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How FSAs work

When you enroll in an FSA, you select an annual contribution amount. Amounts you contribute to the HCFSA and/or DCFSA are deducted from your paycheck before federal and state income taxes are withheld. Because FSA contributions are deducted from your pay before these taxes are calculated, you are taxed on a lower amount. When you incur expenses the IRS considers tax deductible, you use your FSA contributions to reimburse yourself.
FSA participation is not automatic. If you want to participate, you must enroll online or complete an enrollment form. In addition, you must make new enrollment and contribution elections every year you choose to participate. You do not need to be enrolled in a Stryker healthcare plan to participate in one or both FSAs. The HCFSA is not available to employees enrolled in the UnitedHealthcare Basic HSA Plan or Premium HSA Plan.
You may set aside money for one FSA, both FSAs, or neither. The amounts you choose to contribute should reflect your best estimate of expected out-of-pocket expenses for the calendar year (January through December).
Eligible expenses for the HCFSA include annual deductibles, copayments and healthcare expenses that are not covered by a healthcare plan. Eligible DCFSA expenses include amounts you pay for child or adult day care so that you and your spouse can work, look for work or attend school full-time. More detailed lists of eligible expenses under both FSAs are included in "Healthcare Flexible Spending Account (HCFSA)" and "Day Care (child and adult) Flexible Spending Account (DCFSA).
An example
The following example, based on 2023 tax rates, shows how an FSA can save you money. Assume that you earn $35,000 annually and you are single (zero dependents), you claim the standard allowable deduction on your income taxes and you normally pay $800 each year for healthcare expenses that are not covered by a health plan.
By paying out-of-pocket costs with before-tax versus after-tax money, you save $182 in taxes.
You should be aware that FSA contributions lower Social Security (FICA) taxes paid by you and Stryker. These lower taxes could result in slightly lower Social Security benefits in the event of your retirement, death or disability.
How FSAs save you money
With an FSA
Without an FSA
Gross pay
Annual before-tax HCFSA contribution
Taxable income
Estimated federal income tax and FICA taxes
After-tax health care expenses
Annual tax savings*
$6,333 - $6,151 = $182
*Tax savings apply if you are subject to state taxation (except for New Jersey residents)
By paying out-of-pocket costs with before-tax versus after-tax money, you save approximately $182 in taxes. Estimate your own potential tax savings by using the FSA calculator at
Note: The Savings Calculator is intended to provide an estimate of your potential savings when you use Flexible Spending Accounts. Your actual savings depend on number of factors. Please consult with your tax advisor for specific figures.