With the FSA grace period ending on March 15, we've seen a boost in social media activity, as FSA users look to spend their remaining funds before the deadline.
We're here to answer the most-popular FSA grace period questions to help you better manage your FSA money. These are just a few of the most-commonly asked questions, but the answers can help equip you with the knowledge to make this a successful March deadline.
"If I purchase an Rx item, where do I send the prescription?"
Over-the-counter products that contain medicated ingredients - such as Tylenol, Advil, Claritin and even some cough drops - require a doctor's prescription for FSA reimbursement. In most stores, you need to hand your prescription to the pharmacist and you will be able to use your FSA card with the prescription number you get.
However, if you shop on FSAstore.com, we have a easy Prescription Process that requests prescriptions from your doctor on your behalf, so you can quickly make your purchase without any hassle.
"If I retire this year, what happens to the leftover balance in my account?"
If you're planning to retire and you're enrolled in an FSA, you should spend the money before leaving your position. If you don't, your unspent money will go back to your employer.
If you've been keeping track of your FSA balance and spending throughout the year, hopefully there won't be much leftover. If you need some inspiration for new ways to use your remaining balance, check out our hi-tech health and surprisingly eligible goodies collections.
"What specific health practitioners can sign a Letter of Medical Necessity?"
Medical products and services that fall outside of FSA eligibility rules like massage therapy and calcium supplements can still be eligible with a Letter of Medical Necessity (LMN) from a doctor. However, your plan administrator can still approve or deny the expense.
"What's the difference between the FSA grace period and run-out period?"
Let's tackle this as simply as possible: the FSA grace period is your last chance to spend, the "run-out" period is your last chance to file claims.
The FSA grace period gives you 2.5 months after the end of your plan year to spend your remaining FSA funds from the previous year. So if your plan usually ends on December 31, you would have until March 15 to spend the last of your 2017 funds.
The run-out period is an option offered by your employer to submit claims from the previous year. This will give you a chance to be reimbursed for any outstanding medical expenses you incurred during 2017 and forgot to submit for reimbursement. Check with your benefits administrator to see if this option is offered to you (since not all plans have it) and to find out how much time you have to submit expenses.
"So, can I use 2018 FSA funds to pay for 2017 expenses?"
Employers have the option to elect either a 2.5 month grace period or a $500 rollover option to help you not lose your funds. This may mean spending 2017 funds in 2018.
For example, if you have a plan year beginning in January 2017 that ends in December runs into 2017, you may be able to use those FSA funds during the FSA grace period that ends on March 15 2018. Check with your plan administrator to see if you have the grace period option.
Those with a traditional 12/31 deadline have to spend down their funds by this date. Those with FSA rollover can move up to $500 of their remaining funds into their 2018 FSA totals.
Happy Friday, everyone! This week, I'm stepping in for Sean while he enjoys some warm weather fun a few months ahead of spring. And, while the warmer temps of mid-April seem like they're light years away, tax season is already here. This means the media discussion of personal finance and healthcare savings is in full swing.
This week, let's take a look at a few of the many headlines populating our news feeds, and see what's trending in the ongoing personal healthcare and tax discussion.
Analysis: The tax benefits of a health savings account - Thomas Heath, The Washington Post
This time of year, mainstream media outlets offer up a lot of "overview" discussion on flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and health savings accounts (HSAs). But few of them open as directly as Thomas Heath, who says, "Any time you can protect your money from the tax man, I want in."
Using real-life examples of conversations Heath had with his wife and his employer's human resources department, Heath offers a quick, succinct breakdown of each type of account, what the common misunderstandings are, and what the tax ramifications might be.
Though there are much more thorough resources to be had about your flexible spending tax options (starting right here and here), this piece does a good job whetting your appetite for deeper discussion.
Do workers saving in both 401(k)s and HSAs end up cannibalizing one account for another? - Marlene Y. Satter, BenefitsPro
With so much of today's personal finance discussion focused on putting aside retirement money, while also paying down current medical bills, this BenefitsPro article is perfectly timed. According to the author, a recent study shows that workers who put funds into both a 401(k) and a health savings account are saving more overall than those who just put money into a single account.
She goes on to dispel some common myths about whether saving to one type of account could cannibalize potential savings to the other.
Note: Viewing the entire article requires you to set up a free BenefitsPro account, but we recommend doing so, since the author does a good job breaking down trends and figures about these accounts, contribution analyses and more.
Fewer than half of parents take advantage of this money-saving tax break - Leslie Albrecht, MarketWatch
Here's a sobering thought from this MarketWatch article: Parents could save more than $2,000 a year on child care costs, but more than half leave the money on the table, according to a survey of 1,100 parents by Care.com.
Here's another one: While most parents (67%) know they could save on child-care costs with a tax break called the dependent care flexible spending account, only 44% actually use one.
In this piece, author Leslie Albrecht points out potential sources of child-care tax savings that you can get, even if you don't have a dependent care FSA. And if you do, she also explains how these account holders can still take advantage of the federal child-care tax credit. It's a worthy read for any parents seeking a break from rising daycare costs, and seemingly unforgiving tax scenarios.
Tax season can be a complicated time, but we're here to help. For the latest about your health and financial wellness, you can turn to our Learning Center, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages for the info you need to #GetFlexSmart.
Valentine's Day -- some see it as a "Hallmark holiday." Others see it as the most love-filled day of the year. But, no matter your opinion on the day itself, most Americans still like to cozy up and enjoy the romance in the air.
Maybe we don't discuss love and affection much around here. But then again, maybe we should. Let's take a closer look at some surprisingly eligible products that can help warm up a chilly Valentine's Day, while also helping you stay healthy and happy on the most romantic night of the year.
Set the right mood…
Since dinners, drinks and movies aren't FSA-eligible, let's assume the night goes well with your significant other, and things will head back to the homefront. What better way to ease tensions and relax each other than through a gentle, romantic massage?
Now, to be clear, massage therapy isn't FSA-eligible. However, items like the Kanjō Memory acuPressure Mat can help turn your home massage into something entirely more comfortable, relaxing, and even therapeutic.
This mat offers a simple, yet effective at-home solution for neck and back pain. Taken from the ancient Chinese methodologies used in acupuncture, this high-density memory foam mat targets acupressure points to reduce pain throughout the body.
No one wants to start a relaxing evening with tense shoulders or nagging pain points. Let your FSA help you boost your massage game, and ease your aches, all in one product.
And if the night progresses further…
Let's start off with some very good news -- condoms are FSA-eligible. We can't say for certain where your evenings may go, but we also can't stress enough how important safety is for whatever you might have planned.
Condoms are an effective contraceptive when used correctly, which is great for family planning. But they are also one of most effective ways to avoid sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This alone is a great reason for everyone to have condoms on hand if the night heats up.
Ensure the good feelings last until morning…
It doesn't matter if you're new friends or married for 35 years, few things will kill the romance more than snoring. Thankfully, anti-snore guards and remedies are FSA-eligible with a Letter of Medical Necessity (LMN) from a physician. If you or your partner have a medical condition that leads to snoring, and a doctor has recognized how it will be used to treat your specific medical condition, your FSA can help.
For less-intense cases of snoring (maybe from eating too many chocolates, or sipping too much champagne), you should also consider a simple moisturizing nasal spray, which helps free up dry airways, so your breathing is smoother, and your sleep is more restful… for everyone in the room.
No matter how you plan on spending your holiday, consider the above tips when planning your evenings. Be safe. Be confident. Be romantic. And #getflexsmart by using your FSA to enhance and improve every part of your well-being.
Tax-free healthcare spending requires diligence to manage correctly. But that doesn't mean it needs to be difficult! Keeping clear records of how much of your pay goes toward insurance costs, doctor's visit deductibles, and costs of prescription medications, health supplies and over-the-counter products, can go a long way.
What's important is that you know how much your health spending impacts your overall budget. We'll help you can get ahead of your health spending with these organization tips.
Start with a budget
The easiest way to keep track of your healthcare spending is to set a monthly budget. Take your monthly income and subtract your major expenses such as housing, utilities and food, but don't forget to include your health spending. The key to a monthly budget is to think of it as a dashboard view of where your money is going.
One detail to remember with a monthly budget is setting a budget at the beginning of a month is really a projection on how your money will be spent. At the end of the month you should compare your projection to the actual spending in each category.
From month to month you will find trends on utilities rising and falling with the seasons, food and entertainment spending shifting around and even changes in your healthcare spending. A monthly budget will also allow you to see the impact of unforeseen events on your spending, such as a visit to an emergency clinic, or some unexpected guests coming into town.
You can keep a monthly budget on paper, or even through a spreadsheet template, but there is a wide range of free budgeting software apps that can be found with a quick web search. This personal budgeting software will be able to offer graphical charts and trackers to make it easy to see exactly how much of your spending is going toward healthcare.
Keep up with FSA-eligible spending
Another benefit of keeping a monthly budget that includes health spending is you can get more detailed and track your FSA-eligible spending by category.
Why is this important? FSA dollars are use-it-or-lose-it, so it is best to know how much you have available so that you spend those dollars the best way possible before your yearly deadline. And having a better understanding of your annual healthcare spending will also influence how much you can (and should) elect during your open enrollment.
To help you establish and set a budget (and to see how much you can save on your medical needs using FSA dollars), we have an FSA calculator that can help you estimate your health spending for the year so you can make informed decisions, and take maximum advantage of your flex spending dollars.
While each use case varies, we estimate that by using tax-free dollars, you can essentially save up to 30% on your eligible medical, pharmaceutical, dental and eye care costs. The only challenge is figuring out how much money to set aside.
It's barely February and consumer healthcare news has been coming in at a blistering pace, thanks to some major industry developments. This FSA Friday, we take a closer look at these disruptive, but encouraging changes, including a dynamic newcomer in the healthcare space, the "Airbnb-ing" of health services, and the growth in popularity of generic drugs. Let's dive in...
Amazon: How its strengths could help it in healthcare - David Marino-Nachison, Barron's
In January, we learned that Amazon is partnering with Berkshire-Hathaway and JP MorganChase to break into the healthcare industry. As of now, the focus and scope of Amazon's efforts are a mystery, but it hasn't stopped experts from examining what the company does better than anyone else, and how that could apply to the healthcare industry.
Barron's posted a helpful overview of a much deeper article by Harvard Business School professor Robert Huckman, who stated that Amazon's edge in data integration, friction-free commerce, and willingness to experiment could help the company revolutionize healthcare in the future.
When you need to find a new doctor, where do you turn? Family? Friends? It's a tremendously personal decision, but perhaps one that will be made easier by the launch of AirCare. This new platform puts an "Airbnb" spin on the search for healthcare providers by aggregating the availability of local providers.
Much like the Airbnb lodging service, this disruptive platform will give users the ability to search for primary care doctors, compare pricing, book appointments, and even submit claims to insurance companies. For providers, AirCare will potentially change how they run their healthcare practices by giving them access to consumers, and eliminating the need for medical billers.
Savings take center stage for generics makers - Jim Frederick, Drug Store News
Not all of these recent developments are "new" concepts. The high cost of prescription medicines remains a major issue for the U.S. healthcare system, but new research has found that expanding accessibility and use of generic prescriptions could be a major cost-saver.
According to research firm IQVIA and the Association for Affordable Medicines, generics accounted for 89% of all U.S. prescriptions dispensed in 2016. Yet, they cost just 26% of what U.S. consumers spent on prescriptions. Amazingly, generics have saved the American healthcare system $1.67 trillion in the last decade.
Additionally, generics put cost savings back into the pockets of American consumers, many of which are forced to forgo refilling prescriptions for branded drugs because of high prices.
Despite all these looming changes, one thing remains certain -- for the latest about your health and financial wellness, you can turn to our Learning Center, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages for the info you need to #GetFlexSmart.
While we're already into the second month of 2018, it's still 2017 for FSA users who have grace period extensions. And those who have until March 15 to use their remaining funds might be glad they waited, because we're growing our inventory and adding new hi-tech healthcare products along the way.
One of our newest additions is getting some serious attention from industry media -- the iHear Home Hearing Test Kit. This is the first at-home hearing test kit to be approved by the FDA. And yes, it's FSA-eligible!
iHear pairs with FSAstore.com on FDA-cleared home hearing screener - Michael Johnsen, Drug Store News
Let's start with a little background. In 2017, new legislation introduced by Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, called for the creation of a new category of hearing aid devices that could be sold over-the-counter, according to Consumer Reports.
Before this legislation, hearing aids were only available for purchase with a prescription. Now, those who suffer from mild to moderate hearing loss have easily accessible options for hearing devices.
iHear was an early pioneer in this space; it developed an over-the-counter hearing aid option the instant that legislation was signed into law, reports reports Drug Store News. The introduction of the iHear Home represents the company's next step in providing affordable hearing solutions for consumers.
Bringing aboard a new, hi-tech health device is always exciting for our customers, so be sure to check back often to see what other great new products you might want as we approach the grace period deadline.
With new deadline extensions in place, thousands of eligible products available for purchase, and the freedom to use an FSA card, flexible spending accounts are easier than ever to use. We've seen a little bit of everything since we founded our company in 2010, but year after year there are still questions on the minds of FSA account holders.
So, once and for all, we're tackling the three most common eligibility questions we receive from FSA users. Whether you're an HR professional or an account holder, you can be armed with the knowledge necessary to take full advantage of your tax-free funds.
"Why do I need to get a prescription for items like Advil or Tylenol that I can buy without one in a pharmacy?"
New visitors to our site may think that we're putting FSA users through the ringer to purchase over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, but in reality, we are simply complying with rules put into place through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).
The provision requires FSA users to submit prescriptions for any OTC products that have a medicated ingredient like Advil or Claritin to obtain reimbursement. Our team continues to support the repeal of this provision, but until that happens, we can help you navigate this requirement.
First, FSA users should be mindful of any upcoming OTC medicine purchases they may need to make in the coming months, and pick up prescriptions during routine doctor office visits. If you don't have an appointment on the horizon, we have created the Prescription Process to help.
Simply provide your physician's name, phone number and address and we will obtain the documentation necessary for you to make your purchase.
"So, diapers aren't eligible, but toddler training pants are?"
This is a common point of confusion for FSA users as it would seem that these two products perform the same function. As is often the case, diapers are considered "general health" items by the IRS. In short, diapers are used to clean up after a healthy function of the body, therefore it has no medical purpose.
However, toddler and young child training pants are eligible because they protect against bed-wetting, an involuntary function of the body. Training pants are commonly used in treatment plans for bed-wetting to help kids develop nighttime bladder control.
"Why aren't tampons eligible?"
When it comes to FSA eligibility, there is no product or service that has been more confusing than tampons. Currently, tampons are not eligible for FSA reimbursement in accordance with IRS regulations. And we understand why there's so much frustration.
The answer lies in an IRS regulation that dictates which products and services are FSA-eligible -- regulation IRS 213(d), which states:
"The term 'medical care' means amounts paid for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, or for the purpose of affecting any structure or function of the body."
Furthermore, the IRS claims, "...medical care expenses must be primarily to alleviate or prevent a physical or mental disability or illness. They don't include expenses that are merely beneficial to general health, such as vitamins or a vacation."
We think this means the IRS views them as a means of treating a healthy function of the body, as opposed to treatment of an illness or long-term condition.
Products like these, which are designed for "general health" purposes, are not FSA-eligible. But, we'd love for the IRS to make an FSA-eligibility exception, so women can cover more of their personal expenses with tax-free funds, and help FSAs do more for their families.
Be sure to visit our Learning Center for more great articles about everything FSA, so you can maximize the potential of your healthcare benefits!
If you are like many people with FSAs, the end of the year deadline can bring with it a mad rush to spend your leftover funds, so you don't lose them. This tax-free money is a great way to cover qualified health-related spending, while enjoying savings on taxable income. But waiting to spend right before the deadline might just lead to losing the funds if you're not careful.
For 2018, use these simple tips to plan ahead with your FSAs. As you'll learn, they don't have to be a year-end burden -- in fact, they're opportunities to save on the products you need, with the tax-free money you've already set aside year-round.
Make a spending plan your New Year's resolution
If you head into a new tax and employment year understanding what your paycheck contributions will be for your FSA account, you already have a key piece of planning in place for knowing how much you have available to spend in any given month.
The FSA contribution limit in 2018 will be $2,650, which comes out to about $221 per month.
If your medical expenses are straightforward, here are two easy rules of thumb for choosing an FSA amount:
- If your out-of-pocket medical bills typically amount to $221 a month or more — or roughly $2,650 a year — consider contributing the maximum to your FSA.
- If you don't contribute the maximum, consider adding $200-300 per month.
- If your medical expenses are lower, calculating the total of your estimated copayments, dental and vision expenses for next year should cover your needs.
And you probably don't want to try and zero-out your FSA funds on a monthly basis so your account does have some money available for unexpected expenses. Like when your entire extended family catches a seasonal flu … at the same time … and requires a huge amount of over-the-counter decongestants.
What you can do is take stock of FSA-eligible items you know you purchase regularly from basic medicine cabinet restocking or maybe just a replacement of reading glasses that get lost like clockwork.
The goal with a spending plan is to prepare regular purchases in advance on a regular basis – maybe monthly, maybe every other month or even just quarterly – which figure into your regular FSA fund contribution levels, while leaving some room for unexpected emergencies.
Avoiding the end-of-year crunch
This way you will be consistently spending that money that has the yearly use-it-or-lose-it deadline on items you know you'll be needing throughout the year anyway. Doing so will avoid a total crunch at the end of next year and will keep your contributions going toward FSA-eligible products.
Anyone making that end-of-year mass purchase right now is probably thinking back on the number of items that were bought out of pocket that could have been purchased using FSA funds with a little more planning.
In fact, if you're scrambling to spend this year's FSA contributions before the deadline hits, once that task is complete take a few more minutes and put together a spending plan for next year.
You've already put thought into what you regularly need and done the research on different products that are FSA-eligible. There are probably a few in the mix you didn't even realize qualified for FSA spending. Check out our eligibility list for a complete listing of FSA-eligible products and services.
It's your money. Use it to ensure continued health and wellness for 2018 and beyond.
If you have an end-of year FSA deadline, what are you still doing here? You only have two days to shop with your available funds before you lose them!
This is a particularly busy time of year for personal finance journalists, as well. This week, we were lucky enough to be mentioned in a series of pieces regarding this all-important FSA deadline. (And we even contributed our own views to a few publications as well.)
So as we close out 2017, let's recap some of our best media hits from the past week -- all of which can help you gear up and spend down, just in time for the 12/31 deadline.
Employee Benefit News - "What to tell workers about FSAs before the end of the year" - Jeremy Miller
Our CEO and founder, Jeremy Miller, was published in Employee Benefit News this week with tips for HR and benefits professionals. FSAs are often plagued by confusion among employers, and Jeremy outlined some simple strategies that can make a real difference around FSA deadlines to help employees get every financial benefit from their accounts.
CBS News - "Don't let your flexible spending account money vanish" - Ray Martin
We think our website's Eligibility List is the best in the business, and we're thrilled that CBS News agrees! After you've read this great rundown of end-of-year flex spending tips, follow the link to our Eligibility List to check out the eligibility status of thousands of medical products and services.
Consumer Reports - "It's time to spend your flexible spending account money" - Donna Rosato
We received another mention in an article by Consumer Reports, which you might know as one of the most popular consumer advocate publications in the U.S. In addition to important information about the deadline, the article also covers the primary differences between FSAs and HSAs, helpful links to IRS documents, and a link to our home page!
Happy New Year from all of us at FSAstore.com and HSAstore.com! For the latest info about your health and financial wellness, be sure to follow our Learning Center, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages.
It's the holiday edition of FSA Friday, and we hope you're reading this while preparing for a wonderful, safe, healthy weekend with friends and family!
With the excitement of the holiday season in full swing, it's important to remember there is another big shopping rush coming, as FSA users spend down their remaining funds before the end of the year.
Instead of a news roundup this week, we're putting the spotlight on a few FSA-eligible products we've fallen in love with in 2017, in case you want some buying inspiration before for the 12/31 deadline!
You know how you're really not supposed to use cotton swabs to clean your ears? Here's the perfect alternative. The Eustachi Ear Unclogger is an amazing device that uses the body's natural movements to clear your ears of wax. You simply place the device under a nostril and it will lightly blow air through your nasal passages, and while swallowing and yawning normally, this will expel wax from your ears. It sounds like magic, but it works!
Every home should have an ice pack at the ready for joint sprains, bruises and pulled muscles, so if you're looking for a new one this year, go with our favorite option, Caring Mill! This ice pack comes with straps and Velcro closures, so it can be applied long-term to sensitive areas. Plus, each purchase of Caring Mill products will result in a donation to Save the Children. Talk about win-win!
Have you ever wanted a first aid kit that could do more than just sit on the shelf and collect dust? One of our favorite vendors is Adventure Medical Kits. Whether you need something for world travel, something waterproof for camping or boating, or something small to put in your hiking pack, these kits are the perfect choice.
This was a lifesaver during the early fall when our whole office came down with colds, and it has become one of our most popular drug-free nasal relief devices. Like breathing easy after a hot shower, steam inhalers deliver humidity to dry, inflamed nasal passages to reduce pain, clear mucus, and help you breathe easier during the worst days of cold and flu season.
But, let's not end this post talking about mucus. From all of us at FSAstore.com/HSAstore.com, thank you for a fantastic year, and best wishes for a happy, healthy holiday!
(And to read the latest info about your health and financial wellness, be sure to follow our Learning Center, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages … hopefully on that new laptop, smartphone or iPad.)
Have you decided to sign up for a flexible spending account (FSA) and received an FSA card? Great news! You will be able to set aside tax-free money each monthtocover a huge selection of medical products and services. In most cases, FSA account holders will receive an FSA card to make purchases, but it can't be used everywhere. Let's explore the most important points about the regular use of an FSA card!
Who accepts FSA cards?
FSA cards are essentially the same as debit cards, but used to cover medical expenses. In some cases, FSA holders who wishto access their funds are required to incur an out-of-pocket expense, and then submit receipts to their benefits administrator. Employees will get reimbursed once thepaperwork is submittedforeligible expenses.
FSA cards make the reimbursement process much easier by automatically withdrawing funds from thedebit card.However, if an FSA holder opts to make a purchase with his/her card for a product or service that is a non-healthcare merchant, this merchant must support an inventory information approval system (IIAS). An IIAS identifies healthcare eligible items based on the products UPC code. Thiscombines inventory management and point-of-sale systems that confirm the eligibility of items purchased with a FSA card, which accesses eligibility flags in the merchant's inventory database. In addition, this will generate a payment transaction that contains the required IIAS information. It will also allow merchants to respond to IRS audits, if they occur.
Do I still need to keep my receipts?
FSA cards automatically deduct the amounts of your qualified purchases.But,flexible spending accounts require itemized deductions. The IRS requires that all FSA reimbursements be substantiated with receipts or other forms of documentation.Benefits providers may request a copy of itemized deductions to validate that an expense was eligible for reimbursement through a FSA.
Now that you know how your FSA card works, use it at the store designed to make it easyto spend FSA funds: FSAstore.com! We have the web's largest selection of FSA eligible items. We accept ALL FSA cards and major credit cards.
Flexible spending accounts (FSAs) today can be one of the mostly useful tools an employee can have, but historically, FSAs had been a healthcare benefit without the best reputation. It used to be that rigid deadlines, eligibility requirements and other features that required due diligence made FSAs notoriously difficult to use. But as the tech revolution has altered the way we perform countless daily activities, it has also made managing an FSA more accessible than ever before.
If you're on the fence about enrolling in an FSA, the following tech developments in recent years may convince you to give them another shot!
- FSA debit card
By far one of the biggest developments in the FSA world is the arrival of the FSA debit card. Traditionally, FSA expenses were paid for with the account holder's own cash, check or credit card, and then these expenses were submitted for reimbursement to the FSA plan sponsor with the required documentation (receipts, invoices, etc.). The vast majority of benefits providers will now issue FSA debit cards for account holders, which dramatically simplifies the claims process and makes it easier for you to pay for out-of-pocket healthcare costs. Just be sure to hold onto your receipts in case your administrator requires you to submit documentation.
- FSA portals
Most FSA administrators offer 24/7 access to your FSA account details through a dedicated FSA portal. Your FSA portal will typically allow you access to your account balance, the ability to submit and manage claims online, contact information, and much more. FSA portals make it easier than ever to manage consumer-directed healthcare accounts.
- FSA educational tools
The crisis surrounding FSAs for decades was always a question of education - whether educational resources were made available to workers and whether HR managers could answer in-depth questions related to FSA rules and regulations set forth by the IRS. At FSAstore.com, we know that consumer education is one of the biggest stumbling blocks to FSA enrollment, which is why we've created a whole suite of FSA Educational Tools to help you cover every angle of your account. These include:
- FSA Eligibility List: The web's most comprehensive eligibility list with over 800 entries detailing medical products/services and their eligibility with FSAs, HSAs and other consumer-directed healthcare accounts.
- FSA Learning Center: Have a question about your FSA? Explore our extensive educational resources or submit a question 24/7 to our FSA experts.
- FSA Calculator: We've created a way to calculate exactly how much FSA money you should set aside based on your income, marital status and state.
- FSA Tracker: Not all FSA plan years are the same, so make sure you stay on top of your deadline. Submit your FSA deadline in our FSA Deadline Tracker for email reminders sent to you when your deadline is around the corner.
If you decide to use your FSA card to cover the cost of insurance premiums, will that be covered? Learn more about insurance premiums and eligibility here.
Why do insurance premiums differ from other insurance expenses?
Health insurance premiums are amounts paid to an insurance company to cover the cost of one's health insurance plan. These amounts can be paid out monthly, quarterly or annually.Their value is heavily contingent on factors.Factors could includethe type of coverage, the likelihood of a claim being made, where the policyholder lives or operates a business, the policyholder's inherent risk of health problems or behavior and competitive pricing with other insurance companies.
Premiums are an insurance company's means of covering the many liabilities that come with the plans that they underwrite, as well as investing these amounts for larger returns. However, state insurance regulators work to make sure that companies will have adequate reserves to cover any claims that policyholders may file to ensure that their medical expenses are covered. Premiums may fluctuate and increase/decrease after each policy period. This is based on numerous factors, including claims made in the past plan year or cost of coverage increases/reductions.
For a policyholder to continue to receive coverage through his/her insurance plan, premiums must be paid according to the policy's payment plan schedule.It isleft up the policyholder to decide where these funds should come from. For instance, a flexible spending account (FSA) is only designed to cover medical products and services for an account holder, spouses and dependents.
As regulation IRS '213(d) states regarding the FSA spending:
"medical care includes amounts paid for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease, or for the purpose of affecting any structure or function of the body."
Health insurance premiums fall outside of this definition and pay for coverage, not direct care.
Are health insurance premiums ever covered by consumer-directed healthcare accounts?
FSA holders cannot count insurance premiums as FSA eligible.Health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) and health savings account (HSA) holders have more options. Business-sponsored accounts HRAs may be underwritten to cover health insurance premiums, but it's up to the employer. HSA holders can pay for health insurance premiums for spouses and qualified dependents. They can do so if the account holder is receiving healthcare continuation through COBRA or unemployment compensation through a federal or state program.
What's the verdict?
If you have an FSA, don't fret! Your FSA covers thousands of FSA eligible items, as well as other vital out-of-pocket expenses like co-payments, deductibles, over-the-counter items,and much more.
For questions about product eligibility, check out our Eligibility List.
Plan out your spending with our FSA Calculator.
Shop forFSA eligible products at FSAstore.com!
After a long, sweltering summer, the gorgeous fall weather is the perfect season for hikers, campers and outdoorsy types to go on a fall hike soon.
Plan a fall hike with your FSA
However, before you hit the road to your next destination, make sure you use your flexible spending account (FSA). Your FSA can prepare you for the next fall hike. Your Flexible Spending Account covers lots of different, everyday products that you may not realize are eligible. For example, did you know that pain relief hot or cold therapy packs for achey muscles and other pains? Or how about prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses? Thousands of items are available with an FSA.
Use your FSA card to pick up the following helpful FSA eligible expenses:
First Aid Kits
It's vital that you pack an FSA eligible first aid kit before your hike. This kit contains bandages, antiseptics, first aid tools and more that can help you act quickly. Opt for an Adventure Medical First Aid Kit for a rugged first aid kit that can stand up to the rigors of the trail!
Check Out: Adventure Medical Kits Weekender, 1 Kit
Hiking in the fall presents its own challenges, as precipitation can make trails slippery and uneven. A great item to pack is an elastic bandage. It can stabilize an injured joint to prevent further injury, and can be made into a sling! Bandages are a perfect accompaniment to a first aid kit.
Check Out: KT Tape
It's advisable that you apply sun protection before spending time outdoors. Additionally, if you become lost, a lack of sun protection can quickly become a life-threatening matter.This is an essential you should have available when venturing on the trails.
Do you have fall allergies? Allergens will be present whether you're in an urban or wooded environment.Prepare with a dedicated antihistamine tosymptoms such as sneezing, stuffy nose, watery eyes and a sore throat.
Check Out: Zyrtec Allergy, 24 Hour 10 mg Tablets, 45 ea
Pick up everything you need for your family's well-being with money you've already set aside by shopping at FSAstore.com! We have the web's largest selection of FSA/HSA eligible items!