Ways to Use Your FSA Year-End Balance

by Jessica Sommerfield · 0 comments

Flex-spending accounts, commonly referred to as FSAs, are a great option made available in the last several years that can help you pay for out-of-pocket expenses not covered by your insurance. The tricky thing about FSAs is determining an entire year ahead of time how much of your paycheck to devote to the account. Secondly, until 2012, all FSAs were governed by a ‘use it or lose it’ law. If you didn’t use all of your funds in 2014, you couldn’t have saved it to apply to 2015 medical expenses. Thankfully, employers are now allowed to let their employees either roll over up to $500 of unused funds towards the following year, or be given a two month grace period in which to use up the remaining funds. First of all, if you don’t know already, find out the terms of your FSA so you aren’t giving money away.

With that being said, you may be sitting on a balance in your FSA that you’re not sure how to spend since you don’t have any pressing medical expenses, but don’t want to lose in the next few months. Here are a few ideas you may be able to utilize.

  • Alternative therapy

You may be surprised to know that preventative and recuperative therapies such as acupuncture and chiropractic care are usually covered under an FSA. Fields of alternative medicine which have stood the test of time and proven effective at treating and preventing physical and mental ailments are considered non-essential but validly medical expenses. If you’ve been considering one of these therapies but weren’t sure if it would be covered by your insurance, check with your FSA guidelines. These treatments are usually weekly, which can add up quickly if you’re paying out-of-pocket, so FSA fund would be put to good use.

  • Vision and Dental Care

If you’re normal insurance doesn’t cover any or all of your vision or dental expenses, consider utilizing your remaining FSA funds to get some necessary but otherwise expensive work done. Many insurances will cover your vision exam but not glasses or contacts, so FSA funds can bridge the gap for these expenses. My husband’s insurance includes an FSA, so we utilize this regularly to purchase my contacts. If you’re interested in LASIK surgery, this is also an expense not usually covered by medical but eligible under an FSA.

If you’ve neglected to get your teeth cleaned this year or need minor non-cosmetic work done, consider doing it with your remaining FSA funds. These expenses are fully eligible and you’re smile will thank you for it.

  • Physicals and Screenings

Some insurance don’t cover annual physicals, cancer screenings, or other preventative and early-detection checkups. What better way to end the year than to get checked out head to toe and be certain of a clean bill of health going into the next year?

  • Miscellaneous Medical Expenses

You might be surprised by what else your FSA covers, so become familiar with it and take as much advantage of it as possible. For instance, if you regularly purchase medically-related supplies such as particular supplements you doctor recommends, you can submit them to your flex spending. This is why it’s important to keep all receipts related to health needs for particular events over the year, as well as routine purchases. While some expenses may not qualify, it doesn’t hurt to ask or just submit them.

Whatever you end up using your FSA for, don’t let it go to waste. Even if you’re in good health, there are plenty of qualifying uses for these funds that will put you in better health and prevent bigger problems. Finally, evaluate what you spent this year and keep it in mind when you determine next year’s FSA amount to keep it as close as possible to what you plan on spending.

Bonus Tip:

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