Inside: Time is running out and your FSA money is about to expire. Below are some ideas on how to use the funds.
You tried to plan well and hoped to come out ahead, and yet…
Yes, it’s true, there is money sitting unused in your health FSA (flexible spending account). *sob*
Ok, fine. It’s not the worst thing in the world. BUT, there is still time to use FSA money before it disappears. I don’t know about you, but the idea of money I set aside not getting used and taken away is not a thought I want to entertain.
How much time do you have?
The first thing you want to find out is how much time do you have to use your funds.
Workplaces have the option to allowing a grace period of up to 2.5 months to use the pledged funds. Check with your benefits administrator to determine when the end of the plan year is and if there is a grace period.
Can you rollover the money?
Another option workplaces can offer employees is the ability to rollover up to $500 of unused FSA money to the next plan year. Again, check with the benefits administrator if this is an option for you as it will help you plan your FSA options for next year.
Note that employers may offer the option to rollover funds or the grace period, but not both.
And they aren’t required to offer either option, so you may have only until the end of the year to use-it-or-lose-it.
How to use the health FSA funds
Flexible spending account money can be used towards qualified medical expenses. Generally, these are ones that qualify for IRS medical and dental expenses per pub 502, along with any prescription medication or insulin.
It, of course, is always best to double-check with your FSA plan to ensure expenses you are hoping to claim will, in fact, be covered. You can ask them for a complete list of what they will cover so there are no surprises.
Some ways to use FSA money before it disappears include:
Has it been awhile since your last physical? Call and set up an appointment. Out of pocket co-pays and coinsurance are FSA eligible.
The braces the orthodontist just said your daughter is ready for? Yeah, that would qualify as a FSA expense if your insurance doesn’t cover the cost.
If you have dental insurance that does cover the entire cost of braces, let us know because that is some awesome insurance!
Has your dentist said it is finally time to look into gum surgery? Do you need a root canal?
Any of those or parts of those treatments not covered by insurance can be paid for with FSA funds. Whitening, however, isn’t covered so you’ll be paying for that treatment or whitening strips on your own.
If you could use newer prescription glasses or contacts, those are also covered. Go ahead, treat yourself to some prescription sunglasses so you aren’t squinting from the sun glare while driving.
Laser eye surgery
Have you always wanted to get LASIK or other eye surgery? By using your FSA, you are essentially getting a discount on the treatment.
Acne medications (with prescription)
If you are paying out-of-pocket for your teenager’s (or your own) acne medications the FSA money can take a bit of the bite out of the expense.
Birth control is usually eligible or, if that fails, the pregnancy tests.
Completely done with all of that? Sterilization would be covered as well.
Are you trying to get pregnant?
Ovulation monitors and infertility treatments may be covered.
Recently gave birth? The purchase or rental of a breast pump is something you might not think of an an eligible expense, but it is.
First aid kit
Actually, this is a great option if you can’t think of anything else!
If you grind your teeth at night, your dentist has probably suggested getting a night guard. Not all insurance covers this, so being able to apply money from your flexible spending account is nice.
Sunscreen with SPF 30+
Yep. Keep your skin healthy with sunscreen. It is also normally an FSA eligible expense.
Please always keep your receipts and supporting documents, whether they are from the drugstore or the doctor. We have had the FSA provider ask us for them on multiple occasions. It even took us three tries to get them to reimburse us for our daughter’s treatment at the orthodontist. Because, you know, everyone spends thousands of dollars at the orthodontist for fun stuff.
Whether it is stocking up on first aid supplies and sunscreen, or finally scheduling some more expensive health treatments, there is no reason to lose your FSA funds.
Have you had your FSA funds cover some unusual expenses?