Top Ten Uses for Extra FSA Funds

It is that time of year to check your Flexible Spending Account (FSA) balances!

koali 2December is a hectic time for Americans – shopping, planning, cooking, cleaning, travel plans – but there is one task that so often goes unfinished at this time of year:  Using up your Flexible Spending Account.

Over 14 million Americans participate in a Flexible Spending Account, and for good reason!  With the ever increasing cost of deductibles and non-covered services, these tax free havens certainly do help defray the cost.

Unfortunately these Flexible Spending Accounts do come with one, rather large, catch… you need to spend it, or lose it!

The vast majority of the funds need to be spent by December 31st or they’re gone.  Up to $500 can be used up until March 31st of the next year.  And unfortunatly, A LOT of money is lost…

It is estimated that upwards of $150 – $200 MILLION dollars is lost every year!!

The good news, is that there are some excellent, healthy, productive, and proactive uses for those extra funds.

Top 10 Creative Uses for Extra Flexible Spending Account Funds

1)   Eye Care!  This is an Optometric Blog after all!:  Exams, prescription glasses and sunglasses, contact lenses, dry eye treatments, you name it!

2)  Dental Care:  While you can’t use Flexible Spending Account money for teeth whitening.  A routine cleaning is certainly good, along with dental work you’ve been putting off, or even investing in a new set of dentures.

3)  Try Something Different:  Many Flexible Spending Accounts can be used to go see your chiropractor or even try acupuncture!

4)  Take a try at “Being” the Doctor:  Small, home medical equipment is fair game with Flexible Spending Account funds.  Things like thermometers, stethoscopes, blood pressure monitors, etc.

5)  Trick out that Medicine Cabinet: The vast majority of OTC medications are considered acceptable: cold medicine, contact solutions, eye drops, decongestants, aspirin, antacids, even acne medications!

6)  Stock up on Diabetic Testing Supplys: If you’re a diabetic, here’s the opportunity to get a new blood sugar monitor and stock up on testing strips.

7)   “Honey are we out of band-aids??”:  Everyone needs a proper first aid kit!  Use you extra Flexible Spending Account funds for band-aids, antibacterial cream, gauze, bandages, wraps, etc.  Make several kits and put one in every car.  You never know where you’ll be when you meet need a little triage kit.

8)  LASIK:  Although a leap of faith, Flexible Spending Accounts are a great way to defray the cost of elective ocular surgery.

9)  Ease those aching Joints:  Joint creams, heating pads, hot and cold packs, even eye masks are okay for Flexible Spending Account bucks!

10)  Be Proactive:  Allergy medications, many vitamins, even some sunscreens.  Whatever, you think you’ll need in the coming year.

Thanks for stopping by and we hope you have a Happy, Healthy, and Blessed Holiday and New Year.

– Nick Wolf, OD