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Can I still use my 2013 Flex Spending Account funds?

Basics

Flexible Spending Account Details

If you’re among the more than 30 million Americans with a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) and your plan year ran until December 31st, 2013, then you may be able to still use your 2013 funds for FSA eligible expenses. FSA rules have changed since 2013. Last year, the U.S. Treasury Department made changes to the “Use it or Lose it” rule, allowing employers to give people more options to spend down and use their FSA.

Your employer may have allowed for a carryover of up to $500 in remaining funds at year-end. If so, you would be able to use these funds in the new plan year.

Or, your employer may offer a grace period. This grace period is a 2 ½ month extension to use your remaining FSA funds, so you have more time to spend down your account. If your FSA plan year ended December 31st, this means you have until March 15th, 2014 to use your remaining funds.

No matter what the option, these changes make Flexible Spending Accounts…well, a little bit more flexible for consumers. The thought of immediately losing your funds at the end of the plan year isn’t as scary. However, you do still have to USE your FSA by a set plan year deadline, or risk losing your funds (minus $500, if a carryover applies).

5 Tips For Maximizing Your Plan

  1. Take Control of Your Funds: No FSA plan is the same. Your employer has certain guidelines set for your plan – these are outlined in your Summary Plan Description.
  2. Stay on Top of Deadlines: You should be aware of important deadlines for your plan. After all, this is tax-free income that is available to you. Find out if you have a Grace Period or if you have a carryover in FSA funds.
  3. Use it or Lose it: While the “Use it or Lose it” rule may have changed, you still have to use most or all of your funds by a set deadline.
  4. Track Medical Spending: Use an FSA during the year for over-the-counter products, dental and eye care and any out-of-pocket medical expenses.
  5. Buy Everyday Health items: FSAstore.com was founded to make it easy for anyone with an FSA to shop for FSA eligible products. On our site, we eliminate the guesswork you may face at a drugstore because we exclusively offer eligible products with an FSA.

Do you have a March 15 Grace Period? If so, you have only a few weeks left to spend down your FSA.

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