Products that have this symbol are health-related items
that are most likely to be eligible for reimbursement using Health Savings
Accounts, FSAs, or Flex Benefits. In many cases these benefits do not roll over
and are gone if you do not use them by the end of the year. Stock up now on
these items using your remaining FSA or Flex Benefits.
A flexible spending
account is a benefit many U.S. employers offer. The account allows you to pay
for eligible medical, dental, and vision expenses with before-tax
If you expect to have medical, dental, and vision expenses
in the year ahead that wonít be covered by your health insurance, itís a smart
idea to pay for them out of a flex spending account if your employer offers one.
Expenses Are Eligible?
Medical, prescription, dental, and vision costs are all
eligible for a flex spending account. Anything that the IRS considers a
deductible medical expense is eligible if itís not reimbursed by your health
insurance. Some examples of eligible expenses include acupuncture treatments,
crutches, braces, laser
eye surgery, fertility treatments, deductibles, co-pays, and fees that are more than the
amount covered by your insurance. Even some everyday over-the-counter things,
such as contact lens solutions, are eligible.
Saves You Money
A flex spending account saves you taxes because your
taxable income is reduced by the amount you put into the account. It also gives
you more spendable income for medical, dental, and vision expenses since it
allows you to pay for them with pre-tax money.
Much You Want to Contribute
If your employer offers a flex spending account, you may
enroll once per year during the open enrollment period. Before you sign up,
youíll need to decide how much you want to contribute to the account over the
course of the year. Itís really important to be conservative when making your
estimate because this is a ďuse it or lose itĒ account. If you havenít used all
the funds in the account by the end of the year, you donít get the money back.
To estimate how much to contribute to the account, make a
list of the out-of-pocket medical, dental, and vision expenses you expect for
yourself and your dependents for the upcoming year. Again, make a conservative
estimate so you donít risk losing any of the money you put into the
Throughout the year, contributions will be deducted from
your paychecks and put into your flex spending account. The full amount that
youíll contribute in the year ahead is actually available to you for eligible
expenses from the get-go. You donít need to wait for money to accumulate in the
account before you use it.
When you pay for out-of-pocket medical, dental, or vision
expenses, you simply submit your receipts to the plan administrator with a claim
form to get reimbursed. When the calendar year is over, you have up to three
months to submit expenses for it.
So if you expect to have
eligible out-of-pocket expenses next year, remember to sign up for a flex
spending account if your employer offers one. Youíll save on