Support Staff Health Spending Account

The Health Spending Account (HSA) is used to pay for eligible medical and dental expenses beyond those covered by the Supplementary Health Care (SHC) and Dental Care plans. The account can be used to cover expenses incurred by you and any dependents who qualify for the medical tax credit.

HSA reimbursements are not subject to income tax, as they are directed to the account before tax is deducted.

Eligible support staff receive an allocation $1,250 to divide between their Health Spending Account (HSA) and their Personal Spending Account (PSA) during the open enrollment period which occurs within the fall term. If a staff member takes no action, returns from a leave, or is hired after the open enrollment dates, the default amount of $1000 for HSA and $250 for PSA will be allocated between the Spending Account Allocations for the calendar year.

Eligible Expenses

  • Any coinsurance payments and amounts in excess of coverage limits under the SHC and Dental Plans
  • Charges for dental procedures in excess of your regular Dental Plan's payment limits
  • Vision care expenses such as eye examinations, glasses, contact lenses and laser eye surgery in excess of the benefit provided under the Supplementary Health Care plan
  • Prescribed lifestyle benefit expenses such as nutritional supplements
  • Paramedical practitioners including chiropractors, acupuncturists, optometrists, physiotherapists and psychologists in excess of SHC plan coverage
  • Massage therapist services (subject to Sun Life accreditation standards and must have 2200 hours of certification)
    • Accepted Practitioners:
      • MTAA - Massage Therapists Association of Alberta
      • NHPC - Natural Health Practitioners of Canada
      • RMTA- Remedial Massage Therapy Association
  • Practitioner registration number must be provided in order for the claim to be considered for reimbursement

To view delisted providers, you must log in to, click on "Coverage Information". On the right hand side select "Delisted providers list" to ensure that the service provider has not been delisted.

A detailed list of eligible expenses can be obtained through the Canada Revenue Agency Website

As well, CRA permits a broader definition of a dependent for expenses claimed through the Health Spending Account - the perfect solution for employees wanting to cover expenses for extended family members who would not be eligible under the University's benefit plan.

How to Make a Claim

Your Health Spending Account is fully integrated within the Sun Life health and dental claims system to allow for seamless and efficient claims handling. Members can submit Health Spending Account claims online through the convenient Sun Life Member's Services, or use a single claim form to submit claims under their health or dental benefits and their Health Spending Account at the same time. The Sun Life Extended Health Care and Health Spending Account and Dental & Health Spending Account claim forms include a Health Spending Account section so you can submit both your standard benefit claim and your Health Spending Account claim at the same time.

Claiming Deadlines

Claims must be received by Sun Life within 90 days following the end of the calendar year in which the expense was incurred. This deadline for claims for expenses incurred during the previous calendar year is March 30.

Credit Carry Forward

HSA credits are deposited into your account on January 1 of each year. Unused credits can be carried forward for one year only to pay for expenses incurred during the following benefit year. At the end of the second benefit year (December 31) any unused carried forward credits are forfeited by the member. For example, credits deposited on January 1, 2017 and not used by December 31, 2018 will be forfeited. Forfeit credits remain within the Support Staff Benefit Plan to fund benefits generally.

Managing Your Health Spending Account

Your HSA can be managed via the web on the Sun Life Member Services website. This site will provide up-to-date information on your account status including claims paid and your account balance.

Questions About Your Health Spending Account

Contact the Sun Life Customer Care Centre for prompt answers to any questions you might have about your HSA at 1-800-361-6212. Further information is available through Member Services on the Sun Life website.

Frequently Asked Questions

The following information is intended to answer some common questions you may have about your non-taxable Health Spending Account. Please contact Sun Life Customer Care Centre 1-800-361-6212 toll-free if you have any additional questions or would like more information.

Can I use my Health Spending Account (HSA) to claim expenses for my dependents?

The Health Spending Account will cover your expenses and any claims submitted for your dependents. A dependent is considered any person for whom you may claim a medical tax credit on your personal income tax in that year. If you can claim for a dependent under taxation guidelines, then that dependent is eligible under your HSA.

What types of medical expenses are eligible through my HSA?

All expenses recognized by Canada Customs and Revenue Agency are eligible for reimbursement under our plan. You can obtain a listing of eligible expenses on the Canada Revenue Agency Eligible Medical Expenses webpage. Expenses you may be planning to put through your HSA should be verified for eligibility prior to submitting the claim.

If I'm a part time employee is the HSA amount prorated?

The annual $1000 credit allocation is not prorated. You are eligible for the full amount.

If my term of employment ends prior to the end of the calendar year am I eligible for the full allocation?

You are still eligible to receive the full amount but your expenses must have been incurred during the term of your employment with the University of Alberta.

When can I start submitting HSA claims?

For existing staff, the HSA becomes effective on January 1, 2013. Newly hired staff are eligible on their date of hire. You cannot submit a claim that includes expenses that were incurred before the effective date.

Can the health service provider be paid directly from my HSA so that I do not have to pay money out of pocket?

This service is not available with our current carrier.

How do I submit a claim?

Visit Making a Claim to learn more.

What if I have submitted my original receipts and only have photocopies for claiming under the HSA?

Photocopies of receipts are not acceptable; only original receipts will be considered eligible for reimbursement. If the original receipt was sent in for payment through your standard benefit plan with Sun Life and you did not indicate co-ordination with your HSA, you will have to include the Explanation of Benefits with your claim. If you have coverage through another benefit carrier then the original receipts have likely been sent in and kept by that carrier. Sun Life will require the Explanation of Benefits statement that you received along with your payment from the other carrier.

What is the deadline for submitting claims?

You are required to submit your receipts for any expenses within 3 months of the end of the plan's year, which means that you must have your eligible claims into Sun Life by March 31st each year. 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

How do I save my credits to pay for a particular expense?

You can carry forward credits for one year to add to the allocation of the next years credits. For example: You decide to have laser eye surgery at a cost of $2000. You make no claim against your HSA during the first year and in year two you proceed with the surgery and submit the $2000 expense. You are reimbursed $2000, and your account balance will be nil until the following years allocation.

Can I carry forward expenses?

Expenses cannot be carried forward. You may only claim expenses incurred during the current calendar year.

How can I check the balance of my Health Spending Account?

Account balances can be obtained through Sun Life Member's Services. You can also call the Sun Life Customer Care Centre at 1-800-361-6212 at any time to check the balance of your account.

I do not have access to Sun Life Member Services, how do I obtain access?

Information regarding access to the Sun Life web can be obtained at Sun Life Member's Services webpage.

How long do I have to use my credits?

You can carry your credits forward for one year after the year in which they were deposited.

What happens to my HSA if I leave my employment?

When you end your employment your participation in the HSA plan ends at that time. Expenses must be submitted for reimbursement by March 31st of the year following the year the expense was incurred to be eligible for payment.