After a long, sweltering summer, the gorgeous fall weather is the perfect season for hikers, campers and outdoorsy types to go on a fall hike soon.
Plan a fall hike with your FSA
However, before you hit the road to your next destination, make sure you use your flexible spending account (FSA). Your FSA can prepare you for the next fall hike. Your Flexible Spending Account covers lots of different, everyday products that you may not realize are eligible. For example, did you know that pain relief hot or cold therapy packs for achey muscles and other pains? Or how about prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses? Thousands of items are available with an FSA.
Use your FSA card to pick up the following helpful FSA eligible expenses:
First Aid Kits
It's vital that you pack an FSA eligible first aid kit before your hike. This kit contains bandages, antiseptics, first aid tools and more that can help you act quickly. Opt for an Adventure Medical First Aid Kit for a rugged first aid kit that can stand up to the rigors of the trail!
Check Out: Adventure Medical Kits Weekender, 1 Kit
Hiking in the fall presents its own challenges, as precipitation can make trails slippery and uneven. A great item to pack is an elastic bandage. It can stabilize an injured joint to prevent further injury, and can be made into a sling! Bandages are a perfect accompaniment to a first aid kit.
Check Out: KT Tape
It's advisable that you apply sun protection before spending time outdoors. Additionally, if you become lost, a lack of sun protection can quickly become a life-threatening matter.This is an essential you should have available when venturing on the trails.
Do you have fall allergies? Allergens will be present whether you're in an urban or wooded environment.Prepare with a dedicated antihistamine tosymptoms such as sneezing, stuffy nose, watery eyes and a sore throat.
Check Out: Zyrtec Allergy, 24 Hour 10 mg Tablets, 45 ea
Pick up everything you need for your family's well-being with money you've already set aside by shopping at FSAstore.com! We have the web's largest selection of FSA/HSA eligible items!
Are you planning a holiday trip? Don't forget to pack fsa eligible travel essentials for the road, a flight, and more for you and your family.
Planning a holiday trip? The holiday season is upon us. In all the excitement of seeing loved ones and enjoying your favorite traditions, it's important to remember that this is the busiest travel time of the year! Luckily, if you (or your spouse) are enrolled in a flexible spending account (FSA), there are a wealth of travel essentials covered by your benefit that can improve your comfort level and keep you healthy on the road.
5 Handy FSA eligible expenses for your holiday trip:
Hot/Cold Therapy Eye Mask
It can be difficult to sleep comfortably in a new place like a loved one's home or hotel room, and you don't want to wake up the next day with dark circles or bags under your eyes! A hot/cold therapy eye mask is a great option to fight inflammation and other signs of fatigue. Additionally, if you suffer from migraines, these masks can block out light and help you relax during the worst of your symptoms.
Check Out: TheraPearl Hot or Cold Therapy Eye Mask
Travel First Aid Kit
You never know when a small emergency may strike on the road or at your destination, so prepare for minor scrapes, cuts and kids' boo-boos with all the first aid essentials. This will give you confidence that you can quickly handle mishaps large and small, and enjoy the holidays.
Check Out: EASY CARE Sport/Travel First Aid Kit, 90 pc
Contact Lens Solution
If you wear contact lenses, packing for a trip can be a struggle. This can be even worse at the airport when bottle size restrictions could force you to ditch your contact solution before you even get on the plane! Plan ahead of time with a TSA-approved travel kit that will make taking care of your contact lenses a breeze!
Check Out: ReNu Multiplus Travel Kit, 2 fl oz
Orthopedic Neck Support
Let's face it. Trying to sleep in a car, plane or train can be a difficult ordeal for some. Even if you get some sleep, you could wake up with a stiff neck. Orthopedic neck supports, commonly known as neck pillows, can help, and they are FSA eligible! They are the perfect travel companion to help you reach your destination in comfort!
Check Out: IMAK HappiNeck Orthopedic Neck Support
Acupressure Wrist Bands
Do you or a loved one suffer from motion sickness? Make Psi Bands part of your holiday trip scheduling! Check out these media recommendations – and they're available for purchase at FSAstore.com using your FSA dollars! Travel this holiday season with Psi Bands, stylish, drug-free acupressure wrist bands for the relief of nausea due to motion/travel sickness (i.e. flying/air turbulence, windy roads, the back of cabs/Uber, cruising, amusement park rides), as well as morning sickness, anesthesia and chemotherapy.
Clinically proven, Psi Bands are an Oprah Magazine “O Pick" and Entrepreneur Magazine calls them a “strokes of genius." Psi Bands just received features in Travel Daily News and CheapFlights as fantastic travel gifts you'll actually use. Psi Bands are available in several fun colors, waterproof (no more soggy wrist bands), adjustable for a personalized fit, reusable, and affordable.
Before you hit the road for a holiday trip, check out FSAstore.com! We have the web's largest selection of FSA eligible items to help you maximize your FSA!
When you signed up for a Flexible Spending Account with your employer, you may have overallocated an FSA. Learn about ways to spend remaining FSA dollars.
Some FSA accounts have a carryover option which allows you to roll over up to $500 to the next year. Some FSA plans (check with your employer) also allow a grace period of 2.5 months, during which you can use your remaining FSA money or incur new expenses.But, if you've got more than $500 remaining in your FSA and your taxable year will soon end, here are some ways you can make good use of that money without letting it go to waste.
Planning ahead with your FSA
First, it's important to explain what an FSA is, and why you have to plan ahead – but also why plans don't always work out. For example, if you have a chronic health condition like eczema which hasn't required anticipated, occasional treatments (like corticosteroid creams), a pregnancy plan that began later than hoped, or an elder in your dependent care who no longer requires your assistance for 8 or more hours a day, then you might find extra FSA funds in your account which are no longer needed for the original plan. In these cases, especially if your account holds more than $500, read below for some ways to keep that money from going to waste.
The IRS created FSAs (Flexible Spending Accounts) so you can set aside a certain amount of income, before it's taxed for federal income or employment taxes, to spend on qualified medical expenses. Through an FSA you're able to buy everyday medical items and also get access to medical services. Some of these qualified medical expenses require a doctor's prescription (any over-the-counter item containing an active medical ingredient), or a Letter of Medical Necessity (LMN) from a medical professional. Once you pay these expenses, they can be reimbursed through the FSA.
Individual employers are governed by the IRS regulations on FSAs, but employers may add their own rules and benefits to your FSA. Some employers might even contribute additional funds into your FSA, to encourage employee participation.
Things to avoid if you think you've overallocated your FSA
When you've decided to enroll in an FSA with your employer, you have to determine how much money you'll allocate. For 2015, the IRS allowed up to $2550 per person (this is also called a salary reduction). Consider all of these factors (again, check with your employer's specific FSA rules first) and if you're worried about wasting additional FSA funds, consider these eligible items:
You can get a new pair of prescription eyeglasses, prescription sunglasses, contact lenses, and reading glasses. It's important to emphasize that these items must be prescribed by an eye doctor. Fortunately, eye exams are also qualified for FSA reimbursement. You can buy back-up pairs of glasses or contacts as well, and they also qualify.
Prescribed Exercise Equipment and Exercise DVDs
If you have a diagnosed medical condition that can be treated by exercise, as diagnosed by a medical professional, then that expense is qualified for FSA reimbursement. Common conditions that fit this include obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Check with your doctor and see if it's an option for you, and if so, you can get a Letter of Medical Necessity for FSA reimbursement.
Prescribed Common household OTC Drugs and Products
If you regularly use common household Over-the-Counter (OTC) drugs and products for your medical condition's treatment, prevention, mitigation, etc. then these purchases are eligible for FSA reimbursement. Ask your doctor for help with a prescription, because you'll need to document the purchase (with the prescription number and patient name on the receipt). If you regularly use a supply of NSAIDs, pain relievers, etc. you can replenish these with FSA funds. Generic brands and name brands are both acceptable for FSA reimbursement. “Stockpiling" isn't allowed, however; the items must be usable before the end of the taxable year.
If you're due for a dental cleaning, now's the time to schedule it. Teeth cleanings are eligible for FSA reimbursement. If you've got other dental work that you've been considering, you can also get FSA reimbursement for X-rays, fillings, braces and orthodontics, extractions, dentures, bonding and sealants, and crowns.
Chiropractic & Massage Therapy
Chiropractic appointments are reimbursable with FSA funds. If you've been postponing a treatment for sore muscles, back pain, etc. then consider using your FSA funds for a chiropractic session.
Mental health, therapy, and counseling appointments prescribed for a physical or mental illness
If a doctor has determined that you have a mental or physical illness that would be alleviated by, or prevented by mental health treatments (psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, sex therapy, bereavement and grief counseling) then you can schedule an appointment and have the costs reimbursed by your FSA.
To learn more about eligible expenses, visit the FSA Eligibility List
Due to new legislation, OTC drugs purchased after December 31st, 2015 may soon become eligible for reimbursement – without a doctor’s prescription.
How doesHR 1270 affect OTC drugs?
HR 1270 was passed on July 6th, 2016 by the U.S. House of Representatives in a 243 to 164 vote. The U.S. Senate will vote on the bill next. If the bill passes without the Senate modifying its language, then all OTC medications will be eligible for reimbursement with your consumer-directed healthcare accounts.(If the Senate modifies the bill's language, the House will have to vote again). But, if Congress passes the bill, then you won't need a prescription anymore – that change was introduced in 2011 in conjunction with the Affordable Care Act.
When will HR 1270 come into effect?
The Senate's 2016 summer recess starts on July 16th and ends on September 5th. If the Senate passes the bill, the President will either sign the bill into law, or veto it. If everything goes “without a hitch" then HR1270 could come into effect before the end of 2016, but it's equally possible that the bill won't come into effect until sometime in 2017.
What if HR 1270 doesn't come into effect?
It's extremely common for bills to change their wording, get caught up in revisions, and/or simply fail to pass after successive re-writes. In the meantime, hold your receipts! But, if HR 1270 doesn't come into effect, then the rules for reimbursing OTC drugs and medicines with a consumer-directed healthcare plan will remain the same as they have since 2011. All you need to do is speak with a doctor and obtain a prescription to treat, alleviate or prevent the medical condition or disease by using a given OTC drug. That expense will always be reimbursable!
What else should I know about HR 1270?
Without getting into politics, it's fair to expect changes in attitudes about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and its advantages and limitations as the makeup of our Senate, House, and Executive Branch with upcoming elections. You can learn more about the legislative steps of HR 1270 on the official website of Congress (https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/1270) or set a news alert through any major search engine to hear updates through the media.
Shop for thousands of FSA eligible productsat FSAstore.com!
Diaper rash is common among newborns, but it might seem an alarming development for new parents. Learn more about it in this post.
If you're a new parent, you know that every day is a learning experience with your bundle of joy. But, in the event that your little one is sick or is uncomfortable from an ailment, you'll do anything possible to fix the problem.
Diaper rash is common among newborns, but it might seem an alarming development for new parents who may begin to second guess their care regimens. This simple form of skin irritation (dermatitis) will happen at some point during infancy, but there are ways that you can provide relief and prevent diaper rash flare-ups in the future.
Let's explore how you can do just that:
Understanding diaper rash
Diaper rash appears on the skin in the diaper area, and while it can affect infants and children up to 2 years of age, it typically occurs between the periods of 9-12 months when babies are sitting often and just beginning to eat solid foods. The underlying skin irritation of diaper rash has numerous potential causes, such as friction between the skin and the diaper, as well as irritation caused by moisture and buildup of acid from urine and bowel movements.
In some cases, diaper rash can be a result of a fungal or yeast infection, which can be treated with over-the-counter (OTC) prescription medicines (in order to buy these with your FSA, you'll need to submit a prescription for reimbursement).
Last but not least, diaper rash can also be a result of an allergic reaction to cleaning agents, diaper wipes/materials, laundry detergents, soaps or lotion that are applied to the diaper areas.
How is diaper rash treated?
Ideally, the best way to reduce the chances of diaper rash is to keep your baby's diaper areas as dry as possible with frequent diaper changes and close monitoring of the products used to clean these areas to ensure they are not adversely affecting them. In most cases, diaper rash will clear up with the use of mild hydrocortisone cream and a more frequent diaper change regimen.
However, some diaper rashes are caused by outside sources, such as a bacterial or fungal infections, which typically last longer than 4-7 days and are not responsive to treatment. In these cases, it's best to consult with a pediatrician to diagnose the source of the issue, and if advanced treatment methods are needed, the physician will most likely prescribe an antifungal or antibiotic treatment to eliminate the underlying cause of the problem.
While diaper rash may re-emerge in the future, generally these conditions can be treated successfully at home and are simply another milestone of infancy for parents to overcome.
Shop for Baby Care at FSAstore.com
No matter what you need as new parents, you'll find it at FSAstore.com! We have the largest selection of FSA-eligible products on the web to support the health and wellness of you and your growing family!
When you shop with an FSA, you might be surprised to find hi-tech health items. Let's explore what those are at FSAstore.com.
When you shop at FSAstore.com, it quickly becomes clear that you can buy a lot of products with Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs). FSAs can offer everything from band-aids to contact lenses to breast pumps and blood pressure monitors. But, did you know that you can also shop for items that connect to your smartphone and can help you keep track of health?
That's exactly where the Hi-Tech category comes in at FSAstore.com! Let's explore some of the most popular products that you can get with your FSA from that category!
Blood Pressure Monitors
It may not be something we think about much, but it's suggested that people get blood pressure checkups every two years (or more often), depending on what your doctor recommends. That's at least what WebMD recommends in an article related to monitoring blood pressure.
"If your blood pressure is borderline high -- systolic blood pressure between 120 and 139 or diastolic blood pressure of 80 to 89 -- check it at least every year or more often as your doctor suggests. Depending on whether or not you have other medical issues, this number might be considered too high," WebMD said. Adding, "If your blood pressure is 140/90 or higher, talk with your doctor as this is high blood pressure and requires a doctor's attention."
The article also explains that you can easily measure blood pressure at home, as well. This is particularly important if you have high blood pressure. Though, WebMD cautions, "Before you take your blood pressure, it's recommended to avoid caffeine, cigarettes, and exercise for at least 30 minutes prior to the test.
You can use different types of blood pressure monitors, but since we're focusing on Hi-Tech Health today, let's discuss two popular ones that also connect to your smartphone. The next time you visit your doctor, you can easily share your readings!
1) The Withings Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor connects with a simple cuff, and can easily and automatically connect to the Health Mate app where you can store all readings. You'll be able to read your stats anytime whether it's on an iPhone, an Android or an iPod touch, and they are also stores on an online dashboard. Since the data is stored in the app, you can easily share it with your doctor at any time.
Shop for the Withings Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor with your FSA
2) The Qardio Arm Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor connects to iPhone and Android to provide accurate, clinically validated data that's also FDA approved for use by medical professionals. This monitor can detect irregular heart beat and seamlessly connects to your smartphone or tablet with a simple setup (all you do is turn on the device, launch the app on your smartphone or tablet and press Start). You can carry it with you no matter where you go, and it also comes with the free Qardio iOS app where you can share the data with your doctor or family members.
Shop for the Qardio Arm Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor at FSAstore.com
In addition to monitoring vitals such as blood pressure, thermometers ofcourse come in handy when you or a loved one are dealing with a fever. According to WebMD, "Body temperature is only one way of monitoring your health. Besides temperature, other basic measurements to monitor your health include your pulse, breathing rate (respiration), and blood pressure. These basic measurements are called your vital signs."
Here are a few popular thermometers that you can buy with your Flexible Spending, whether it's to monitor your own fever, that of a family or even of your baby.
1) The KINSASmartphone Thermometer gives you a 10-second and accurate reading of your temperature and even lets you track each member of your family. The thermometer connects to your smartphone (iOS and Android)through a free app that lets you share with family members and your doctor. It comes with a fun animated screen for kids, and a flexible design for comfort. You can also download the data to your mobile device and keep tracking fevers.
Shop for KINSA Smartphone Thermometer at FSAstore.com
2) The Vicks SmartTemp Wireless Smartphone Thermometer also makes it easy to monitor and get temperature readings per family member in 8 seconds (individual profiles will store each family member's temperatures), and you can set up reminders to check the last reading. You can connect the thermometer through the Vicks app to wirelessly keep track of the readings on your smartphone. A special Symptom Tracker monitors symptoms as they occur and the Fever InSight feature displays the temperature rreadout in green, yellow or red. The device is compatible with most iOS and Android devices.
Shop for the Vicks SmartTemp Wireless Smartphone Thermometer at FSAstore.com
The TempTraq Baby Bluetooth Thermometer offers a convenient, non-invasive way to monitor baby's body temperature through a soft, comfortable single-use, 24-hour patch. The patch is placed under your baby's arm and will transmit your baby's temperature using Bluetooth technology to compatible devices. As a parent, you'll be able to track your child's temperature from another room (up to 40 feet away) for 24 hours with alerts in case of a higher temperature. You'll be able to email the data to a doctor or family members, as well.
Shop for the TempTraq Baby Bluetooth Thermometer at FSAstore.com
Other Popular Products
As you're browsing the Hi-Tech Health category, you'll be sure to find other interesting products that are covered by an FSA.
1) One of these is the AccuRelief Ultimate Foot Circulator. This is an electrical stimulator that can provide relief to stiff muscles, reduces swollen feet and more. The technology works by placing electrode pads on your body or through the foot pads. You can easily use a remote control to control the electrical stimulation with 15 preset programs to alleviate different types of pain and increase circulation in your swollen feet or ankles.
Shop for the Ultimate Foot Circulator at FSAstore.com
2) The Quell Wearable Pain Relief Starter Kit provides 100%, drug-free relief from chronic pain through lightweight, doctor-recommended technology. This device is specifically designed for those who deal with sciatica, fibromyalgia, arthritis pain, and other types of pain. Just connect your Quell through Bluetooth and a smartphone app to easily monitor your pain therapy.
Shop for Quell Wearable Pain Relief with your FSA at FSAstore.com
3) The Eustachi Ear Unclogger works naturally to unclog your stuffy or congested ears, similar to how yawning and swallowing work. Eustachi is physician-recommended, and is also perfect for swimming, diving, flying and during cold and allergy season. It's great for kids and adults alike.
Shop for Eustachi Ear Unclogger at FSAstore.com
Looking for additional products? Browse the Hi-Tech category and learn about other products available with your FSA!
Were you aware that prenatal vitamins are covered by a Flexible Spending Account (FSA)? Do you know what to look for when shopping for prenatal vitamins?
Were you aware that prenatal vitamins are covered by a Flexible Spending Account (FSA)? This month marks two important health initiatives that have amajor impact for women who are planning to become mothers in the coming year. National Birth Defects Prevention Month and National Folic Acid Month shed light on one of the most important supplements a new mom can take for the health of her child: prenatal vitamins!
While expecting moms are encouraged to eat a healthy diet to support the health of their growing child, their diets may be missing key nutrients that can play a major role in preventing birth defects and supporting the optimal development of their children.
What are the most important ingredients to look for in prenatal vitamins? Let's find out!
Folic Acid: This nutrient has been proven to prevent neural tube defects, which are serious abnormalities in the brain and spinal cord. Folic acid is the natural form of the vitamin, while folic acid is the synthetic derivative that is added to foods as required by federal law. Folate is found naturally in many foods, including asparagus, okra, leafy vegetables, beans, yeast and mushrooms. It's recommended that any woman who could get pregnant should take 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid daily, starting before conception and continuing through the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
Iron: This mineral is pivotal in the baby's growth and development, as well as preventing the development of anemia, which results in a lack of healthy red blood cells in the body. Iron is a staple in many prenatal vitamin brands, and can be found in a number of natural sources including leafy green vegetables (spinach, kale, etc), dried fruit like raisins and apricots, seafood, beans and more. Aim for at least 27 mg of iron each day during pregnancy.
Iodine: This nutrient assists in the mother's thyroid function and metabolism during pregnancy, and can be found in cranberries and organic foods like yogurt, raw cheese and organic potatoes. Iodine also contributes to the baby's brain and nervous system development, and a lack of iodine during pregnancy has been linked to an increased risk of miscarriage, stillbirth and preterm delivery. Pregnant women should aim for 220 mcg of iodine per day, while breastfeeding woman should up that to 290 mcg.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: These acids have been known to support healthy brain and vision development in infants, and they are most often found in fatty fish, eggs and peanut butter. These substances have been found to prevent pre-term labor and delivery and may increase birth weights. The two most beneficial omega-3s are EHA and DHA, and DHA is especially important for the brain, eyes and central nervous system. As such, pregnant/lactating women are advised to take at least 300 mg of DHA each day.
Calcium: This nutrient plays a pivotal role in the development of healthy bones and teeth, the heart, nerves and muscles. It is recommended that women should receive 1,000 mg of calcium per day before, during and after pregnancy, and they should supplement their diet with calcium-rich foods like dairy products, sardines, soybeans and fortified juices/cereals/grains.
The preceding ingredients are a must for any prenatal vitamin regimen, but expecting mothers should also read labels and compare products to ensure they are receiving the proper levels of vital nutrients. Other important prenatal vitamins/minerals to look for are vitamin A/B12/C/DE, niacin, riboflavin, thiamine, zinc and copper.
If you have a bundle of joy on the way, make sure you give your child the best start possible with prenatal vitamins purchased at FSAstore.com! We have the web's largest selection of FSA eligible products to support the health and wellness of you and your loved ones.
Vitafusion PreNatal Gummy Vitamins
Easy on the stomach and provide expectant mothers a multi-vitamin formula.
Rainbow Light Prenatal One™ Multivitamin
A holistic, whole body formulation that provides potencies of essential nutrients.
As the end of year comes near, do you know how to use the rest of your FSA? learn from these five FSA product and tips roundups!
As the holidays approach, it's an important time to also consider our Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs). Yes, you read that correctly. The FSA deadline is coming soon for many account holders on December 31, and that means that any money left in the account will get lost, if it's not spent by that deadline!
Here are some of our favorite roundups of the year with tips on how to spend and manage your Flexible Spending Account before the December 31 deadline. If you don't have that specific deadline, there are still tips and products listed you might find helpful to consider with your FSA, overall.
Here are our top 5 FSA-related posts from FSAstore.com:
Are you ready for 2016? Do you know how you'll be using your FSA in the near year, and have you calculated what's left? What else do you need to do in regards to your Flexible Spending Account for 2015 and using your remaining dollars? Read all about it via this pre-2016 FSA checklist.
Dealing with a cold and want to get rid of the symptoms soon? Check out this post containing a list of our 6 favorite products to treat your cold symptoms: https://fsastore.com/blog/2015/12/09/6-favorites-for-treating-a-cold/
Anyone in your family or you dealing with a fever? Here are some of the best FSA-eligible thermometers and here's how they're different: https://fsastore.com/blog/2015/12/08/what-fsa-eligible-thermometer-is-best/
Is your Flexible Spending Account (FSA) balance almost depleted? Not sure what's remaining in your account? Need to spend down a few more dollars and trying to decipherwhat to buy in terms of products? Check out these tips for a low balance: https://fsastore.com/blog/2015/12/02/got-a-low-fsa-balance/
Still have a lot of leftover funds in your FSA? Trying to figure out what products are covered by your Flexible Spending Account and need to buy before December 31? Check out this comprehensive, end of year guide to products: https://fsastore.com/blog/2015/11/23/end-of-year-guide-to-fsa-eligible-products/
People often wonder whether to get a flu shot. Did you know you can get a flu shot with an FSA? Get more details in the post!
Should I geta flu shot, and is aflu shot covered byan FSA? People often wonder about that. And, even thoughNational Influenza Vaccination Weekwas last week, there's still time to get a flu shot. Each year,National Influenza Vaccination Weekhighlights how important it is to continue gettingfluvaccinations for every member of your family.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that anyone over the age of 6 months old receive a flu vaccination each year. This is really to build up an immunity to the virus before the onset of flu season. Because influenza strains evolve so quickly, last year's flu shots will not necessarily protect against this year's viruses, so it's vital to geta shot each year to avoid contracting the virus.
But, this brings us back to the original questions: how do flu shots really work, and can you get a flu shot with an FSA? Let's find out more details.
How do flu shots prevent influenza?
Flu shots are seasonal immunizations designed to prevent the contraction of the influenza virus, which hits its peak in the early winter and can linger as late as May. Influenza is classified as a respiratory illness, and unlike a cold, flu symptoms typically come on suddenly and linger for far longer. Some of the most common flu symptoms include severe muscle/joint aches, sore throat/runny nose, headaches, fever, extreme fatigue and weakness. Each year, about 36,000 Americans die from serious complications that arise from influenza contraction, including pneumonia, dehydration and infections. The flu can also act as a catalyst to exacerbate long-term medical conditions like asthma, congestive heart failure and diabetes.
Each year, flu vaccine manufacturers determine which strains of the influenza virus will be most common during the upcoming season and the seasonal flu shot will protect against these variants. Traditionally, these take the form of "trivalent" vaccines that safeguard the recipient against the most common two influenza A strains and one influenza B virus. Additionally, quadrivalent flu shots are also available that protect against two influenza A and two influenza B strains, and are available in standard injections, intradermal shots into the skin and nasal spray vaccines. About two weeks after receiving the vaccination, patients will have developed the antibodies necessary to repel the viruses.
So, what are you waiting for in terms of the flu shot?
If you have a flexible spending account (FSA), health savings account (HSA) or health reimbursement arrangement (HRA), your healthcare benefits will cover flu shot expenses for you and your dependents. It's the easiest step you can take to safeguard your family's health this winter - and you can do even more for their well-being year-round by shopping at FSAstore.com! We have the web's largest selection of FSA/HSA/HRA eligible products to support your loved ones' continued good health and wellness.
Did you know it's Home Eye Safety Month? Protect your eye sight with your FSA and learn about this important in our latest blog post.
Protect eye sight with an FSA during Home Eye Safety Month
Did you know that each year in the United States, nearly 2.5 million people will suffer major eye injuries, and a further 50,000 of those will partially or completely lose their vision? To further compound the problem, advocacy group Prevent Blindness America reports that these injuries cost our healthcare system an astonishing $1.3 billion each year.
Prevent Blindness America has declared October as Home Eye Safety Month to educate individuals and families about the dangers of life-altering eye injuries where we least expect them: in the comfort of our own homes. Luckily, if you are enrolled in a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), you can cover a wide range of eye care products to safeguard your family and respond quickly in an emergency.
Here are a few FSA eligible items no home should be without:
Multi-Purpose Eye Solution
Chemical burns and other caustic substances that come into contact with eyes can potentially do permanent damage and may even lead to blindness. Typically, flushing eyes out with water and seeking medical attention is the best course of action, but it's also wise to keep multi-purpose, disinfecting eye solution around the house to effectively flush out eyes and ward off infection.
Eye cups are extremely effective in washing out dirt, debris, loose eyelashes and other irritants from your eyes. Aside from day-to-day use, eye cups can be pivotal in the event of caustic substances coming into contact with the eyes. Eye cups can provide even distribution throughout the eyes for water or cleaning solutions to be most effective.
Check Out: Flents Plastic Eye Cup
Whether you're working around the house or outdoors, it's always best to err on the side of caution to protect your eyes with safety glasses. Something as simple as an swaying tree branch coming into contact with your eyes or a splash from a household cleaner could lead to significant vision complications, which is why it's always wise to cover up when tackling your list of chores.
Check Out: Adlens Emergensee Variable Focus Eyewear
Got puffy, dry eyes?
If you're looking for pain relief from dry, puffy or sore eyes, why not treat yourself to a TheraPearl Hot or Cold Therapy Eye Mask?
This October, make sure that you have everything you need to support the health and wellness of you and your loved ones 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!
Pain in your muscles and joints can be treated using hot and cold therapies. It’s a popular treatment option because it’s simple. Learn about it in the post
A lot of pain in your muscles and joints can be treated using hot and cold therapies. It’s a popular treatment option because it’s relatively simple, non-invasive, and non-addictive.
It’s important to know the difference between the two so you know which is more appropriate to use for each situation. Luckily many products nowadays have a dual purpose and can be used for both heat and cold therapy.
In general, cold therapy is used first, for the first 24 to 48 hours after an injury. Cold therapy is particularly good for treating sprains, strains, bumps, and bruises that may occur in sports or lifting. This is because of its role in slowing blood circulation to an area, reducing both pain, muscle spasm, and inflammation.
Cold is applied by an ice or gel pack to injured areas for no more than 20 minutes at a time. Every 10 minutes, the ice pack should be removed for 10 minutes before reapplying again.
Heat therapy, on the other hand, increases blood flow to the injured area. It should be applied if you have stiff joints or chronic muscle and joint pain. Increased blood flow supplies crucial oxygen and nutrients to reduce pain in joints and relax sore muscles, ligaments and tendons. Warmth also decreases muscle spasms and can increase range of motion.
Heat can be applied through both dry or moist methods, although the latter may penetrate better. Options include heating pad, hot water bottle, gel packs, or hot water baths all at a warm (not hot) and consistent temperature.Don’t apply heat for longer than 20 minutes or use it on open wounds and stitches.Think about incorporating warming elements into your daily routine, such as warming your clothes in the dryer before dressing, or using an electric blanket and turning it up for a few minutes before getting out of bed.
Luckily, your healthcare FSA could help you de-stress, so you can go on with your day without worrying. Learn more in the blog post about being stress free.
It can be hard to get through the weekday when various events are causing stress in your life. Whether you’re having difficulties with projects at work or worried about your child’s performance at school, stress has become commonplace. While some stress is healthy or at least harmless, major traumatic changes or continuous stress over the same matter can cause long term health problems.
Luckily, your Healthcare FSA could help you de-stress, so you can go on with your day.
Warning signs or symptoms that signal you might be close to a stress overload are placed into 4 different categories:
- Cognitive Symptoms: inability to concentrate, memory problems, constant worrying, anxiety, persistent negativity, poor judgment
- Emotional Symptoms: Irritability, inability to relax, feeling overwhelmed or isolated, depression
- Physical Symptoms: aches and pains, nausea, diarrhea constipation, chest pain, loss of sex drive, frequent colds
- Behavioral Symptoms: change in appetite and sleep, procrastinating or neglecting responsibilities, nervous habits, isolating yourself from others
In addition to these undesirable symptoms, some long-term health effects of chronic stress include:
- Pain of any kind
- Heart disease
- Autoimmune diseases
- Digestive, sleep, and weight problems
- Skin conditions like eczema
How Can You De-stresswithyour Healthcare FSAhelp?
- Give back: Volunteer your time or expertise to feel good about helping someone else. Help out at a bake sale or spend the weekend working at a community garden.Don’t forget to put on sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun if you’ll be outside for an extended period of time.
- Relieve tension: Do some yoga, meditation, or stretching and breathing exercises to loosen up your body.Additionally use one of our hot and cold packs to relieve soreness in your back, shoulders, and neck area.
- Sleep: Getting even 30 minutes of shut eye can help you relax and put your troubles in perspective.Having trouble falling asleep? Perhaps one of these sleep aids will help you get the rest you need.
- Go on a hike or to the park: Seeing nature has psychological benefits - it can calm the brain and better your mood and concentration.
- Be prepared for your adventures. Depending on what outdoor activity you choose, you’ll want to have an Adventure Medical first aid kit ready just in case.
- Get your blood pumping: Slip on your sneakers and hit the gym or take a spin class.Make sure you’re fully equipped with back supports, sunscreen, and anything else you need to exercise properly! Track your blood pressure through QardioArm.
- Organize your living space: If your house is a mess, you might feel like a mess too. Take an afternoon to tidy things up.
Snag one of our comfort bundles with your Flexible Spending Account for extra relaxation during a stressful week!
Here at the FSAstore.com, learn about the products you can purchase with a Flexible Spending Account to get treatment for different types of physical pain.
Here at FSAstore.com, we provide quality products you can purchase with a Flexible Spending Account to ensure treatment for both your physical and psychological health.
What pain relieving FSA products can I buy with a Flexible Spending Account?
- Omron ElectroTHERAPY Pain Relief Device PRO Electrotherapy is a proven method for relieving pain in many areas - lower back, joints, arm, leg, etc. It comes with 8 preset modes, 10 levels of intensity, and also a choice for a relaxing massage.
- Dr. Scholl's P.R.O. Pain Relief Orthotics Dr. Scholl's P.R.O. Pain Relief Orthotics for Heel provides a combination of cushioning and arch support to diminish the jarring shock generated from each step taken. Dr. Scholl's has gender specific products to protect against heel spurs, back pain, arch pain, and arthritis.
- ThermaCare Air Activated Heatwraps ThermaCare is a disposable wrap that warms up on its own when exposed to air. It delivers low level, consistent heat for 8 hours to provide therapeutic relief for minor muscular and joint aches and pain associated with overexertion. They come in varying sizes for the neck and shoulder area, menstrual cramps, knee and elbow joints, and the lower back and hip area.
Your doctor may also prescribe you one of these*:
- Pain Relievers - These help to reduce or relieve your pain and includes acetaminophen, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and analgesics. When prescribed, pain relievers are FSA-eligible as well.
- Antidepressants - The pain-relieving effect of tricyclics appears to be distinct from the mood-boosting effect, so these drugs can be helpful even in chronic pain patients who are not depressed. Other antidepressants used to treat pain include venlafaxine ( Effexor) and duloxetine (Cymbalta).
- Anticonvulsants - Several drugs originally developed to treat epilepsy are also prescribed for chronic pain.
- Opioids - Can be very effective against chronic pain, and they can be administered in many different ways, including pills, skin patches, injections, and via implantable pumps. Many pain patients and some doctors are wary of opioids (also known as narcotics) because they have the potential to be addictive.
*In order to get reimbursed with your Flexible Spending Account, you'll need to provide a prescription for these particular products.
Get our Pain Relief Bundle to save yourself the hassle of finding pain relieving FSA products to make your pain go away. With this set, you'll be prepared for headaches, migraines, sinus pain, neck and shoulder aches and more.
For some with Flexible Spending Accounts, June 30th is another big spending deadline. If you have that deadline, be sure to maximize your remaining dollars.
For some with Flexible Spending Accounts, June 30th is another big spending deadline. If you have that deadline, check out our Eligibility List for services and products, or shop at FSA Store for items with your Flexible Spending Account.
Can you believe it's already June? This year is flying by! We're celebrating our five-year anniversary at FSAstore.com. Five years ago, our founder launched the site to help millions of Americans with a Flexible Spending Account. Our site aims to make it easy for anyone with an FSA to use the account, and to learn more to better understand the accounts and maximize the tax-free benefits.
5 steps to take to check in about your Flex Spending Account:
1. Ask about the specifics. If you're not sure what option (if any) applies to your plan, be sure to contact your FSA administrator or your HR department. The FSA administrator will be able to tell you everything you want to know about your plan: how to submit claims, what products or medical services are covered, when your deadline is, and more.
If you have an FSA, you know that your plan has a yearly deadline. This deadline exists by which you must use the money you contribute to your plan, or you risk losing it. Of course, when that deadline is, however, depends on when your plan year officially started. Some FSA plans also have extensions by which you can use your money. Some have a Grace Period (two and a half months to use your money and incur new expenses), and others have a Carryover (the option to carry over up to $500 to the next plan year).
2. Use your Flex Spending Account throughout the year. When you signed up, you calculated how much money you wanted to contribute to your plan. At the time, you may have accounted for expenses related to eye care, dental checkups, and products. Whatever the medical expenses may be, make sure to use your FSA to save on out-of-pocket costs!
3. Submit claims. During the FSA year, it's a good idea to submit your claims on a timely basis. Onceyou do that, you'll be able to track what's left over in your account, and be able to know what the remaining balance is to use it for products and services.
4. Ask about life events. Sometimes we experience life-changing qualifying events, such as having a baby, getting married or starting a new job. If you're anticipating one of these, or recently experienced one, ask your FSA administrator about these events. Some plans allow you to change your contribution at the mid-year mark, if you had a life-changing event.
5. Follow up with the FSA administrator. The FSA administrator or third-party administrator (TPA) is your guide to your FSA plan. This person will know details about your plan including remaining balances, claims processes, and what's covered by your account. If you're ever in doubt or have a question, it's best to ask the FSA administrator.
Have other questions about your Flexible Spending Account? Browse our Learning Center for answers!