Why do I need to opt into an FSA each year?

Enrolling in a Flexible Spending Account is voluntary. You must sign up and make elections for each new plan year.

Open enrollment is the time to make any adjustments to your annual election. If you’ve experienced any major life changes (had a family addition, gotten married or transitioned to a new job, etc.) recently, you might like to contribute a different amount than in previous years. Once open enrollment is over, you won’t be able to change your election unless your plan lets you, in case of a qualifying event. A qualifying event would affect coverage and includes marriage, child birth or an employment change. Not every FSA plan or employer allows you make changes even if you experience a qualifying event, so it’s best to touch base with your FSA provider and ask if your plan does!

Your FSA contribution is divided equally per paycheck throughout the plan year. How much you’re allowed to contribute is at the discretion of your employer. Annual contribution limits are capped at $2,500 per person in 2013, but should your spouse have access to an FSA as well, you could contribute up to $5,000 per household.

Create an FSA checklist

Before you enroll (if your company offers an FSA), review any expected health care expenses you’ll have for the year.

  • Update your medicine cabinet with necessary supplies.
  • Consider big ticket expenses when calculating your contribution. Were you planning on LASIK or braces for your child?
  • Think seasonally: Allergy products (require a prescription) for spring. Sunscreen is FSA eligible and a summer necessity. Warm steam vaporizers for winter.
  • Schedule a routine checkup or visit specialists that your regular insurance plan doesn't cover.
  • Many over-the-counter (OTC) items are FSA eligible, but OTC medications require a prescription. Ask your doctor about refilling necessary prescriptions and use your FSA for these!
  • Get an eye exam or visit a dentist. Out-of-pocket costs for dental & vision care are also covered by an FSA.

Where can I calculate expenses?

Use our easy FSA Calculator to estimate your expenses. You could make your own personalized expense checklist and follow it up with the calculator! See a sample FSA calculation on our blog.

Still confused about your FSA?

  1. Get more information about your FSA plan via our Learning Center.
  2. View our FSA Eligibility List to discover which products are mainly covered by an FSA – either with a prescription, or without! While the IRS has official guidance on FSA eligible expenses, be aware that your employer determines FSA eligibility for your individual plan. This means that not all products or services might be covered by your FSA.
  3. Last but not least, browse FSAstore.com for thousands of FSA eligible products!

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