10 Questions to Ask About Flex Spending

Ever been curious to learn more about Flexible Spending Accounts, but not sure where to begin with the research or questions? These accounts can be confusing, especially if you don't know all the details. But, that's where your FSA administrator or HR department come in handy to ask about the specifics of your plan!

While we aim to make it easy to use your FSA atFSAstore.com, we never have access to your FSA account. So, we couldn't tell you your available balance, or how to submit claims, or what's specifically covered, as these terms depend on what's allowed by your FSA plan. You'd need to ask your FSA administrator about your account information.

But, we can help with these 10popular questions people ask about their flex spending account:

1) "What's covered by a Flex Spending Account?"

Flexible Spending Accounts cover lots of different medical expenses, whether you're looking to buy everyday products or want to visit a medical specialist. At FSAstore.com, you can shop for thousands of products that are FSA eligible. You can also learn about covered medical services through our comprehensive FSA Eligibility List, which lets you search hundreds of FSA-eligible expenses.

For example, you can use an FSA to visit a physician, dentist, chiropractor and more. You can also use the account for an annual eye exam or fees for hospital services or even lab fees. Some alternative medicines including acupuncture are also FSA eligible. But to learn what your plan allows, it's good to consult your FSA administrator. Every FSA account has its own guidelines about covered expenses.

Shop for FSA eligible itemsat FSAstore.com

2) How can I use an FSA for medical services?

Out-of-pocket costs such as co-pays, co-insurance and deductibles are easily covered with an FSA. Insurance premiums are not FSA eligible. It's good to again ask your FSA administrator about the details to confirm which expenses are eligible.

Browse the FSA Eligibility List

3) Can I still use an FSA to buy over-the-counter products or medications? Which ones?

Absolutely! Due to some regulation changes in January 2011, some over-the-counter items require a prescription for FSA reimbursement. This requirement is limited to products contain active medical ingredient including Tylenol, Advil, Benadryl and more. Fortunately, thousands of other, everyday products are eligible without a prescription. If you have a prescription, we can easily process it at FSAstore.com, so you can still conveniently shop for the FSA Rx items.

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4) How much money can I contribute to an FSA? Are there limits?

Yes, there are limits on how much you can contribute to a flex spending account. The maximum employee contribution is $2,550, although the limits vary per employer. Some employers do also contribute to their employees' FSAs in excess of $2,550, but it's best to ask about contribution limits for your FSA.

Some FSAs now also have a Carryover, meaning up to $500 can be carried over from the previous year, if that option is provided by the employer. You can always ask your HR department, or if you have access to view your FSA balance online, you can view it online through your FSA administrator's website.

Use our FSA Calculator to estimate how much to contribute

5) Can I spend all of my FSA money at any time during the plan year?

Yes, you can! The FSA money you contribute technically becomes available on the first day of the plan year, regardless if your FSA money has been deducted from your paychecks.

6) What if I change my mind about the amount of money I want to put in an FSA?

You can change your FSA contribution amount during your company's open enrollment period. During this specific time, you can change or add coverage options, which also means changing how much you contribute to the account. Once your FSA plan year has started, changes are typically only allowed due to qualifying events including getting married, having kids, or changing jobs. It's best to consult your FSA administrator about these qualifying events and ask if you can make changes to your account.

7) How do I get the money out of my FSA to pay for qualified health costs?

There are a few options available to you when you want to pay for qualified expenses with an FSA. Your employer may offer an FSA debit card that automatically deducts accepted charges, so you have less paperwork. At FSAstore.com, you can use any FSA debit card, and may not have to deal with giving receipts to your FSA administrator. However, it's not a bad to hold on to receipts, should you ever need to substantiate a claim.

If you don't have an FSA debit card, you can still shop here using a major credit card, and submit your FSAstore.com receipt and any necessary paperwork to your FSA administrator. All purchases made at FSAstore.com will include a receipt that you can print or share with your FSA administrator. You'll be paid back out of the FSA by check or direct deposit. The structure of how you get paid out depends on the FSA administrator.

Learn about our FSAstore.com Customer Perks

8) Can my spouse and I both have FSAs? How does that work?

Yes, you and your spouse can both have FSAs. But, you cannot use both FSAs to cover the same expense.

9) Does it cost me money to set up or have a Flex Spending Account?

No, there's no fee for opening an FSA or using the account.

10) What happens if I leave my employer before the end of the plan year?

Before you leave the employer, make sure to submit any claims to be paid out of the FSA for any qualified expenses. You can file these claims typically by 90 days after the end of your plan participation. Check in with your FSA administrator or HR department to learn what applies to your flex spending account.

Have more questions about your account? Search our FSA Learning Center for answers!

Looking for everyday health items? Shop FSAstore.com for new products!

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