I’m faced with a moral dilemma.  I’m due to elect my benefits for 2009 by next week.  Even though my job is being discontinued at the end of this year, my benefits coverage extends at least a few months into 2009, and longer if I so choose.  One of the options I have when making my elections is to have a Flexible Spending card.  To my understanding, what this does is allows me to purchase medications and use for medical procedures like a credit card, and then the bill is gradually deducted from my paychecks throughout the year.  I was recently made aware of a very big loophole in the terms of the flex card, and I’m not sure whether or not I’ll be acting on it.

Because the deductions are taking from each paycheck to recover the money spent on the card, if an employee is terminated their paychecks will cease and the deductions will have nowhere to pull money from.  The loophole is, because the money is deducted automatically, if the employee is no longer active, they can no longer automatically deduct the money, and they can’t do anything about it.  This has been repeatedly confirmed by fellow employees with the flex account helpdesk – they will not come after you for whatever you’ve spent which hasn’t been deducted at the time of your termination.  Thus my dilemma.

I know my approximate term date in advance.  I have the ability to put a substantial amount of money on the flex card and finally get the Lasik eye surgery I’ve been thinking about for so long, and essentially not have to pay for it.  I’ll have a few deductions while I’m on my severance period, but once that time is up I’m free and owe no more.  I’ve been assured numerous times by varied sources that they have no way to demand the money at a later date, and take it as a loss.

So I’m up against a wall at this point, unsure of what to do.  One part of me states that if the loophole is there, there’s nothing wrong with taking advantage of it.  I’m sure the company is aware of it at this point, and if it were necessary they’d take care of it.  This is the part that says “go for it” and wants to get the Lasik.  The other part of me says that it’d be wrong to do this and get off without having to pay very much for an expensive procedure that the company will still have to cover.  This is the part of me that says “you know better” and seems to think glasses are still cool.

I see both sides with equal clarity (despite the glasses).  I just can’t decide what I’m going to do.  But whatever I’m going to decide, I need to do it quickly.  I have exactly one week to choose my benefits and request a flex spending card.  *sigh*  What am I going to do?

[EDIT – 10/28/08 – The time has come and gone, and I chose not to take advantage of the loophole to my benefit.  I passed the opportunity up and decided that if I am going to do this, I’ll do it right someday.  Situation resolved.]