Are you enrolled in a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) and have funds you need to use by the end of the year? If so, now’s the time to do some last-minute planning to make sure you get the most out of your FSA dollars. Since Flexible Spending Accounts are governed by the IRS’ use-it-or-lose-it rule, any unused funds that remain in your account at the end of the year may be forfeited — with some exceptions, like if your FSA includes a carryover or a grace period. A carryover lets you carry a pre-determined number of dollars (the IRS allows a $500 maximum) to the next plan year. A grace period lets you spend your FSA funds after the plan year has expired for a pre-determined amount of time. If your plan has neither, it’s crunch time! But we’ve got you covered with a few tips below on how to use your Flexible Spending Account balance.
Review Your Medicine Cabinet
How is your supply of bandages? Do you use an over-the-counter nasal spray or eye drops? There are hundreds of common household items that qualify as FSA-eligible expenses. If you’re curious about the eligibility of a certain household item, look for it in our searchable list of eligible expenses.
Schedule a Dental Cleaning, Eye Doctor Appointment or Physical
It’s recommended that you have your teeth cleaned twice a year and have your eyes checked every two years (or annually, depending on your age). Maybe it’s simply time to get in your annual physical. If you’re due for a checkup, get in before the end of your plan year and use your FSA funds to cover eligible costs.
Schedule a Chiropractor or Acupuncture Visit
FSA funds cover acupuncture appointments and many types of chiropractic care. With chiropractic visits, only adjustments are considered a qualifying expense. Some chiropractors also provide massage therapy, which can qualify as an eligible expense, but only if recommended by a physician to treat a specific medical condition. Documentation for massage therapy might be required.
Plan Ahead for Upcoming Vacations
Do you have any vacations planned? Many common travel and outdoor expenses, such as first-aid kits, sunscreen and bug spray, can be purchased using FSA dollars. (Note: For sunscreen to qualify, it must be SPF 30 or higher.)
Check Your Baby Supplies
If you have a little one at home, there are a number of products you may be able to pay for with FSA dollars. Breast pumps and any supplies that assist lactation, such as bottles and storage bags, can be purchased with pre-tax funds. Prenatal vitamins and baby thermometers are also qualified expenses.
If you still have leftover funds, head over to the FSA Store, where you can find thousands of FSA-eligible items and pay for them with FSA dollars without ever leaving your house.
Credit: Discovery Benefits