Having a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) can help you save a lot of money to put toward eye care expenses. But the downside is if you don’t spend the money by the end of the calendar year, you lose it. And, since you worked hard to save that money, we want to make sure you know how to spend it wisely.
What can your FSA do you for?
An FSA is a special account that allows you to deduct pre-taxed dollars from your paycheck — contributed throughout the year — to pay for certain out-of-pocket healthcare costs, including vision expenses. FSAs are offered through employers and are in addition to your company-provided healthcare plans.
You can control how much you contribute annually — up to $2,700 a year for individuals and $5,400 for dependents as of 2019. Your contributions can pay for vision-related expenses, including an eye exam and over-the-counter reading glasses. Here’s a comprehensive list of FSA-eligible expenses.
When does my FSA expire?
You have until the end of your benefit (generally, calendar) year to use any funds in your FSA before they expire Additionally, if you leave your job, you forfeit any remaining dollars in your FSA. If you’re terminated from your job, any eligible purchases made on the same day can be submitted for reimbursement. Any purchases made at a later date are ineligible.
Employers, however, may provide an exception to the “use-it-or-lose-it” FSA rule. They may allow you a 10-week grace period during which you can still spend the remaining balance after the calendar year. Or, employers will sometimes allow you to rollover a maximum of $500. Be sure you know your employer’s policies in order to optimize your experience.
How to not lose your FSA money
If the end of the year is near and you still have a remaining balance in your FSA, run through this checklist:
- Have you gotten an eye exam this year? Find an eye doctor near you
- Do you need an extra pair of reading glasses?
- Do you need a pair of reading sunglasses for the beach?
- Are there any FSA-eligible expenses you forgot to submit for reinmbursement?
Next, check the list of FSA-eligible eye care products and services. Your FSA will reimburse you for eligible vision expenses, including:
- Reading glasses
- Reading glasses accessories
- Prescription eyeglasses
- Prescription sunglasses
- Contact lenses and lens care products
- Copayments and deductibles
- Annual eye exams
Make your appointments, and don’t forget to use your FSA card while there. If you do forget to use your FSA card, rest assured that you have 90 days after the end of the year to submit receipts and file a claim with your provider to be reimbursed.
But, you only have 12 months to use it, so budget and plan appropriately.