It's back-to-school time, and as you scramble to get your kids ready for the new academic year, there may be more to think about than just picking up school supplies.
This is because August is Children's Eye Health and Safety Month, sponsored by the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). Each year, the organization aims to provides information to the public that can help protect and preserve your child's eye health.
Luckily, whether you have a standard 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 just a few of the AAO's suggestions of what you should cover as the calendar flips to September and school gets underway.
According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), an eye exam is recommended for school-aged children every two years if there is no vision correction issue present, and those who need glasses or contact lenses should visit on an annual basis.
Before your kids get back in the classroom this fall, make an appointment with your optometrist to ensure your child's eyesight is healthy - and use your FSA to offset the costs.
Another good plan is to make sure your kids have up-to-date glasses and contact lenses that can stand up to the rigors of childhood. Your FSA covers reading glasses, prescription eyeglasses and prescription contact lenses.
If your child's eye wear 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 leading eye care brands.
Are all types of contacts covered?
If contacts are designed to correct vision problems, they're FSA-eligible. Though insurance companies might have their own policies regarding coverage of specific types or brands of lenses, they're usually reimbursable with your tax-free funds. Plus, unlike some insurance providers, which may not cover contact lenses in place of eyeglasses, if the contacts are prescribed to correct vision they are eligible, regardless of insurance plan coverage.
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.
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 FSAstore.com Learning Center. And for the latest info about your health and financial wellness, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
When you're experiencing the worst of your seasonal allergy symptoms this spring, just imagine how much worse it could be if you were wearing contact lenses! This time of year is especially trying for contact lens wearers, as the American Optometric Association claims more than 75% of contact lens wearers complain of allergen-caused eye pain and irritation.
Allergy season calls for special tactics that contact lens wearers should practice throughout spring to control their symptoms and improve their quality of life. Before your local pollen count peaks, keep the following tips in mind.
- Switch to eyeglasses
During allergy season, contact lenses provide an additional surface for pollen, dust and other allergens to stick to, and they can be like sponges for these particles throughout the spring, reports VeryWell.com. Wearing eyeglasses, even on a part-time basis, can dramatically limit how many allergens your eyes come into contact with and can reduce irritation over the course of allergy season.
- Invest in rewetting drops
If you're sticking with your contacts throughout allergy season, investing in rewetting drops or artificial tears is a must. Not only will this help your eyes feel better, but they can also wash out allergens that may be present on the surface of your lenses. Best of all, if you are enrolled in a flexible spending account (FSA), rewetting drops and other contact lens care products are FSA-eligible!
- Boost your cleaning regimen
Allergy season calls for a more rigorous cleaning routine, so make an effort to clean your lenses more often during the spring months to remove any lingering traces of allergens that may be present on the surface of the lenses. Consider full-scale disinfecting solutions for this time of year, and if you wear disposable lenses, replace them more often during the spring months to avoid irritation.
- Utilize cold compresses
One of the worst things you can do when experiencing eye irritation is to rub your eyes, as this will make the inflammation worse by spreading the allergens around your eyes. Instead, utilize cold compresses. A cool, damp towel or washcloth can work in a pinch, as well as FSA-eligible eye therapy masks that can be placed in the refrigerator and worn over the eyes when you're experiencing your worst symptoms.
This allergy season, make sure you're prepared 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!
For many FSA users, 2016 isn't over quite yet! The period between January 1 and March 15 is the FSA grace period (for FSA plans that ended on December 31, 2016), the last chance for millions of FSA holders to spend down the remainder of their 2016 funds before they are forfeited.
Companies have the option of choosing the 2.5 month grace period or the $500 rollover when setting up FSA plans for employees, so if your plan features the grace period, there is still time to spend down the remainder of your 2016 funds before the deadline! Whether you have $600 or $60 left in your account, FSAstore.com can help you spend down your remaining 2016 funds on the eligible products you and your family use the most. Here are a few ideas to keep in mind before March 15 arrives!
- Medical/Dental/Vision Care
First and foremost, your FSA is one of the easiest ways to save on medical spending, so whether you've been putting off a physical exam, a dental cleaning or even thinking about LASIK surgery, these are all qualifying medical expenses that can be covered with FSA funds. Before your 2016 plan year comes to a close, use your remaining funds to lay a healthy foundation for 2017!
- First Aid Kits
You may have a first aid kit at home, but what about your car, boat or workplace? Accidents happen when you least expect them, so be prepared for the worst wherever you're heading with FSA eligible first aid supplies.
- Mineral Sunscreen
The sun's rays are dangerous for your skin during any season, so if you'll be spending an extended amount of time outdoors in the coming months, make sure your skin is protected with mineral sunscreen! These products do not absorb into the skin, offer broad spectrum protection against UVA/UVB rays and are ready to protect from the sun as soon as they're applied.
- Sunscreen Lip Balm with SPF 15+
Don't let your lips suffer from a lack of sun protection year-round. Sun care lip balms that contain a sun protection factor of 15 or above are FSA eligible! Apply it before heading outdoors to safeguard your lips from the elements.
Check Out: Coppertone Sport Sunscreen Lip Balm SPF 50
Bandages are staples of the modern household that can handle cuts, scratches and bruises large and small. They can also run out fast over the course of the year, so this is the perfect opportunity to plan ahead.
- Neck Supports
Orthopedic neck supports are considered FSA eligible expenses, so if you're traveling in the future or simply need some pain relief when you're lounging around the house, these neck pillows can make a huge difference!
Check Out: IMAK HappiNeck Orthopedic Neck Support
- Contact Lens Accessories
In addition to contact lenses being FSA eligible, products like lens solution, carrying cases and other accessories are eligible for reimbursement as well.
- Eyeglass Accessories
On the opposite end of the spectrum, eyeglass wearers have plenty of care considerations of their own when maintaining their eyewear. Cleaning clothes, eyeglass repair kits and other accessories are FSA eligible, so use your benefit to ensure they're in great shape year-round.
Has your family's thermometer seen better days? These devices have evolved by leaps and bounds in recent years to make taking a temperature easier than ever. Oral, in-ear, forehead and other designs are all eligible with an FSA!
Check Out: Braun Forehead Thermometer
- Blood Pressure Monitor
If you or a loved one has a history of hypertension or a family history of heart disease, blood pressure monitoring is a smart choice for future health decisions. Smartphone-enabled blood pressure monitors make it easier than ever to track numbers and share them with healthcare professionals to better realize your long-term health goals.
Check Out: Qardio Arm Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor