How can I use the money in my health care FSA?

If your medicine cabinet is overflowing with bandages and aspirin, think outside the box – and bottle – when using the remaining balance of your Flexible Spending Account (FSA). You can take advantage of the many, additional eligible health-related expenses that qualify for reimbursements. Not only are fertility treatments qualified, but laser eye surgery and lice elimination kits are covered as well.

So, how does a person know what to spend, by when and on what? First, ask your employer about its FSA benefit plan details and confirm how much is in your account. Then, check the deadline – the “use it or lose it” policy doesn’t always apply, so determine if your employer offers a grace period enabling you to roll over a portion of your reserve into the coming year.

Next, review your policy and elections and chart out how to maximize your FSA dollars within these three areas: 

Queue up the qualified expenses

Some of these eligible, health-related procedures and programs are familiar, while others are lesser-known, including:

  • Acupuncture
  • Laser eye surgery
  • Lactation supplies
  • Nicotine gum or patches (if prescribed)
  • Speech therapy
  • Special education services for those with a learning disability (with a doctor’s recommendation)
  • Substance abuse treatment programs
  • Weight loss programs (with doctor’s diagnosis)

Don’t underestimate OTC medicines

Quite a few over-the-counter (OTC) medicines may qualify, with a doctor’s prescription, including:

  • Acne medicine
  • Allergy and sinus medicine
  • Baby rash ointment
  • Motion sickness medicine
  • Sleep aids

That's covered, too?

Many unexpected items may also be FSA-reimbursable, such as:

  • Condoms or birth control
  • Menstrual care products
  • Contact lens solution
  • First-aid supplies
  • Pregnancy tests
  • Reading glasses
  • Walkers and canes

The FSA-approved list can change, so it pays to visit for a current list of qualified reimbursements. Make your dollars make sense and plan to get the most out of your FSA this year.

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