Living Well

Warm deadline greetings from the FSAstore.com carolers!

Things are getting festive here at FSAstore.com! Not only are the holidays in full swing, but for everyone who has a 12/31 deadline, there's just a few weeks left to save big on 100% guaranteed-eligible products.

Because this is the most wonderful time of the year, we thought we'd give everyone a friendly reminder ... in the most jolly way possible. Introducing the FSAstore.com Carolers...

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Remember, if you have a 12/31 FSA deadline, shop FSAstore.com for thousands of guaranteed FSA-eligible health products!

Basics

Real Money: Just how strict is the 12/31 FSA deadline?

Just take a look around FSAstore.com and you'll notice that we're racing toward the year-end FSA deadline. And there's a good reason -- a LOT of people have their deadlines fall on the end of the calendar year. It's an exciting time around here (and for anyone getting great deals on FSA-eligible products) but it doesn't apply to all FSA holders.

So, the first thing you need to do is contact your FSA administrator, to be 100% sure of your deadline, and your options. If you do have the 12/31 deadline, it's technically pretty strict, but that doesn't mean you have to submit all your claims by the end of the year.

If you have a 12/31 deadline, there are two other dates in 2020 you need to be aware of — March 15 and March 31. These are both deadlines that may apply to you to but they're drastically different in terms of the last date you can spend your FSA funds.

Confused? Not to worry, we've got you covered.

Which deadline do you have?

As I mentioned before, there are two separate deadlines. The grace period for December 31 plans ends on March 15, while the run out period typically ends on March 31

The runout period is the time you can submit to get your FSA funds reimbursed for the previous plan year. For example, you have $300 left in your FSA in 2019 and are waiting on invoices. If your plan offers the runout period, then you likely have until March 31, 2020 to submit the receipts for the $300 or else you risk losing the money.

On the other hand, the grace period typically ends on March 15 on the following year. This is where your FSA provider gives you time to purchase new products or services before you need to forfeit your money. That $300 in your FSA funds for this year can be used up until March 15, 2020. It can include money you spend on qualified expenses anywhere between January 1 and March 15, 2019.

Your FSA provider may also give you a rollover option — and it means just that -- you can roll over up to $500 into your 2020 FSA budget. Keep in mind that your plan will only offer either the grace period or rollover options (you can't have both), they can be combined with the runout, and they may offer none of them. Your employer's plan is not obligated to offer any additional extensions for people with a year-end deadline, so again -- check with your administrator before assuming anything.

(If you still have questions, we have a fantastic guide that decodes these terms so you know exactly where you stand.)

Now I know… so what now?

No matter what your plan's rules are, it's still a good idea to comb through your 2019 expenses to see if you've already made claims on them. Hopefully, you've been keeping track of receipts and invoices for this very reason.

If you have the runout period, now's the time to make sure you spend the rest of the FSA funds before December 31. You still have time to submit receipts until the cut off date.

If you have the runout, make sure you budget accordingly so that you can use up the funds. Let's say you still have $200 left to spend and your FSA providers allows you to spend those funds until March 15, 2020. Make a budget now to see what qualified medical expenses you can make so that you're prepared.

With the rollover option, think about your expenses for the year and if you will have more than $500 remaining at plan year-end, make sure you spend it down.. Does this mean you'll need to change your contribution amount for 2020? Or are there upcoming expenses you have you didn't before?

Planning ahead will help you with budgeting and making sure you use your FSA funds the right way. It's worth taking the time to do it, because the savings are usually pretty significant.

Use it... don't lose it!

Plantar Fasciitis Bundle

$109.99

Caring Mill™ Bundle

$185.99


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Whether you budget week-to-week, or plan to use your FSA for bigger things, our weekly Real Money column will help you maximize your flex spending dollars. Look for it every Tuesday, 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.

Eligibility

That's Eligible?! It's time to start thinking about those remaining FSA funds!

While most of the country is still wading through piles of Halloween candy, before you know it, we'll be carving turkeys and preparing for countless year-end celebrations. Yes, this time of year moves at a rapid pace, and if your FSA funds expire when the ball drops, it's best to start planning now.

But you still have plenty of time, so don't panic. We're here to help you navigate this turbulent time of year so you can spend more time being merry, and less time worrying about losing your hard-earned money.

Step 1. Check your deadlines

While MOST of the country uses the calendar year to determine FSA cutoffs, this is not mandatory! Your company might have a different deadline, giving you even more time to use your funds. It's not common, but this is entirely up to your benefits administrator (that's the number usually found on the back of your FSA card) so before you spend hastily, speak with them first.

Secondly, the IRS offers a grace period to employers that allows account holders the chance to make FSA-eligible medical costs up until March 15, as well as the option for a $500 rollover of your remaining funds into 2018. Both options are left up to your employer to choose one - or neither - so speak with your benefits administrator to confirm concrete deadlines, and specifics that determine how to best use your money.

Step 2. Assess your needs

Let's assume your FSA spending deadline coincides with Ryan Seacrest's annual visit to Times Square. As you might expect, account owners often opt to use FSA money to pay for medical needs not covered by insurance plans.

For example, vision coverage isn't always provided under certain plans, so customers can choose to get a new pair of glasses, or some extra contacts. Likewise, sources of alternative medical treatments, like chiropractic or acupuncture, aren't commonly covered on health plans, but are perfectly eligible for FSA spending.

(And, of course, general wellness visits and preventive care is always a good use of funds, as well. Start the new year the right way – get a flu shot and rest easier this coming winter.)

Step 3. Fill those medicine cabinet gaps

Now, this is where people might get a little hasty, so read on before grabbing a leaf bag and wiping out your shelves to get new replacements for older medications. There are a few things to remember when it comes to prescription and OTC medications.

This is an ideal time to replace expired products, prescription or otherwise. If you have some "take as needed" medications with questionable expiration dates, first call your medical professional to determine if you can obtain refills. Once confirmed, go ahead and shop with those FSA funds (and rest easier knowing your shelves are as current and well-planned as your healthcare spending).

FSAs can cover the cost of both prescription and OTC medication, so open up that medicine cabinet and take an inventory. If you have flex dollars to burn, this is a great way to plan ahead for injuries, illnesses and anything else that may come up.

Step 4. Get health care items you've always wanted (and needed)

So much of the FSA deadline is focused on filling needs, that we often forget how these funds can also be viewed as an opportunity to try new products. Perhaps that expensive sunscreen you wouldn't ordinarily purchase with your after-tax dollars? The choice is yours.

In other words, if there are healthcare items you've long desired, but never purchased because they weren't "necessary," consider your FSA funds the encouragement you need to treat yourself, and your health.

Some examples of FSA-eligible items you could use to improve your well-being include comforting shoe insoles, smartphone-compatible blood-pressure monitors, soothing steam vaporizers and more! Sure, you could continue to live without these products, but thanks to your FSA dollars, you can make them a part of a healthier, happier lifestyle for you and your family.

Please note: The above suggestions are just that; there are myriad ways to use those remaining flex spending funds for products, services and even transportation!

The word "deadline" has a negative connotation, but for those who know, the FSA spending cutoff is an exciting reminder for customers to use their funds for better health, all year long.

Strong spending ideas

Dr. Scholl's Custom Fit Orthotic Inserts

Customized layers of cushion and arch support will keep you feeling good.

$51.99

reVive Light Therapy® Spot Portable Acne Treatment

A gentle, noninvasive way to treat existing acne flare-ups and preventing future breakouts.

$29.00

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Don't waste time hunting for ways to spend your tax-free funds. In That's Eligible?!, we'll bring you these updates every Monday, so you don't have to. And for all things flex spending, be sure to check out the rest of our Learning Center, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Eligibility

That's Eligible?! Are Fitbit and Apple Watch FSA-eligible?

Admit it, you've looked at wearable devices and thought, "THIS is just what I need to get healthy and stay on track this coming year!" No judgment - we're guilty of the same thing. And we're just as guilty of wondering if we could find one of these fun toys in our stockings tax-free.

Wearable devices are getting more popular by the day - not only for those looking to get healthy, but also for employers looking to motivate workers into staying that way. (Because healthy employees mean fewer sick days and lower costs.)

Well, even though there have been some rumblings about changes, wearable fitness devices are still not considered FSA-eligible. If devices like the Apple Watch and Fitbit were specifically designed for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of a disease, this might be a different response. But general health and overall well-being aren't quite enough to make them qualify.

So, are there any alternatives?

The good news is that there are plenty of other hi-tech, FSA-eligible products that can help you stay on top of your health, using the latest technologies, including smartphone compatibility.

For example, the Qardio Arm Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor makes keeping track of your vitals easy. Qardio measures systolic and diastolic blood pressure and heart rate. The Qardio is compatible with iPhone and Android, and it's light and compact, so you can easily carry it with you!

If tech-focused pain relief is your goal, then the Omron ElectroTherapy Pain Relief TENS Unit provides relief for multiple types of pain, whether you're at home, in the office or traveling. The unit relies on electrical nerve stimulation to offer relief and the small size of the unit makes it extremely portable.

And for deeper pains, maybe deep tissue light treatment is the answer. The Nuve N72 goes beyond the surface to improve blood circulation, alleviate swelling, and relax muscles. Users will enjoy near-immediate relief from pain, right at the source, within seconds of using the device.

But this is no portable heating lamp. Deep penetrating light (DPL) treatment uses an advanced form of energy to reach deep into your body, helping to heal while helping you eliminate nagging pains. The Nuve N72 has a wide range of uses, for most external parts of the body.

Of course, there are a lot of connected health products that are fully FSA-eligible. We've compiled our best, most-popular selections right here, in our Top 10 FSA-eligible products for the hi-tech health fan. And if you're looking for inspiration across the entire FSA-eligible spectrum, we encourage you to check out our comprehensive FSA Buying Guide.

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Don't waste time hunting for ways to spend your tax-free funds. In That's Eligible?!, we'll bring you these updates every Monday, so you don't have to. And for all things flex spending, be sure to check out the rest of our Learning Center, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Sun Care Center

Top 10 FSA-eligible products for year-round sun and skin care

As you probably know by now, sun and skin care is a year-round concern. But you can keep these problems away if you use a few precautions. And sun or snow, you're always at risk of getting rays directly from the sun, and UV hitting you from all directions. Science!


Supergoop! Day To Day Value Set


Let's get right to it -- if you're looking for complete, year-round sun and skin care this Supergoop! kit is a great place to start. Inside, you'll find everything you need to easily incorporate sun protection into your day-to-day routine, for complete sun protection throughout your day.

And we mean "complete" -- the set includes: City Sunscreen Serum, Advanced Anti-Aging Eye Cream, Forever Young Hand Cream, AcaiFusion Lip Balm, Everyday Sunscreen and even a zippered "Hello, Sunshine" pouch.

Australian Gold Lip Balm

You might have noticed lip balm in the previous entry - that's because your lips are as prone to sun damage as any other part of your skin. Not only do FSA-eligible lip balms keep them hydrated, but they also offer high SPF protection for the coverage you need year-round.

Australian Gold SPF 30 Lip Balm is comprised of regional fruits, coconut oil, natural moisturizers and more, without using parabens, PABA or even gluten, making it safer for a wider range of users.

Sun Bum Mineral Sunscreen Spray

If you're looking for complete sun protection without resorting to chemicals and unnecessary additives, mineral sunscreens are a very popular choice. Not just because they're skin- and earth-friendly, but also because they work really well without all the excess you don't need.

Sun Bum's Mineral Sunscreen Spray is an easy to apply, water-resistant, zinc-based spray that provides broad spectrum SPF30 protection, proven to fight off UVA/UVB rays. Environmentally conscious and chemical-free without sacrificing protection? Sign us up.

Derma E Natural Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 Stick

If you want a little more control over where your sunscreen is applied, take a closer look at the Derma E Natural Mineral Sunscreen Stick. This lightweight, antioxidant-enriched formula glides on evenly and absorbs quickly to provide broad spectrum UVA/UVB sun protection while being hypoallergenic, and fragrance-free.

Plus, this light, water-resistant (for up to 80 minutes!), non-greasy formula contains antioxidants and vitamins to soothe and help skin recover after sun exposure.

Babo Botanicals Sheer Zinc Sun Continuous Spray

When it comes to sunscreens, the word "lightweight" is used a lot. And with good reason -- who wants to feel sticky and weighed down, just to ensure sun protection? Most of our available sunscreens are suitably lightweight for almost any user. But then there's the Babo Botanicals Sheer Zinc spray, which takes things even further.


This spray blocks UVA and UVB rays while providing 80 minutes of water and sweat resistance. It's also hypoallergenic, suitable for sensitive skin, is kid-safe, free of dairy, soy and gluten, and 100% fragrance-free. In short - if you're worried about a specific irritant in your sunscreen, there's a good chance it's not in Babo Botanicals products.

Gold Bond Ultimate Healing Skin Therapy Lotion

After getting some sun, it's always good to get ahead of potential skin damage. And if there's any brand synonymous with skin relief, it's Gold Bond. Their Ultimate Healing lotion is specially formulated to help heal extremely dry, rough and problem skin, through seven intensive moisturizers tested to provide 24-hour moisturization.

Plus, it contains vitamins A, C and E to reinforce the healing and repair, but manages to pull it off without feeling greasy or sticky.

Hibiclens Antiseptic Skin Cleanser

If you do end up getting a little more sun than expected, or just have a few winter scrapes, you'll need a quality skin cleanser and antiseptic. Hibiclens is both!. With 24-hour protection (even after drying) Hibiclens kills germs while remaining gentle enough to use everyday, even on sensitive skin.

Whether you have a rough-looking wound or just want some reassurance that a little sunburn doesn't get any worse, this is a great product to have on hand.

Supergoop! Forever Young Hand Cream with Sea Buckthorn

Forever Young Hand Cream SPF 40 defends against the signs of UV-induced aging with an innovative blend of antioxidants and super broad spectrum protection. Formulated with omega-7 fatty acids to help lighten dark spots, and skin-nourishing oils, this moisturizer improves skin's elasticity and texture while safeguarding skin from future sun damage.

New-Skin First Aid Antiseptic Liquid Bandage

Speaking of unexpected falls, some can be worse than others. Thankfully, when certain scrapes need more than a standard bandage, there's New-Skin. This liquid bandage goes on smoothly, and dries rapidly to form a tough protective layer that's antiseptic, flexible, waterproof, and allows your skin to breathe.

Just brush on with the included applicator and protect wounds by keeping out dirt and germs that cause infections.

Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Treatment Mask with Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Mask Activator

We couldn't resist throwing in one of our hi-tech health products. And we think you'll agree with the choice. Featuring the same technology as dermatologists use in their acne treatments, the Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Mask uses concentrated light therapy to clear acne and allow skin to heal itself.

This one-step acne treatment covers your face and is easy to use. Just sit back and relax for a quick 10 minute treatment, after which the unity will shut itself off. With regular use, you'll see clearer, healthier skin without chemicals or damaging UV rays.

Eligibility

The FSAstore.com Carolers present "We Wish You A Merry Flexmas"

It may be Christmas Eve, but we can't forget about the other big holiday for FSA holders -- Flexmas! If you have a 12/31 FSA deadline, there's just one week left to use those flex spending dollars before they're gone faster than Santa's sleigh!

Need a little inspiration to start spending those tax-free funds? Let's see the latest from the FSAstore.com Carolers!

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To make this even easier, stop by FSAstore.com for thousands of guaranteed FSA-eligible health products. If you need some ideas for spending down your tax-free funds, start here!

And from all of at FSAstore,com and HSAstore.com, best wishes for a happy, HEALTHY holiday!

Living Well

More deadline greetings from the FSAstore.com Carolers!

The countdown is on at FSAstore.com! With the holidays in full swing, and the 12/31 deadline approaching, there's isn't much time left to save big on 100% guaranteed-eligible products.

If you have a 12/31 FSA deadline, and haven't spent down your funds yet, let the FSAstore.com Carolers give you a gentle reminder to use that money before it's gone!

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To make this easy for you, stop by FSAstore.com for thousands of guaranteed FSA-eligible health products. And if you need a little inspiration for spending down your tax-free funds, check out our handy FSA Deadline Buying Guide!

Basics

Asked and Answered: Why can't I gift my FSA funds if I'm not using them?

If you have an FSA and a spending deadline that expires on 12/31, you know that the clock is ticking on those funds. For some, there's a rollover option where you can apply up to $500 of your unused funds for 2019. Or you might have the option of a grace period, which gives you a few extra months to use your 2018 FSA money, rather than trying to do all your spending now.

Personally, with so many exciting and unexpected ways to spend your FSA, we're not sure why you'd wait. But it's not our money, and you might not have any rollover or grace period options in your plan.

What if you still end up having too much FSA funds? As in, you overestimated how much you were going to need and now you're left with a stash of unused money? What can you do about it?

Isn't it the "season of giving?"

Don't make us feel guilty - the rules are strict, and they're there for a reason. As you probably realized by the headline, the quick answer is "no, you can't gift your FSA funds." While there are plenty of cool things you might want to share with someone else, buying gifts with pre-tax funds allocated for you and your dependents is a big no-no in the eyes of the IRS.

In other words, even though "'tis the season," if you've been eyeballing those acupressure mats and thinking it'll be a great gift for your great aunt, you're outta luck.

And even though we love your thinking, if you're considering donating the funds, you can't do that either. You may have the items earmarked for a worthy cause, but FSA rules frown upon that activity too. So those boxes of Pull-Ups you wanted to donate to the local shelter will have to come out of another account, not your FSA.

But, I have a lot of FSA money left over. What can I do?

Before we go any further, it's important to know that it's up to you to find out what constitutes as eligible and what your FSA plan will allow. Always speak with your FSA administrator if you have any questions or concerns.

To make things easier for you and your needs, we developed a 2018 FSA Deadline Buying Guide designed for a wide range of scenarios, that can help you narrow down your decision making. You'd be surprised at just how many everyday health items are eligible and our buying guide gives plenty of ideas for those with lots of leftover FSA funds. .

In the end, take having all these extra FSA funds as a sign that you may need to reassess your budget for the upcoming year. It would be a shame to set aside all that money and find out that you can't use it up, ultimately wasting it because of a year-end rush to the finish line.

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.

Eligibility

Podcast-Eligible: Deadline Bling

The 12/31 deadline is approaching, and if you have an FSA through your employer (and don't have the 2.5 month grace period or $500 rollover), there's a good chance your FSA deadline is coming in the next few weeks! As always, please check with your HR department for the specific end date of your plan year!

In this episode, we recap some of our favorite FSA-eligible products of the year, and help you shop based on how much you have left in your account. (Don't worry about taking notes - we'll provide links to all of our favorite products below the podcast link.)

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On average, about $30 is forfeited each year by individual FSAs. This might not seem like a lot, but it adds up to millions of unspent dollars annually across the country. Since it's your money, check out the show to see how Kevin and Sean can help you avoid deadline oversights.

$50 and below

$50-$200

$200 and above

If you have FSA money to spend before 12/31, come visit us! We'll accept orders with your FSA card until midnight PST - no other retailer can say that. Happy deadline season and we'll see you in the new year!