Health Care Flexible Spending Accounts: Last-Minute FSA Eligible Ideas
Here’s my annual reminder to get back all the money you put into your Healthcare Flexible Spending Accounts (HC FSA) before the end of the year. The maximum salary deduction limits were $2,650 (2018) and $2,700 (2019).
Quick ideas. If you didn’t exhaust your funds with insurance copays or deductibles, here are eligible items that you can still buy over-the-counter without a prescription. Just order things online and then submit the receipt. Amazon even has a special FSA-eligible page with an “under $25” and “little-known eligible item” section.
Certain over-the-counter (OTC) items such as cough medicines, pain relievers, acid controllers, and diaper rash ointment require a prescription for reimbursement. (No, I don’t understand why sunscreen and contact lens solution don’t require a prescription but cough medicine and ibuprofen does. Why would I buy it if I didn’t need it? Shrug.)
When getting a receipt, make sure it clearly includes the following:
Date of service or purchase
Name or description of the item
Amount of purchase
Deadline extensions. Starting in 2013, employers have had the option of adding one of the following:
Some plans allow a grace period until March 15th of the following year as opposed to a December 31st deadline to use your 2017 funds, but it may only apply to claims and not late purchases. Check with your employer.
Some plans allow participants to carry over up to $500 in unused FSA funds into next year. Check with your employer.
Big, exhaustive lists.
FSAFEDS, Federal Flexible Spending Account Program
Finally, only your FSA administrator can provide you with the exact guidelines for reimbursement according to your plan. I learned this the hard way when our FSA administrator switched one year from in-house to Conexis (now since acquired by WageWorks). Wow, Conexis was a pain. I had to submit some claims three times before finally getting approved. If you count the time wasted, I probably lost money by participating in the FSA at all. The other employees in the company must have also complained so much that the very next year, FSA reimbursement was again managed in-house.
If you have an HSA, look for a “limited-purpose FSA” option that is restricted to dental and vision care services. These have the same max annual salary deduction.
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