Any FSA dollars left in your Flexible Spending Account are yours for the keeping. They are FSA dollars that are yours to do with what you please, and they have to be spent if you don’t want to lose them. Did you know that there is a use it or lose it rule these days? Sometimes, consumers overestimate what they might spend on medical expenses throughout the year, and they end up with FSA dollars still available in those FSA accounts. Many do not roll over, and that means you will end up either losing your money or needing to find a quick way to spend those excess FSA dollars before the year is up. If you’re not entirely sure how to do that, we can help you spend your FSA dollars so you don’t lose them for the year. After all, no one wants to lose their hard-earned money to the federal government (more than we already do).
Check your Policy
The first thing you need to do before you start spending your FSA dollars, though, is check the policy requirements. Some employers allow their employees to roll over a certain dollar amount of FSA dollars to the next year – and some do not. It’s imperative that you know what is allowed and what is not so that you know how to proceed in the most efficient and financially beneficial manner. Here are a few exceptions to the FSA dollars use it or lose it rule:
- Carry over $500 to the following year (offered by some employers)
- 5 month grace period at the beginning of the year to spend FSA dollars (offered by some employers)
What you need to know is that your employer will offer either one or the other – or neither. Check the facts and then double check them before you start spending your FSA dollars.
Additionally, you must know what can be purchased with FSA dollars if you want to spend them. The IRS has very strict rules for what items do and do not qualify as qualified medical expenses, and it’s even more important to know this information than anything else. If you’re spending your FSA dollars incorrectly, you might end up spending even more in the long run. You can check with the IRS’ rules regarding qualified medical expenses here.
Get a Physical
If you are due for one, go ahead and get it now. It’s a great time to take advantage of the fact that these are a required necessity for many, and they are a great way to ensure that you are in the best possible shape and good health. Your doctor can schedule a physical for you so that you are able to get into the office before your FSA dollars run out and you lose them to the IRS thanks to not using them in a timely fashion.
Ask your Doctor for Prescriptions
It’s not something that doctors do for just anything, but they do understand how FSA dollars work. For example, if you have a certain disease or health issue that requires prescription medication, you can ask if he or she is willing to write you a prescription for more now so that you can use those FSA dollars before it is too late. Let’s say you have asthma and need more medication to help deal with it; most doctors are willing to allow you to have a prescription for a refill a bit early so that you can get those FSA dollars working in a convenient manner.
There is never a time in your life when you should not be wearing sunscreen, even in the winter. Did you know that sunscreen is considered a great way to spend your FSA dollars since it helps to keep you as healthy as possible? Now is a good time to buy as much as you might need for the upcoming year so that you have plenty in stock and plenty to keep your skin healthy and vibrant. It’s designed to make life a lot easier, and it’s a great way to spend FSA dollars that need to be spent.
Pay Those Misc. Expenses
Most people have no idea that they can write off their mileage to and from the doctor’s office, the shipping that they paid to have their new contacts delivered to them at home, and things of that nature. Go ahead and check with your bills and see if you forgot to submit a reimbursement request for any of these things so that you are eligible to receive a reimbursement for them when it’s time for you to get to the office and do these things.
Get Your Vision Checked
If I had an FSA account and my employer gave me the standard 2.5 months to use my FSA dollars before I forfeit them, I’d go ahead and schedule my vision appointment a little sooner than necessary. Since many employers offer this time frame until March 15 of every year, I’d schedule my appointment earlier than usual so I could use my FSA dollars. I always to at the end of March, so I’d just go earlier; it’s a great way to use your FSA dollars in the most beneficial manner possible when you are looking to get rid of them before you lose them to something else.
Buy Baby Needs
This is a great idea for anyone who is expecting a baby. You have so many things that you will need when you are no longer pregnant and your baby has joined your family. One of those things, for instance, is a breast pump if you plan on breast feeding. This is something that many insurance policies cover at least a portion of throughout pregnancy, and it – alone with other baby related items – are also great for using those leftover FSA dollars before they are gone.
Go to the Dentist
You should be going to the dentist two times per year. If you have yet to go this year, now is the time to make that appointment. If you have and you have another appointment you need to schedule, now is a good time to schedule it for yourself. You can do the same for your kids and spouse, too, so that everyone gets to go to the dentist and have their teeth checked and their FSA dollars spent on something useful and helpful all the way across the board.
Order New Contacts or Glasses
Even if you have some already, these are a great buy. You always need more; so why not spend some money and get what you really want (especially as it pertains to your glasses)? For example, you can spend your FSA dollars on new glasses that have a new frame that is more stylish, on sunglasses you need when you wear your glasses instead of contacts, or on cooler glasses you might not otherwise want to spend any money on but will if it means losing that money as an alternative.
Go to Class
You’ve been out of school for a long time, but that does not mean it’s not time to go back. If you have some health issues, you can pay for classes using FSA dollars as a form of education to help you overcome those issues. For example, let’s say that you are obese and working with your doctor to help lower your weight and increase your good health. If you are, did you know that there are a number of educational classes that are designed to help you learn about weight management that your FSA dollars might cover? Speak to your doctor about this and see if there is any way that you can educate yourself on this manner so that you can spend your FSA dollars and get healthier in the process.
Get/Update First Aid Kits
Anything can happen at any time, and you should be prepared for that. Did you know that your FSA dollars are good for making new first aid kit purchases? You might find that you are able to update yours by replacing things that have been used or that have expired or you can buy a brand new one? Also, are you aware that you need first aid kits in many places rather than just one? For instance, I need at least two in my house since I have a two-story home. There should be a first aid kit on both floors of your home. Additionally, you should also have one in all your vehicles for safety reasons.
If you are lacking first aid kits anywhere in your home or your vehicles, now is the time to stock up on them and use those FSA dollars to do so. It’s going to ensure that you are as healthy as possible and that any and all potential emergencies are covered so that you have less to worry about when the unexpected occurs.
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