first be submitted to the other plan prior to being reimbursed through your HSA.

    If you do not wish to have your expenses automatically flow through your HSA, contact Alberta Blue Cross.

  2. Wellness Spending Account

    Claims can either be submitted online through the Alberta Blue Cross secure plan member website or via the WSA claim form. If you choose to set up a secured Alberta Blue Cross online account, you can submit claims, track the status of claims, and set up direct deposit for payments.

    All WSA claims must be accompanied by receipts in your name (i.e. the employee's name). If you submit your claims online you must keep your receipts for 90 days as Alberta Blue Cross can request the receipts for audit purposes. If you submit a paper claim, original receipts must be attached.

Flex credits may be spent at any time during the current FSA benefit year and unused credits may be carried forward for one benefit year after the benefit year in which the credits are allocated. At the end of the second benefit year, unused credits are forfeited.

Expenses must be claimed in the benefit year they are incurred. Employees cannot carry forward expenses beyond the end of the FSA benefit year. There is a three month grace period to submit claims at the end of each benefit year for receipts dated to the end of the benefit year. 

If you have questions regarding prior year balances, contact Alberta Blue Cross Customer Service at 403.234.9666 or view your balance on your secure Alberta Blue Cross account.

During the annual allocation period, benefit eligible employees will receive an email notification to go into their myUCalgary and allocate credits during the allocation period. Credits can be allocated to either a non-taxable Health Spending Account (HSA) or a taxable Wellness Spending Account (WSA), or both, provided there is a minimum of $100 in each account. 

The allocation tool can be accessed by logging into myUCalgary and selecting: All about me > My benefits > Benefits Self Service > Benefits Enrolment.

It is important to read all the instructions and finalize your submission.

In the tool, your allocations will default to the HSA. To allocate credits to your WSA, click on the "Allocate" button beside the Wellness Spending Account line and enter an amount. Once you "Allocate" your HSA, the balance in this account will update. To finalize your submission, click "Save and Continue" and then "Submit".

Once you submit your allocation you will receive a confirmation statement. If you do not receive a confirmation, it means that you did not finalize your submission. In this case your credits will default to the HSA.

Upon submission, your choices are final and cannot be changed, even if the allocation period is still open. If you do not allocate your FSA credits by the deadline of the allocation period, your new credits will default to the Health Spending Account. Due to Canada Revenue Agency rules, we are unable to allow exceptions to this process.

The FSA credits you receive are based on your full-time equivalent (FTE) and employment status as of July 1 of each benefit year.

Your credits will be available in your HSA and/or WSA as of July 1. Credits are not adjusted for changes in your full-time equivalent (FTE) status that occur throughout the benefit year

Health Spending Account FAQs


About Your Account

Your HSA adds significant value to your benefits plan. The primary benefit is that it provides for payment of eligible health-related expenses with pre-tax dollars. Depending on the tax bracket you are in, you can realize considerable savings by paying for health expenses through your HSA by using pre-tax dollars.

Your HSA provides greater flexibility to help you manage your health related expenses. You can use your HSA to pay for a broader range of medical and dental expenses than those covered under the core Extended Health Care and Dental plan such as your share of medical and dental premiums, co-insurance amounts and deductibles.

In addition, you can claim expenses for any dependent that is considered your dependent for income tax purposes in that year.

Any expense deemed an eligible medical expense by the Canada Revenue Agency is allowed. This list can change over time and you should contact Alberta Blue Cross if you have questions about the eligibility of a specific expense prior to making the purchase.

You cannot claim over-the-counter medications, vitamins, or supplements, even if prescribed by a medical practitioner. If you are unsure about a particular expense, contact Alberta Blue Cross.

Yes. Any expenses not recognized as an eligible medical expense deduction under the Income Tax Act are not accepted. Some examples are drugs purchased without a prescription from a doctor or dentist, fitness club memberships, golf memberships, and daycare.

About Your Eligibility

You may cover expenses for yourself, your spouse, your children, and any other dependents. A dependent is considered any person for whom you may claim medical tax credits under the Income Tax Act in that year. If you can claim for a dependent under taxation guidelines, then that dependent is eligible under your HSA.

If you terminate your employment or transfer to a position at the University of Calgary that is not benefit eligible, you lose your credits upon termination or transfer.

All claims with a date of service prior to the date of termination or transfer can be submitted for payment within the next three months. After three months, claims will not be processed. Any claims submitted after the termination date must be done via paper claim form.

During your leave you may access your existing credits and make claims; however, you will not receive any new annual flex credits until you return to work. Credits will then be pro-rated depending on the date you return to work.

About Your Allocations

The Flexible Spending Account is made up of two accounts, a non-taxable HSA and a taxable Wellness Spending Account (WSA).

For Academic and Support Staff, you will receive credits each year to allocate into these two accounts in a way that meets your specific needs. You will be advised by email each April/May with instructions on how to make your allocations through the myUalgary portal. The credits you receive are based on your Full-time equivalency status (FTE) at the beginning of the benefit year. The credits are not adjusted if you change your FTE through the benefit year.

For Management and Professional Staff, you will make your allocations once every two years during the Flex Re-enrolment process. You will receive instructions for this in Nov./Dec. for an effective date of Jan. 1 of every odd year.

Contributions will be made to your account on an annual basis. The total amount of your annual credit is deposited in advance at the beginning of the benefit year. For Support Staff and Academic Staff, the amount is based on your full-time equivalency (FTE) status at the beginning of the benefit year. The Flexible Spending Account benefit year varies by staff group:

  • Support Staff - July to June

  • Management & Professional Staff - Jan. to Dec.

  • Academic Staff - July to June

You can carry your credits forward for one benefit year after the benefit year in which they were allocated. After that point, credits are then forfeited.

When unused credits are forfeited they revert to your employer. The University of Calgary uses these funds to offset the costs of administering your plan. Canada Revenue Agency regulations for administration of spending accounts do not allow employers to pay out unused credits to employees.

No. Flexible Spending Accounts are governed, in part, by Canada Revenue Agency regulations. In order to comply with those regulations the University is not permitted to make changes to credits that have defaulted or to accept changes to allocations.

No. Canada Revenue Agency requires that you make an irrevocable election to your HSA on an annual basis, which can be neither increased nor decreased.

For Management and Professional Staff you will receive credits annually but you are only allowed to allocate between the Health and Wellness Spending Accounts once every two years during the re-enrolment period.

About Your Claims

When you or your provider submits a core Extended Health Care or Dental claim to Alberta Blue Cross, any unpaid balance automatically transfers to your Health Spending Account unless your benefits are coordinated with your spouse's plan. If you have coverage under more than one benefit plan, the unpaid portion of your claim must first be submitted to the other plan prior to being reimbursed through your HSA.

If you do not wish to have your expenses automatically flow through your HSA, contact Alberta Blue Cross.

HSA claims that do not automatically flow through from a core claim can either be submitted online through the Alberta Blue Cross secure plan member website or via the paper HSA claim form. If you choose to set up a secured Alberta Blue Cross online account, you can submit claims, track the status of claims, and set up direct deposit for payments.

If you submit a paper claim form, you must attach original receipts and any Explanation of Benefit statements that indicate payment from another insurance company. Claims may be dropped off at any of the Alberta Blue Cross offices throughout the province, or mailed to the address on the claim form. Original receipts must be kept for 90 days as Alberta Blue Cross may audit online claims.

Health Spending Claims are processed daily. If there is claim activity on your account, you will receive reimbursement by cheque or direct deposit to your bank account. You may select your preferred payment method by contacting Alberta Blue Cross.

HSAs are designed to complement the core benefit plan, and therefore require that you access all other benefit plans before submitting expenses to them for payment. Once your claims have been processed by both your own and your spouse's plans, you can then submit a claim to your HSA by attaching an Explanation of Benefits statement from the other insurance company and attaching it to your HSA claim form. This process prevents you from using HSA dollars unnecessarily for items that are covered under core benefit plans.

You are required to submit your receipts dated up to the end of the plan year (i.e. to Jun. 30 for Support Staff and Academic Staff and to Dec. 31 for MaPS) for any expenses within 3 months of the end of the Flexible Spending Account benefit year (i.e. by Sep. 30 for Support Staff and Academic Staff and by Mar. 31 for MaPS). We strongly recommend sending in receipts immediately after you incur the expense.

It is important to be aware that you can only carry over credits for one year, after that the unused credits are forfeited. Therefore, expenses should be submitted immediately to avoid forfeiture of credits. You can only claim for expenses in the benefit year that they are incurred. You cannot carry forward expenses and claim them in the following benefit year.

No, only claims incurred after your Health Sending Account effective date may be submitted for reimbursement.

No. The Canada Revenue Agency stipulates that you must be the recipient of reimbursement from your HSA, not the provider of the service.

Photocopies of receipts are acceptable only if the original receipts have been processed by Alberta Blue Cross for a core benefit plan claim or if they are accompanied by an Explanation of Benefits from another carrier. If the original receipt was sent in for payment through the core benefit plan, Alberta Blue Cross will facilitate payment through your HSA automatically as they have the original receipt on file.

If you have coverage through another benefit carrier then the original receipts have likely been sent in and kept by that carrier. Alberta Blue Cross then requires the Explanation of Benefits statement that you received showing payment from the other carrier.

Your HSA requires that all core benefit plans be accessed prior to forwarding them to your HSA. Through this highly automated process, a rejection letter and Explanation of Benefits statement are produced. This ensures that all efforts have been taken to pay the expense through your core plan and lets you know that claims have been received and are now being forwarded to your HSA for processing. It is important that you are aware of the status of your claim and what claims have been forwarded to your account.

Health Spending Account payments are processed daily. To receive a payment, you must have credits available in your account and the expenses submitted must be eligible for payment through the HSA and be in excess of $20.00. If the claim is less than $20.00 it will be held for a future claim that when combine exceeds $20.00. Otherwise all claims over $2.00 are paid out at the end of the benefit year.

If there is claim activity on your account, you will receive reimbursement by cheque or direct deposit to your bank account. Alberta Blue Cross makes payments via direct deposit on a daily basis and processes cheque payments twice per month. You may select your preferred payment method by contacting Alberta Blue Cross. You may also view claim statements online on your Alberta Blue Cross secure member account.

Claims for out-of-province medical expenses should be submitted first to your provincial health care plan, then to any core Extended Health Care benefit plan under which you are covered, and finally to your HSA. As this process may take several months, you should remember HSA deadlines and forfeiture rules.

Your account has been set up to automatically pay you, for the convenience of not having to resubmit a claim form. You may elect to have your account administered on a manual basis. Contact Alberta Blue Cross directly to arrange for this. In future, you will then receive a statement outlining expenses, which you are eligible to have reimbursed; but you must return this statement with a claim form to request payment from your account for specific services.

You can also submit your Explanation of Benefits with a claim form to request payment.

If you have recently submitted a claim, a monthly statement will provide you with the account balance. You can also view your balance online at the Alberta Blue Cross Secure Online Services or call Alberta Blue Cross Customer Service at any time to check the balance of your account. Call 403.234.9666 from Calgary and area, or 1.800.661.6995 toll-free from anywhere in Alberta.

Wellness Spending Account FAQs


About Your Account

The WSA adds significant value to your benefit plan and provides many opportunities to enhance or maintain your personal health, wellness, learning, and development.

Your WSA provides reimbursement for many important benefits such as:

  • Costs associated with physical activities, stress management, smoking cessation, health risk assessments, and nutritional counselling
  • Educational reimbursement for a course, class, conference, seminar at an accredited institution
  • Fees associated with professional memberships or maintaining a designation
  • New computer hardware/software

For a detailed list of eligible expenses, see the Wellness Spending Account Product Categories.

A listing of eligible expenses is outlined on the Alberta Blue Cross WSA chart or on the claim form.

No. Receipts must be in the name of the employee. The account is designed to reimburse employees for expenses only. Family fitness memberships held in the employee's name are the only exception to this provision.

Yes. Any items not listed on the claim form or in an eligible product category on the WSA chart are not eligible to be reimbursed.

About Your Eligibilty

You may cover expenses for yourself only. The account is designed to provide a benefit to the University of Calgary employee. The only exception to this provision is a family fitness membership which is an eligible expense if it is held in the employee's name.

If you terminate your employment or transfer to a staff group or appointment within the University of Calgary that does not have a WSA or is in a different benefit plan — i.e. Support Staff moving to Management and Professional staff member, you lose your credits upon termination or transfer.

All claims with a date of service prior to the date of termination or transfer can be submitted for payment via paper claim form within the next three months. After three months, claims will not be processed.

During your leave you may access your existing credits and make claims; however, you will not receive additional credits until you return to work. Credits will then be pro-rated depending on the date you return to work.

About Your Allocations

Yes. Alberta Blue Cross will send you a T4A slip after the end of the calendar year for any credits you have used over the course of the year.

The Flexible Spending Account is made up of two accounts, a non-taxable Health Spending Account (HSA) and a taxable Wellness Spending Account (WSA).

For Academic and Support Staff, you will receive credits based on your full-time equivalency (FTE) status each year to allocate into these two accounts in a way that meets your specific needs. You will be advised by email each /May with instructions on how to make your allocations through the myUCalgary portal.

For Management and Professional Staff, you will make your allocations once every two years during the Flex Re-enrolment process. You will receive instructions for this in Nov./Dec. for an effective date of Jan. 1 of every odd year.

Contributions will be made to your account on an annual basis. The total amount of your annual credit is deposited in advance at the beginning of the benefit year.

The benefit year varies by staff group:

  • Support Staff - July to June

  • Management and Professional Staff – January to December

  • Academic Staff - July to June

You can carry your credits forward for one benefit year after the benefit year in which you make your contributions. Unused credits are then forfeited.

When unused employee credits are forfeited they revert to your employer. The University of Calgary uses these funds to offset the cost of administering your plan.

No. Flexible spending accounts are governed, in part, by Canada Revenue Agency regulations. In order to comply with those regulations the University is not permitted to make changes to credits that have defaulted or to accept changes to allocations.

About Your Claims

You have two options:

  1. Complete a Paper WSA Form

    Complete a paper WSA claim form, attach original receipts and mail to Alberta Blue Cross at the address indicated on the form.

  2. Register Online

    Register on the Alberta Blue Cross secure member site and submit a claim online. If you choose to submit a claim online, Alberta Blue Cross can audit those claim submissions for up to 90 days following the date of submission; therefore, it is important to keep your receipts as record of purchase for audited purposes.

You are required to submit your receipts dated up to the end of the plan year (i.e. to Jun. 30 for Support Staff and Academic Staff and to Dec. 31 for MaPS) for any expenses within three months of the end of the Flexible Spending Account benefit year (i.e. by Sep. 30 for Support Staff and Academic Staff and by Mar. 31 for MaPS).

We strongly recommend sending in receipts immediately after you incur the expense. It is important to be aware that you can only carry over credits for one year, after that the unused credits are forfeited. Therefore, expenses should be submitted immediately to avoid forfeiture of credits.

You can only claim for expenses in the benefit year that they are incurred. You cannot carry forward expenses and claim them in the following benefit year.

No. Only claims incurred after your WSA effective date may be submitted for reimbursement.

No. You must be the recipient of reimbursement from your WSA.

Photocopies of receipts are not acceptable; only original receipts will be considered eligible for reimbursement. Receipts must also indicate the employee's name.

Wellness Spending Account claims are processed daily. To receive a payment, you must have credits available in your account and the expenses submitted must be eligible for payment through the WSA and be in excess of $20.00. If the claim is less than $20.00 it will be held for a future claim that when combine exceeds $20.00. Otherwise all claims over $2.00 are paid out at the end of the benefit year. 

If there is claim activity on your account, you will receive reimbursement by cheque or direct deposit to your bank account. You may select your preferred payment method by contacting Alberta Blue Cross.

You may also view claim statements online on your Alberta Blue Cross secure member account.

If you have recently submitted a claim, a monthly statement will provide you with the account balance. You can also view your balance online at the Alberta Blue Cross Secure Online Services or call Alberta Blue Cross Customer Service at any time to check the balance of your account. Call 403.234.9666 from Calgary and area, or 1.800.661.6995 toll-free from anywhere in Alberta.