Certain date parameters affect the eligibility of claims. This is a tricky topic, but let's explain!
The Basic Rules
Health care expenses with service dates on or after the Benefit Period Start Date (or the Member Start Date, if different) and on or before the Benefit Period End Date are eligible for reimbursement from funds contributed in current Benefit Period.
According to CRA guidelines, Benefit Period funds can only be used for the period in which the receipts are dated. In other words, you can’t carry forward claimable expenses from this Benefit Period for reimbursement from next period’s funds.
Benefit Periods are based on the Plan's HSA annual renewal. If the Plan has a custom renewal in the first year, your first Benefit Period will likely be shorter than a year.
If you're not sure what your Benefit Period is or where to find it, check out our article How do I find my Benefit Period and claim submission cutoff?
Explaining with an Example
Let's explain with a simple calendar year example, based on a Benefit Period start of 2018-01-01, with Benefit Period end of 2018-12-31.
Any receipts dated in 2018 can only be reimbursed from funds contributed in 2018. You can't use new funds contributed in 2019 to reimburse receipts dated in 2018.
So, let's say you receive $1,000.00 in contributions in 2018, and have $1,200.00 worth of receipts dated in 2018.
Since you only have $1,000.00 available in 2018, you'll be reimbursed $1,000.00 (less claims processing fees), and will exhaust your 2018 funds. That other $200.00 will unfortunately not be reimbursed (nor will any other receipts dated in 2018), as you've exhausted 2018 funds.
If you have a contribution as of January 2019, you can't use that contribution towards the $200 not reimbursed on the 2018 receipts.
Contributions in the new 2019 Benefit Period can only be used for receipts dated 2019-01-01 and onward.
If you've exhausted your Benefit Period funds on a receipt, you'll see a message that you've exhausted funds for the Benefit Period. Check out our article What does it mean by "Benefit Period funds exhausted"? for more info.
Depending on the type of HSA you have (for example, our HSA Classic), any unused contributions from previous Benefit Periods may carry forward and be used for future claims.
Keep your claims up to date - remember, for our HSA Classic feature, claims in any Benefit Period must be submitted no later than 90 days after the Benefit Period End!
Other types of HSAs do have different submission and contribution carry forward rules, which you can find more information about in your online Member Centre. You can also submit a support request and we'd be happy to help!