Most December shopping lists are filled with holiday gift ideas. Today’s Vision wants to remind you that if you have a flexible medical spending account (FSA), you should make another list that includes eye exams, eyewear, contact lenses, and other items you can buy with the workplace benefit funds. The reason for the second list? If you don’t use your FSA money by Dec. 31, you’ll likely lose any cash left in the account (some employers will allow you to “roll over” some funds until March 15, 2017 – check with your employer).
Flexible spending accounts, commonly referred to as FSAs, are popular employer-provided benefits, allowing workers to set aside money to pay for items such as health insurance co-pays, uninsured treatments (such as vision care) or even over-the-counter drug purchases. The money is put into the employee account through regular, equal payroll deductions. Even better, the deductions are made on a pretax basis, meaning you don’t have to pay federal, Social Security — and in some cases — state taxes on that amount of income.
If your employer doesn’t provide you the extra time, then you must spend up your account by the end of the benefit year, which in most cases is Dec. 31. But don’t panic. There’s still time to make sure your 2016 medical FSA money isn’t wasted. Vision care is a great way to spend your funds, especially when the employer health care plan offers little or no coverage. FSA money can be used to pay for you, your spouse and dependents, including:
- Eye exams
- New eyeglasses
- Task-specific eyeglasses, such as computer glasses or sports safety glasses
- Prescription sunglasses
- Contact lenses prescribed by your eye doctor
- LASIK eye surgery
If you have FSA money available, please call our office today to ensure you spend the money that’s been set aside for you before the Dec. 31 deadline.