Flexible Spending Account

Use it or lose it

Spend your FSA dollars now before they expire at the end of the year.*

FSA-eligible products like contact lenses, first aid supplies and sun care can be paid for in store or online with your FSA card.

FSA Rx products are also available for purchase with a prescription. Contact your healthcare provider for a full list of eligible products.


Health care basics

Save on products for you and your family.


Personal care

Many everyday essentials are eligible.


Home health care solutions

Health and wellness needs you rely on.

Ask your healthcare provider which products qualify toward your healthcare plan's pre-tax expense account.

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Flexible Spending
Account Q&A

Even if you have health insurance, not all of your medical expenses are likely to be covered by your plan. With a flexible spending account, or FSA, you can save money on eligible medical-related purchases, services and procedures that you would ordinarily have to pay for out of pocket. Read on for answers to your questions about FSA plans.

A flexible spending account or FSA is a benefit account that allows you to set aside money to cover eligible medical expenses. The money is deducted from your paycheck before taxes are assessed. As a result, many people save up to 30% on medical costs covered by the plan.

You can use funds in an FSA to cover the cost of medical, dental and vision co-pays, coinsurance, deductibles and exams. FSA funds can also pay for physical therapy, chiropractic care, acupuncture, prescription drugs and many over-the-counter healthcare items like medications, bandages, home health monitors and activity trackers. Money in your FSA account can be used to cover healthcare costs for you, your spouse and any dependents that you claim on your federal tax return.

Flexible spending accounts are offered through employers, and many companies that offer health insurance make these accounts available to their employees. If your employer offers an FSA, you can elect to have a set dollar amount withheld from your check during each pay period. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) places a limit on the amount of money that you can place in an FSA account every year. For 2017, the limit was $2600 per person per year per employer. Up to $500 can be rolled over into your FSA for the following year.

Every pay period, your employer will deduct the amount that you specify from your check and place it in an FSA before taxes are deducted from your check. The total amount of money that you allot for the year becomes available on the very first day of your plan year, which is usually the first of the year. In other words, if you choose to put $1000 in your FSA during the year, and your plan year starts in January, you could use all $1000 to cover an unexpected medical expense from January 1.

Once you have signed up for a flexible spending account through your employer, using your FSA is simple. FSA payments are reimbursements. This means that you pay for the medical expense out of pocket and then receive the money back from your plan. Typically, you must complete a paper or online form to request a reimbursement and provide receipts or a bill as proof of payment. You can usually elect to have the reimbursements sent back to you in the form of a direct deposit into your bank account or as a paper check.

All FSA plans have time requirements, but the specifics vary based on what type of program your employer offers. Some FSA accounts are referred to as "Use It or Lose It Plans." With this type of account, you must use all of the funds in your FSA account by December 31. Every unspent dollar is forfeited. Employers can offer a Grace Period provision that extends the deadline by two and a half months, usually giving you until March 15 to use all of the money.

In addition, employers can offer a Rollover Provision that gives you the ability to roll $500 over for the next plan year. If you have this type of account, you would forfeit any additional funds at the plan deadline. For example, an account with a $700 balance at the deadline would forfeit $200 and $500 would roll over to the next year. Every year the average American forfeits over $100 from their FSA account.

You can consult your company's human resources department to find out what type of FSA plan you have.

Without a prescription, you can use funds in your FSA account to cover the costs of:

  • Acne light therapy
  • Athletic and orthopedic braces and supports
  • Breast pumps and accessories
  • Blood glucose monitors and testing strips
  • Blood pressure monitors
  • Condoms
  • Contact lenses and supplies
  • Denture cream and cleansers
  • Eye drops
  • First aid supplies and kits
  • Glucosamine supplements
  • Hot and cold packs
  • Incontinence products
  • Lip balm
  • Motion sickness aids
  • Nasal spray
  • Pregnancy and fertility tests
  • Prenatal vitamins
  • Reading glasses
  • Shoe insoles and inserts
  • Sunscreens with SPF ratings of 15 and above
  • Thermometers
  • Vaporizers and inhalers
  • Walking aids and wheelchairs
  • Acne medication and treatments
  • Antihistamines and allergy prevention and treatment drugs
  • Pain relievers and migraine relief products
  • Antacids and acid reducers
  • Anti-arthritis medications
  • Anti-diarrheal products and laxatives
  • Anti-itch medications and creams
  • Cold and flu remedies
  • Decongestants
  • Oral care products
  • Diaper rash creams and ointments
  • Diapers and diaper services
  • Hemorrhoid treatments
  • Medical supplies
  • Medicated personal products
  • Antibacterial gels and ointments
  • Sinus products
  • Sleep aids
  • Smoking cessation products
  • Medicated lotions and sunscreens
  • Sunscreens with SPF ratings below 15
  • Other types of over-the-counter medicines
For additional information about Flexible Spending Accounts, please contact your health care provider.

References:

"Health Care FSA," FSA FEDS. U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Web. 18 Jul. 2017. https://www.fsafeds.com/support/faq/hcfsa

"Eligible Health Care FSA (HC FSA) Expenses," FSA FEDS. U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Web. 18 Jul. 2017. https://www.fsafeds.com/explore/hcfsa/expenses

"Key Dates & Deadlines," FSA FEDS. U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Web. 18 Jul. 2017. https://www.fsafeds.com/support/faq/calendar/500

"Using a Flexible Spending Account (FSA)," HealthCare.gov. U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Web. 18 Jul. 2017. https://www.healthcare.gov/have-job-based-coverage/flexible-spending-accounts/


* If using an FSA debit card for payments, FSA-eligible products must be ordered no later than December 29, 2018 for FSA funds expiring December 31, 2018. Payment is not charged until orders have shipped.

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