If you enrolled in a flexible spending account (FSA) as part of your health coverage in 2016, now’s the time to use up that savings—before December 31!
By purchasing eligible products with your pre-tax dollars, you can save approximately 20 to 40 percent on out-of-pocket health expenses. However, the “use it or lose it” principle applies to these savings plans. For most, FSA-qualified purchases and expenses must take place before the end of the year, but patients are given a grace period—until March 15 of the following year—during which they can submit their request for reimbursements. (Note: Some providers now offer 15-month FSA cycles; check with your provider to see if you may be able to continue using your funds past the end of of the year.)
Here are a few common ways to spend FSA dollars:
- Co-pays for doctor’s visits
- X-rays and lab tests
- Dental and orthodontic work
- Contact lenses and reading glasses
- Physical therapy, acupuncture and psychologist fees
By now you probably know that many over-the-counter drugs require a prescription to be eligible for FSA reimbursement. That means if you’re used to using your FSA to purchase common allergy meds such as Claritin, acid controllers like Pepcid AC or even common cold and flu remedies like Robitussin, you’ll need a prescription.
That also means that FSA debit cards will not work at the register for purchases of prescription-required items (even if you have a prescription). Just talk to your doctor ahead of time, pay for these items out of pocket and submit a reimbursement claim.
Read more about eligible expenses, or contact your benefits administrator to learn more about the FSA specifications under your insurance plans. And as always, feel free to ask a Pharmaca practitioner for health advice or product recommendations.