Participant Information

Debit Card Information

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I activate my debit card?

The debit card is activated the first time you swipe the card for an eligible expense.

How does the debit card work?

Present your card to a qualified merchant or provider and via their charge terminal, they will swipe your card like any other credit card to pay for your purchase. Funds for eligible expenses will be transferred directly to the provider or merchant from your Medical Care or Dependent Care Spending Account through the MasterCard network. Remember, save all your receipts, as you may be required to document eligibility of an expense.

Where can I use my debit card?

You may use your debit card at any qualified merchant (doctors, dentists, pharmacies, etc.) but effective January 1, 2008, new regulations will be in effect for debit cards used at non-health related merchants (grocery stores, discount stores, etc.) for Flexible Spending Account (FSA) and/or Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) purchases. The new regulations state that the card may only be used at non-healthcare related merchants that have an Inventory Information Approval System (IIAS). The purpose of the IIAS is to, in real-time, verify all purchases (as defined by IRS Code Section 213(d)) are approved health related items. During checkout, all items are cross referenced against a list of approved health related items; if items are identified as non-healthcare related items a second form of payment will be requested.

See below for a list of IIAS participating merchants.

Is the debit card just another MasterCard?

No, this is not a credit card. It is a debit card that uses funds from your Medical Care and/or Dependent Care Spending Account. Although this is a debit card, because it is an off-line debit card, it is treated like a credit card at a merchant or provider terminal because it does not require a PIN number before approving a transaction.

What can I use my debit card for?

The debit card may only be used for eligible medical or dependent care services as outlined in your enrollment guide. Some examples include such expenses as medical deductibles, co-payments, dental and vision related expenses and dependent day care expenses.

Will the debit card know what expenses are eligible and what are not?

Each merchant or provider accepting a MasterCard is assigned a Merchant Category Code. There are over 500 such codes and the debit card accepts only a few of those codes, all related to eligible expenses under the Flexible Spending Accounts. The card will instantly deny merchants or provider codes that have not been programmed on the card. Please keep in mind that only eligible items are to be purchased at the approved merchant locations.

(Example: The debit card cannot be used at department stores, gas stations, and etc.)

When can I begin using my debit card?

For eligible medical care expenses, you can start using the debit card as early as the first day of your plan year. Whatever amount you have elected for the plan year is available at anytime during the calendar year.

The dependent care expenses work a little differently. Per IRS regulations, the Dependent Care FSA must operate as a "funds available" account. This means only after the funds have been withheld from your paycheck and are placed in the FSA can they then be used to pay eligible Day Care Expenses. Also, in order for the debit card to work, your Day Care Center must accept MasterCard.

(Example: If the day care bill is $150.00, but the dependent day care account only has $100.00 balance, then the debit card can only be charged for $100.00. If the debit card were swiped for $150.00 the entire transaction would be declined, since there is only $100.00 on the account.)

What happens if I use my debit card for an ineligible expense?

If you were to use your debit card for an ineligible expense, HFS would contact you by letter requesting a copy of the receipt for the expense in question. If after reviewing the receipt, it is determined that the expense was truly ineligible, then HFS will request that you send in a check made payable to your employer to reimburse the spending account.

What do I do if my debit card is lost or stolen?

Like a credit card, you should report the circumstance as soon as you know. You should immediately call HFS at 888-460-8005 to deactivate your card. A replacement card should arrive within 7-10 business days.

Do I have to use the debit card or can I still file FSA claims the regular way?

Yes! Any eligible FSA expense can be reimbursed by completing a Request for Reimbursement form and mail or fax to HFS.

Claims Mailing address:
HFS Benefits
4 North Park Drive, Suite 500
Hunt Valley, MD 21030

Claims Fax Number:
410-771-5533 or 888-510-4218

Who do I contact if I have questions regarding my debit card?

If you have questions regarding your debit card or FSA account you should contact HFS at 410-771-1331 or toll-free at 888-460-8005. You may also access your account information online at

Should I disregard the debit card at the end of the year?

No, the debit card can be used for the new plan year once contribution amounts are elected.

Can the debit card be used for mail order expenses?

Yes, as long as the card has been activated you may provide the online or mail order merchant with the card number.

Can I get a debit card for my spouse or my dependent who is away at school?

Yes. Complete and submit a Request for Duplicate Card Form to HFS. The cost for each additional debit card is $5.00 per card.

Participating Merchants

Click here for a full list of merchants using an IIAS.
**Please note that if you participate in an HRA plan that allows only deductibles and prescriptions, certain merchants do not participate fully in the IIAS program. As a result. your card will only work at merchants listed with an X in the far right column associated with each merchant. Your card will not work at those vendors that do not signify their participation in the Prescription Level of IIAS**

Click here for a full list of SIGIS 90% merchants
**If you chose to utilize one of these merchants, you will be sent a monthly statement requesting supporting documentation for these charges. Please remember that if you want to avoid the paperwork associated with debit card substantiation, please use only 100% certified IIAS merchants.**

Click here for additional information on IIAS

Debit Card Downloads

Debit Card Substantiation Form
Duplicate Debit Card
Spousal Authorization
Letter of Medical Recommendation