Asked and Answered: What are some smartphone-compatible ways to use my FSA?

Admit it or not, most of us are pretty much glued to our smartphones. But I'd argue most of us aren't using them to their utmost abilities. You know, for things like health and wellness.

Sure, you can argue that playing games are a great stress reliever, but there are some pretty neat health care products that help you with other areas of your well-being, such as pain relief, and even for self-care purposes.

The best part is that these products and apps don't need to be expensive or difficult to use. Even if you're not a tech geek, you'll wonder why you didn't try out these products and apps sooner.

Your health...

Blood pressure monitors

A blood pressure monitor can be cumbersome considering that you need to make sure to record your results and the equipment can be clunky. The great thing about having a blood monitor that can connect to your smartphone is that it not only helps you monitor your blood pressure, but it can help you understand your results much easier.

Blood pressure monitors like the QardioArm measures and records your heart rate readings in addition to your systolic and diastolic blood pressure. You can record notes on the app about your results and set reminders so you won't forget the routine you set for yourself. Because frankly, schedules get hectic and it's natural to forget.

Stress management apps

Stress management has been proven to help people with their anxiety levels and emotions. For novice and experienced practitioners alike, having something to guide you through the process can help you focus more and ensures you're more likely to stick with it.

There are many free apps out there that offer different types of relaxation or meditation, including guided ones (where someone speaks guiding you through visualization exercises) and timed ones with music.

Here are a few to check out:

  • Insight Timer - This free app has more than 4,000 guided meditations featuring more than 1,000 teachers. Topics include nature, stress and self-compassion.
  • Aura - This app will offer you a new three minute meditation sequence each day. You'll be asked how stressed or happy you are and you can save the meditation if you like it.
  • Calm - This app features sounds of nature and ranges anywhere from 3- to 20-minute meditations. While many meditation sequences are free, you'll need to pay a small membership fee to access the entire library.

TENS devices

Whether it's to help you relax or nurse a sports injury, these devices are great because they're wireless and you can use your smartphone as a remote controller. Some even have massage functions if you just want to unwind after a hectic day.

Depending on the brand you choose, some apps even help you get the most out of your TENS device such as instructions on where to place the electrodes and tracking how well the treatment worked.

Technophobe or not, it's always a good idea to find the best ways to relax, recharge and take care of your health. With new devices arriving so often, many of these can not only remind you to incorporate healthcare as a part of your routine, but it can help you understand your symptoms.

Your financial wellness...

As you know from reading our Learning Center, there's a lot more to your FSA than just the products and services you buy. Budgeting your monthly spending, tracking your FSA balance and documenting your previous expenses are all key parts of maximizing your flex spending dollars. In other words, to borrow a catchphrase from 10 years ago, there's an app for that.

Most modern banking institutions have basic apps that allow you to manage your accounts and monitor your spending. But some banks have taken these apps a little further, offering a wide range of features to manage your FSA, HSA or HRA from anywhere. (Some even use fingerprint recognition technology to speed up and secure the process.)

Apps from institutions like Optum Bank and Kaiser Permanente allow you to:

  • Track FSA spending
  • Capture and submit receipts
  • Make HSA contributions through bank transfer
  • Collect reimbursement from qualified expenses

Most apps will also allow you to find qualified medical expenses for your accounts, but we know a better way to do this, too.


From FSA basics to the most specific account details, in our weekly Asked and Answered column, our team gets to the bottom of your most-pressing flex spending questions. It appears every Wednesday, exclusively on the Learning Center. And for the latest info about your health and financial wellness, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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