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.
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.
Groundhog Day is a yearly event where Americans turn to a giant rodent to predict the end of winter. It's also a popular movie starring Bill Murray in which his character re-lived the same day over and over, until he got the details right. Let's focus on the latter.
Because FSAs are a great way to save on medical costs by using tax-free money, the last thing you want to do is relive the same mixups you made with your spending in previous years. Maybe you spent your money too quickly. Maybe you left funds in your account and lost them. No matter the issue, balanced yearly spending comes down to having a plan.
Take a look back
A great method to plan for this year is to look back at your expenses from 2017:
- What product(s) contributed most to your FSA spending?
- Did you find yourself short of an FSA-eligible product when you most needed it?
- What product(s) did you run out of because it wasn't in the usual FSA purchase list?
- Did you have a surprise expense, such as a medical emergency or a newly diagnosed condition?
- Did you end up buying FSA-eligible products or services with post-tax dollars?
Answering these questions will provide a head start to where you want to spend your FSA contributions, as well as when you want to spend those dollars.
Take a look around
When putting together your budget, be sure to leave about 10-20% of your funds aside to cover unexpected medical expenditures. Whether this is the cost of medication, an emergency room visit, or a trip to a specialist, you'll have additional breathing room by using tax-free funds.
After all, the 2018 flu season has been one of the worst in decades, so it's good to get ahead of the bug by putting a little money aside.
On that note, if there's one expense you should factor into your budget for 2018, it's an appointment with your primary care doctor to get a full assessment of your well-being. With a better understanding of your health, you'll have a much better idea of what your medical spending will be over the course of the year.
Take a look ahead
The best way to avoid losing your FSA dollars at the end of the year is to create a budget that outlines how much you have in the account to spend, as well as the expenses you know will be needed over the course of the year.
When planning your FSA spending, you might have the option to roll over up to $500 into the next program period, as well as a 2 ½ month grace period to move into next year's plan from this year's contributions.
On the other side of the coin, even with this flexibility, you might want to leave wiggle room in the account for unexpected mishaps that might be eligible for FSA spending. This includes any FSA-eligible services you might need, and keeping your medicine cabinet supplied with essentials, such as first-aid products.
The key takeaway is to not be like Bill Murray in "Groundhog Day." Though no one can predict the future, planning your FSA spending can help you avoid reliving the same situations again.
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!
Happy Friday, everyone! We're only two weeks into 2018, and the new year is already newsworthy -- most notably with the cold weather, which brought snow to sunny Florida, and record-setting low temperatures to most of the nation. Of course, that has us thinking about the flu.
Well, we're not the only ones talking about it. According to some recent headlines, cold and flu season is a major concern for people of all ages this year, which brings us to our first headline this week:
CDC- 2017/2018 flu season strongest since 2009 - Drug Store News - 1/8/18
According to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday, 5.8% of patient visits reported were due to flu-like illnesses. This is well above rates recorded for the 2016-2017 flu season, and nearly matches the height of illness frequency recorded across the 2014-2015 flu season.
What's more concerning is that indications suggest we haven't seen the peak of this year's season, yet. There are plenty of easy ways to avoid getting the flu, and the flu shot remains one of the most effective. Which is why the next headline is so noteworthy…
Less than half of college students receive the flu shot - Drug Store News - 12/15/17
According to this article, though most college students in the U.S. believe it is important to get an annual influenza vaccine, only 46% say they typically get vaccinated, according to a new National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) survey, released earlier this month.
College students are at particularly high risk of getting and spreading flu because of frequent exposure to high-traffic areas. On that note, another common source of cold and flu exposure comes from the office, which is why we want to share one more headline.
How to prepare your workforce for flu season - Employee Benefit News - 12/28/17
According to this article, employees miss an average of five workdays per year due to the flu, at a cost of about $200 per person for each lost day. That means for a workforce of 250 employees, flu season could cost $250,000 in missed work days every year. This piece takes a closer look at the benefits of protecting your staff -- and yourself -- against this nasty flu season.
If you're seeking FSA-eligible cold and flu relief, look no further than our growing selection of products. And, for the latest info about your health and financial wellness, be sure to follow our Learning Center, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages.
As the New Year begins, one common resolution is to get back into shape for the coming year. But as you know, most people give up their resolutions because they're difficult, and because of pain that comes from improper workout form. Before you hit the gym consider the following tips to have safe workouts in 2018.
1. Build your butt to boost squats
This might sound silly, but poor control of your gluteus maximus (your buttock muscles) can leave you susceptible to injury during workouts like squats.
If the gluteus is weak, your hip extension will be as well, and your spine might have to overcompensate, leading to strains. If you do squats, monitor yourself during the lowering motion and be sure you don't tip forward. You may want to spend a few weeks of specific gluteus strengthening before going into a squat workout.
One exercise that can help strengthen your gluteus is the prone hip extension. To do these, simply lie down and squeeze your buttocks, then lift one leg to perform a hip extension. Do three sets of 10, three times a week. And if possible, it never hurts to have a trainer watch your form.
On a side note, getting back and hip pain is normal during any new workout. If you're noticing some discomfort in your back and sides during these targeted sessions, ask a medical professional if a drug-free pain relief device like the FSA-eligible TENS therapy is right for you.
2. Never ignore your knees
When performing lunges, step-ups, squats or other cardio, a common mistake is allowing the knees to "roll in," allowing the knees to move forward past your toes. This puts pressure at the joint line, meniscus, and knee caps, among other body parts.
When lunging, keep knees in line with your ankles and inner toes. Imagine a glass wall coming up from your toes to help you keep your knee from moving too far forward, or consider using a knee brace or support to help maintain good form.
3. Harness your hips
Tight hip muscles can lead to injuries as well. During activities that require a lot of bending, like yoga poses and squats, a tight hip flexor will fire to help you balance especially if the glutes are weak. This overactivation can lead to stiff, painful muscles.
Tight hips can also pull at your spine creating excessive arching which can contribute to back and hip issues. Be sure to stretch your hip flexors and strengthen glutes.
4. Brace that back
During certain core workouts be careful to mind how far you arch the back. Many people think they're addressing their core, but poor form can leave them at risk of injuring it instead. A common mistake seen in the gym is arching or dropping of the back during the bird dog exercise (a position in which you're on all fours, alternately lifting an arm and the opposite leg).
Be sure to hold your spine straight, changing how high you kick your leg to avoid hyper-extending the back or rotating the hips. One helpful idea might be to brace your belly button towards your spine when performing the motion.
Core workouts can strain on your back, so consider picking up a flexible but supportive back brace to alleviate pain and strains.
5. Push those pecs
The chest muscles in the front have been shown to inhibit your upper back muscles. This prevents them from firing properly during your upper body workouts. It can contribute to unwanted motions such as shrugging shoulders while lifting which can lead to shoulder and neck issues.
A gentle stretch of the pecs for even one minute a day can help address these muscles and help prevent a slouching posture. But if your upper body workouts are a work in progress, consider an preventive support belt to keep your body position aligned.
6. Pace yourself!
It's important to build up gradually. Experts say that you should increase your activity (distance, intensity, weights) by no more than 10% per week.
Example: If you want to run 10 miles per week, increase it by one mile the next week. If you're currently lifting 20 pounds, try to increase by two pounds the following week, then modify accordingly. And as always -- be sure to warm up before any workout!
Finally, pay attention to your body. If you're experiencing pain, see a qualified medical professional, and decide if FSA-eligible physical therapy relief products will help your routine.
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.)
The holidays are a time for giving, and for many people part of that giving spirit is contributing to a charity (or charities) of choice. And that's awesome.
But one place where you want to avoid being "too giving" is with your FSA account. Not only can't you use FSA funds to gift products or services to others (your FSA can only be used on you or your qualifying dependents), but your unspent FSA money doesn't go to a deserving charity -- it's used for an entirely different purpose.
What happens if you don't spend FSA funds?
Unlike HSAs, FSA funds don't rollover from year-to-year and are instead subject to what is typically called the "use it or lose it" rule.
That money doesn't just disappear. Whatever funds are unused go back to your employer. Now, to be fair, employers don't necessarily want the money back - the IRS requires they get it back. In these situations, it's used to balance losses that happen when employees overspend their accounts and then leave a company. This money helps the company offset the loss.
It's certainly a good use of money for the company, but there are no direct benefits to you. Ask yourself this: Would you donate your paycheck for your company's other financial gaps? Unless the answer is "yes" it's time to start putting your FSA money toward better things.
What to do? Get to spending!
If your plan has a December 31 spending deadline, guess what? That's just weeks away, so take a look at your FSA account. If you have funds remaining, FSAStore.com has ways you can make sure you're not losing out on the opportunity to spend wisely.
If you're not sure where to start to zero out that FSA account before the deadline, here are a few out-of-the-box ideas:
- If you use any medical devices with replaceable parts, make sure you have all your required supplies. For example, blood glucose test strips or breast milk storage pouches.
- Why not get a spare pair of reading glasses?
- Need some help with family planning? Fertility testing kits and condoms are both FSA-eligible.
The key takeaway is to remember that FSA funds are yours -- and there are a ton of uses you might not have even considered. If you are at risk of losing your FSA funds by December 31, browse through our growing list of more than 4,000 eligible items for your health and wellness.
In the end, make sure that zero balance in your account at the end of the year is because you spent every penny you contributed, and not because you missed out on a fantastic opportunity.
Holiday shopping probably has you worn out. We get it -- fighting crowds and hunting online to find gifts for others can get a little intense. But what about getting something for yourself? Something you want … something you need … something no one else will think to buy?
This year, give yourself the gift of health with these six last-minute FSA-eligible ideas:
1) Holiday warmth with heat wraps
Take care of your inner weekend warrior by soothing achy muscles with heat wraps for the neck, lower back, arms and legs. Studies show tendons and ligaments have a limited blood supply, so they don't heal as quickly. Heat can help increase blood flow which in turn brings nutrient-rich blood to ligaments, tendons and tight muscles, helping them heal.
2) Merry Kiss-mas!
Soothe chapped lips and protect them from the drying effects of wind and cold during these winter months with FSA-eligible lip balm with SPF. For added protection from the sun our eligible lip protectants come with an SPF of 15 or more, which is especially helpful if you like to spend a lot of time in the great outdoors skiing!
3) Wrap them up with kinesio-tape
Bows and ribbons aren't the only things wrapped this holiday season! Products like KT Tape have been shown to be effective in treatment of strained muscles and tendons. Many physical therapists incorporate the use of kinesio tape in the treatment of tendonitis, muscle strains, and sciatica. This stretchy tape comes in several bright colors, and has countless uses.
4) Start the year off on a good foot
Tight feet and ankle musculature can create stress at your knees and hips when you walk. Using a foot roller can help massage tightened soft tissue in your feet helping them become more flexible.
Foot rollers can also provide some relief to achy tired feet, heel pain and conditions like plantar fasciitis. Rollers are easily portable and can be left under a desk or near a bed.
5) No tears this season – except for fake ones!
Dry eye is a condition that affects many people. Eye experts recommend lubricating drops to help relieve dry, gritty, itchy eyes that occur from this condition. Dry eyes can develop for many reasons, including: medications, certain medical conditions, environmental factors and age.
If your family has had an eye specialist recommend lubricating drops, why not stuff a few in the stocking?
6) Give bugs the "bah humbug" this holiday with bug spray!
If your friends and family like to enjoy long hikes in the woods, bug spray with SPF may be a nice item to stuff their stockings! Certain bug sprays can help repel mosquitos and disease- carrying ticks.
The CDC recommends bathing or showering within two hours after coming indoors to wash off and spot ticks that may be crawling on you. Conduct a full-body tick check using a hand-held or full-length mirror after being in potentially tick infested areas, like trails, tall grass, or any shady, damp area. They also recommend you examine backpacks, clothes and pets since ticks can jump off and attach to a person later.
One of the most frequently asked questions we receive from our customers pertains to the FSA-eligibility of vitamin supplements, which are considered by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to be "general health" items, and not used in the treatment of a medical condition.
One of the most frequently asked questions we receive from our customers pertains to the FSA-eligibility of vitamin supplements, which are considered by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to be "general health" items, and not used in the treatment of a medical condition.
However, alongside prenatal vitamins, a notable exception to this rule is glucosamine and chondroitin -- popular supplements used to treat the pain and loss of function associated with osteoarthritis (OA).
What is glucosamine?
Glucosamine is a substance that is found naturally in the body within healthy cartilage, most notably in the fluid around the joints, reports the Arthritis Foundation. The supplement most often used to treat arthritis and joint issues is glucosamine sulfate, which has shown in laboratory tests to provide anti-inflammatory effects, and can assist in the regeneration of cartilage.
What is chondroitin?
Much like glucosamine, chondroitin is also a naturally occurring substance in the body, and a major building block of cartilage. Chondroitin contributes to overall cartilage health by retaining water, which, in turn, contributes to overall joint flexibility. According to the National Institute of Health, research has not shown chondroitin to be helpful for pain stemming from knee or hip osteoarthritis.
How do glucosamine and chondroitin work?
Glucosamine and chondroitin are usually combined in supplements to treat a wide range of osteoarthritis and joint pain issues. The National Institute of Health reports the vast majority of research surrounding these supplements relates to the treatment of hip and knee issues, with a comparatively small amount of research conducted on other joints.
Chondroitin and glucosamine supplements alone, or in combination, may not work for everyone with osteoarthritis.
However, patients who take these supplements and have seen improvements in joint pain and function should not stop taking them. These supplements are safe to take long-term and may present a viable option for those contending with chronic joint pain issues.
If you suffer from joint pain concerns, use your flex dollars at FSAstore.com to give glucosamine and chondroitin supplements a try.
If you ask most business travelers, they will tell you that they have a love/hate relationship with the practice. While it's certainly exciting to see and experience new places, the daily grind of flying and an ever-changing slate of hotel rooms can weigh on even the most savvy business traveler.
So if you had a way to improve your comfort level, avoid chronic pain issues and maintain your overall wellness during travel, you wouldn't turn it down, right? Luckily, if you have a flexible spending account (FSA), your benefit covers a huge range of eligible products that will do just that. Here's how to use FSA money to boost your overall health during your next business trip.
- Orthopedic Neck Pillow
If you experience chronic pain issues from sleeping in an upright position, you may experience additional pain throughout your business trip. An orthopedic neck pillow can contour to the neck and shoulders, and can be used in conjunction with traditional pillows to provide a comfortable sleep position that alleviates pain.
Check Out: IMAK HappiNeck Orthopedic Neck Support
- Acupressure Mat
Tackling pain on the road is tough, but instead of constantly resorting to over-the-counter pain relievers, acupressure mats may be the perfect solution. Acupressure mats target specific pressure points in the user's back, neck and shoulders to alleviate pain in various parts of the body. These mats are used to treat back/neck/shoulder pain, fibromyalgia pain and even migraines. Best of all, they are compact and can be stored in a suitcase with ease.
- Pain Relief Eye Mask
In addition to helping to block out light to help you sleep, pain relief eye masks are great options for business travelers who experience migraines, sinus pain or wake up with puffy eyes. After a short time in the refrigerator, these masks can provide cooling relief to fight pain and inflammation so you can wake up feeling your best.
Check Out: IMAK Eye Mask, Pain Relief
- Sun Protection with Daily Moisturizer
Is your face feeling as refreshed as it could be before a major business excursion? Daily moisturizers are usually not FSA-eligible, but those that offer broad spectrum protection and an SPF of 15+ are eligible for reimbursement with an FSA as long as their primary purpose is sun protection. These products can help refresh the look of your skin and safeguard your skin from the harsh effects of UVA and UVB rays.
- Eyeglass Repair Kit
If you wear glasses, you know the nightmare of having your eyewear break while on the road. Luckily, a surprising number of eyeglass accessories are FSA eligible, from eyeglass repair kits to cleaning wipes to cleaning sprays. Prepare ahead of time for these emergencies to give you confidence on your business trip!
Check Out: Flents Eyeglass Repair Kit
It's back-to-school season and as you scramble to get your kids ready for the new academic year, there may be more important items on your to-do list than picking up school supplies! August is Children's Eye Health and Safety Month, which is sponsored by the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) and aims to provides information to the public that can help protect and preserve your child's eye health for life.
Luckily, whether you have a medical flexible spending account (FSA) or a limited care flexible spending account (LCFSA), your benefits can cover a significant portion of vision care expenses that can help your child see clearly throughout the coming school year. Here are a few of the AAO's suggestions of what you should cover as August gets underway.
- Vision Exam
According to the American Optometric Association (AAO), an eye exam is recommended for school-aged children every 2 years if there is no vision correction issue present, and those who need glasses or contact lenses should visit on an annual basis, reports All About Vision. Before your kids get back in the classroom this fall, make an appointment with your optometrist to ensure your child's eye sight is healthy - and use your FSA to cover it!
- Eyeglasses/Contact Lenses
Before your kids get back into the classroom, make sure they have up-to-date glasses and contact lenses that can stand up to the rigors of the coming school year. Your FSA covers reading glasses, prescription eyeglasses and prescription contact lenses, so if your child's eyewear is in need of an update, your FSA can cover the fresh new look they've been looking for. Visit our Optical Store to browse our selection of the hottest eyeglasses and contact lens brands.
- Vision Correction Accessories
Are you running low on contact lens solution? Has your child misplaced a carrying case? In addition to vision correction methods, your FSA covers a huge slate of products that can protect and prolong the lifespan of your kids' eyeglasses and contact lenses. Contact lens solution, eyeglass repair kits, cleaning cloths and much more are eligible for FSA reimbursement. Best of all, these products are available over-the-counter and do not require additional documentation to be purchased with your FSA card!
Get a healthy start on the coming school year by shopping at FSAstore.com! We have the web's largest selection of FSA-eligible products to help you maximize the potential of your healthcare benefits.
Your FSA covers a huge range of qualifying breastfeeding kits, supplies and accessories, so there's no reason not to save on this important expense!
Got a bundle of joy on the way? In your scramble to prepare your home and every aspect of your life for your new baby, one of the most important decisions you'll make as a new mother is whether or not to breastfeed.
Today, the medical community resoundingly endorses breastfeeding, and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development attests that breastfeeding has many known health benefits, including, "nutritionally balanced meals, some protection against common childhood infections, and better survival during the first year of life, including a lower risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)."
If you do decide to breastfeed, preparing is made easier if you are enrolled in a flexible spending account (FSA)! Your FSA covers a huge range of qualifying breastfeeding kits, supplies and accessories, so there's no reason not to save on this important expense!
We've created a breastfeeding buying guide just for you so you'll have everything you need to get started off right!
For a one-size-fits-all solution that includes a breast pump, carrying case and all necessary accessories, this is a great starting point for moms to set up their breastfeeding regimen.
Breastfeeding moms who plan to return to work or who will be away from their baby for any period of time will need a back-up supply of milk. Breast pumps are used to extract milk so it can be fed to the baby or stored for later use. There are both manual and electric pump options and you'll want to purchase a pump that you're most comfortable with.
Manual Breast Pumps
Electric Breast Pumps
Whether at home or on the go, breastfeeding storage bottles and bags are the easiest option to properly store and conserve breast milk for later use.
Breastfeeding supply adjusts based on the demands of your baby, some of whom can require feeding between 8-12 times per day, reports WebMD. This can cause your milk to leak at unexpected times, so nursing pads are often needed. These pads are available in a variety of styles and are worn underneath the bra to help keep you dry.
A breast/nipple shield is a device that is typically made from silicone with a hole in the center that is placed over the nipple during breastfeeding to allow milk to pass through to prevent post-feeding irritation.
Breast pumps and accessories are susceptible to bacteria and mold growth if they are not cleaned regularly, which is why cleaning wipes and solutions are a great investment to prolong the service life of your pump. Cleaning wipes also make it easier if you're pumping on the go or at work.
This buying guide just scratches the surface of what your FSA can cover, so find out how far your benefit will go at FSAstore.com! We have the web's largest selection of FSA-eligible products
As a new mom or dad, you have a laundry list of infant health issues to be concerned with, but now that we're in the dog days of summer, sun care is likely at the top of your list of priorities. Sunburn is especially dangerous for a child's skin, and the Skin Cancer Foundation reports that suffering one or more blistering sunburns in childhood or adolescence more than doubles a person's chances of developing potentially-deadly melanoma later in life.
This risk is especially acute in infants, as babies younger than 6 months old should never be in direct sunlight, while infants 6 months and older must be well-protected with sunscreen when outdoors, according to The Mayo Clinic. But how can you pick the ideal sunscreen for your little one? Here are a few key features to look for when shopping for FSA-eligible baby sunscreen.
- Broad Spectrum Protection
On each bottle of sunscreen there are two important pieces of information to look out for. First, the product is most effective if it offers broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays, which are the primary causes of sun damage. Additionally, the product's sun protection factor (SPF) is significant as well. The Mayo Clinic suggests that baby sunscreen should be at least SPF 15 to provide an adequate level of protection against the sun's rays (and if using your FSA to purchase the sunscreen, only those that are SPF 15+ will qualify as eligible).
- Chemical-free Sunscreens
Chemical-free sunscreens are the better choice for baby sunscreen for two very important reasons. First and foremost, if ingredients in a chemical sunscreen run due to sweat or another form of moisture, they could sting the baby's eyes or could even cause a skin reaction. Chemical-free sunscreens typically contain active ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium oxide, and BabyCenter reports that these products have the added benefit of being active from the second they are rubbed onto the skin, as opposed to chemical sunscreens that may need 15-30 minutes to become active.
Now, refine your sun care routine!
When you've found the perfect baby sunscreen, it's important to remember that an infant's skin burns very easily, so you'll need to practice additional sun safety measures. These include:
- Seek the shade: Whenever possible, make an effort to keep your baby in the shade to ensure that he/she will not receive direct sunlight for the majority of your time outdoors.
- Avoid peak sun hours: According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, UV rays are at their most intense levels between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., so re-apply sunscreen generously during these hours or keep your outdoor time reserved for the early morning and evening when the sun is not its strongest.
- Invest in sun-protective clothing: In addition to using baby sunscreen, there are a number of great sun protective clothing items that can protect your infant's skin. Tightly-woven or knit clothing, hats and dark/brightly colored clothing offer the best possible protection from the sun.
For everything you need to keep your family healthy year-round, you can rely on FSAstore.com! We have the web's largest selection of FSA-eligible products to help you maximize the potential of your employee benefits.