As you probably know from looking around our site, the 12/31 deadline is just about here. It's an exciting time for us, of course. But it's also an exciting time for FSA owners who have the chance to make the most of their tax-free funds, rather than forfeiting them due to the "use it or lose it" rule.
Whether we're reminding FSA holders of upcoming deadlines, or just sharing some information about these tax-free accounts, "use it or lose it" has become a tagline for our entire team. And, because we offer a growing selection of 4,000+ FSA-eligible products, people usually don't have any trouble using their FSA funds.
Still, with the deadline here, we thought it would be a good idea to revisit the most common questions about FSA funds -- what happens to the money that does get lost? No one likes losing money, no matter the amount. So we thought it was a good idea to remind people of what happens if they end up on the wrong side of the "use it or lose it" rule.
Let's cut to the chase…
You may not like this answer, but your unused FSA money returns to your employer. These funds can be used in a variety of ways, which we'll get to in a bit. Now, before you and your coworkers march down the hall with flaming torches, realize they're not the "bad guys" in this scenario. In fact, they're on your side, and are even taking some risks to make FSAs available to employees.
See it from your company's perspective
It's true -- your employer assumes a good amount of financial risk when you sign up for an FSA. That's because even though you get to contribute to your account little by little, through regular paycheck deductions, you actually have access to the entire year's allocation, right from the beginning of the plan year.
Who's fronting that money? You guessed it, the employers. And they're on the hook for any losses if you leave the company before making a full year's contribution.
In other words, if your plan year begins on January 1, and you opt for an expensive FSA-eligible procedure that week, you can use the entire year's allocation to pay for it tax-free. But if you quit a month later, your company is forced to eat that balance.
So, lost FSA funds from other employees can be used to offset these losses. It's not what your employers want to do. But it's certainly better for them than having to absorb the entire loss.
So where does it go from there?
While we certainly can't fault companies for wanting to protect themselves from potential financial losses, some choose to reinvest this "found" money into its people. No, they can't just refund you the exact amount you lost. But there are several ways they can share the wealth and ease the sting of lost funds.
Though it's rare, companies could choose to give the money back to its employees directly. It's not as simple as refunding the exact amount lost to each person with an FSA, but employers might opt to pool the collective losses and distribute back to plan participants in a fair, uniform way.
(To be clear, any money returned to participants must be distributed to ALL participants -- not just those who lost funds that year.)
2. Administrative fees
Companies may choose to save these excess funds and use them as a way to offset the costs and fees involved in providing FSAs. By doing so, they can make it easier to offer these accounts to employees.
In this "worst case" scenario, your money ends up used in a way we outlined above. There is good news though -- your employer may offer a few options to help extend your funds and avoid losing them altogether.
1. Grace period
Many employers offer an FSA grace period -- something we've discussed quite a bit in our Learning Centers -- which gives you an extra 2.5 months to use their funds from the previous plan year. For example, if your plan year ends on December 31, you have until March 15 of the following year to use those funds before risking a loss.
Another common FSA feature is the rollover option, which allows you to carry up to $500 of your FSA dollars to the following year, eliminating any last-minute rushes or lost funds.
Like we said at the beginning of the article, no one likes losing money, which is why we encourage users to create a budget and spend accordingly to meet your family's health care needs. But on the off chance you miss your FSA deadline, know that the money is safe, and might even find its way back to you before long.
Adventure Medical Mountain Weekender First Aid Kit
NeilMed Naspira Filter Replacements - 30ct
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.
Flexible spending accounts (FSAs) can be one of the mostly useful tools an employee can have. But historically, people have mistakenly viewed them as difficult to manage. Now, with connected technology around us at all times, FSAs are simple to manage and use, changing the way people view these accounts.
With open enrollment coming up, if you're on the fence about enrolling in an FSA because you think they're difficult to handle, check out all the ways tech has made it a breeze to stay on top of your funds.
FSA debit card
By far one of the biggest developments in the FSA world is the arrival of the FSA debit card. Traditionally, FSA expenses were paid for with the account holder's cash, check or credit card, and then these expenses were submitted for reimbursement to the FSA plan sponsor with the required documentation (receipts, invoices, etc.).
Most providers now issue FSA cards for account holders, which dramatically simplifies the claims process and makes it easier for you to pay for out-of-pocket health care costs. Just be sure to hold onto your receipts in case your administrator requires you to submit documentation.
Most FSA administrators offer 24/7 access to your FSA details through a dedicated FSA portal. Your FSA portal will typically allow you access to your account balance, the ability to submit and manage claims online, contact information, FAQs and much more. Before you start dialing your administrator, visit your portal (which are usually accompanied by a mobile app) to see if the answers you need are there. It's faster, easier and more efficient!
FSA educational tools
The crisis surrounding FSAs for decades was always a question of education - whether information was made available to workers and whether HR managers could answer in-depth questions related to FSA rules and regulations set forth by the IRS. That's why we launched this Learning Center -- because we know consumer education is one of the biggest stumbling blocks to FSA enrollment.
In addition to the articles on this page, we also have an entire suite of FSA tools to help you cover every angle of your account, including:
- FSA Eligibility List: The web's most comprehensive eligibility list detailing medical products/services and their eligibility with FSAs, HSAs and other consumer-directed health care accounts.
- FSA Calculator: We've created a way to calculate exactly how much FSA money you should set aside based on your income, marital status and state.
- FSA Tracker: Not all FSA plan years are the same, so make sure you stay on top of your deadline. Submit your FSA deadline in our tracker for email reminders sent to you when your deadline is around the corner.
Guaranteed FSA-eligible products!
Nothing is easier for FSA users than visiting a website and knowing each and every item is guaranteed-eligible. No confusion, no comparing sites, no guesswork. Just a growing collection of 4,000+ eligible health and wellness products, able to be purchased with an FSA card or regular credit card.
Kanjō Travel Acupressure Set
A simple yet effective at-home and on-the-go solution for neck, back and foot pain.
Battle Creek Migraine & Headache Deluxe Kit
Finally, a drug-free approach to headaches that can be personalized for the user.
New to FSAs? Need a refresher course in all things flex spending? Our Flex-Ed column gives you a weekly dose of FSA Living 101, offering tips for making the most of your tax-free funds. Look for it every Thursday, exclusively on the FSAstore.com Learning Center.
Happy Friday, everyone! This week, I'm stepping in for Sean while he enjoys some warm weather fun a few months ahead of spring. And, while the warmer temps of mid-April seem like they're light years away, tax season is already here. This means the media discussion of personal finance and healthcare savings is in full swing.
This week, let's take a look at a few of the many headlines populating our news feeds, and see what's trending in the ongoing personal healthcare and tax discussion.
Analysis: The tax benefits of a health savings account - Thomas Heath, The Washington Post
This time of year, mainstream media outlets offer up a lot of "overview" discussion on flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and health savings accounts (HSAs). But few of them open as directly as Thomas Heath, who says, "Any time you can protect your money from the tax man, I want in."
Using real-life examples of conversations Heath had with his wife and his employer's human resources department, Heath offers a quick, succinct breakdown of each type of account, what the common misunderstandings are, and what the tax ramifications might be.
Though there are much more thorough resources to be had about your flexible spending tax options (starting right here and here), this piece does a good job whetting your appetite for deeper discussion.
Do workers saving in both 401(k)s and HSAs end up cannibalizing one account for another? - Marlene Y. Satter, BenefitsPro
With so much of today's personal finance discussion focused on putting aside retirement money, while also paying down current medical bills, this BenefitsPro article is perfectly timed. According to the author, a recent study shows that workers who put funds into both a 401(k) and a health savings account are saving more overall than those who just put money into a single account.
She goes on to dispel some common myths about whether saving to one type of account could cannibalize potential savings to the other.
Note: Viewing the entire article requires you to set up a free BenefitsPro account, but we recommend doing so, since the author does a good job breaking down trends and figures about these accounts, contribution analyses and more.
Fewer than half of parents take advantage of this money-saving tax break - Leslie Albrecht, MarketWatch
Here's a sobering thought from this MarketWatch article: Parents could save more than $2,000 a year on child care costs, but more than half leave the money on the table, according to a survey of 1,100 parents by Care.com.
Here's another one: While most parents (67%) know they could save on child-care costs with a tax break called the dependent care flexible spending account, only 44% actually use one.
In this piece, author Leslie Albrecht points out potential sources of child-care tax savings that you can get, even if you don't have a dependent care FSA. And if you do, she also explains how these account holders can still take advantage of the federal child-care tax credit. It's a worthy read for any parents seeking a break from rising daycare costs, and seemingly unforgiving tax scenarios.
Tax season can be a complicated time, but we're here to help. For the latest about your health and financial wellness, you can turn to our Learning Center, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages for the info you need to #GetFlexSmart.
Groundhog Day is a yearly event where Americans turn to a giant rodent to predict the end of winter. It's also a popular movie starring Bill Murray in which his character re-lived the same day over and over, until he got the details right. Let's focus on the latter.
Because FSAs are a great way to save on medical costs by using tax-free money, the last thing you want to do is relive the same mixups you made with your spending in previous years. Maybe you spent your money too quickly. Maybe you left funds in your account and lost them. No matter the issue, balanced yearly spending comes down to having a plan.
Take a look back
A great method to plan for this year is to look back at your expenses from 2017:
- What product(s) contributed most to your FSA spending?
- Did you find yourself short of an FSA-eligible product when you most needed it?
- What product(s) did you run out of because it wasn't in the usual FSA purchase list?
- Did you have a surprise expense, such as a medical emergency or a newly diagnosed condition?
- Did you end up buying FSA-eligible products or services with post-tax dollars?
Answering these questions will provide a head start to where you want to spend your FSA contributions, as well as when you want to spend those dollars.
Take a look around
When putting together your budget, be sure to leave about 10-20% of your funds aside to cover unexpected medical expenditures. Whether this is the cost of medication, an emergency room visit, or a trip to a specialist, you'll have additional breathing room by using tax-free funds.
After all, the 2018 flu season has been one of the worst in decades, so it's good to get ahead of the bug by putting a little money aside.
On that note, if there's one expense you should factor into your budget for 2018, it's an appointment with your primary care doctor to get a full assessment of your well-being. With a better understanding of your health, you'll have a much better idea of what your medical spending will be over the course of the year.
Take a look ahead
The best way to avoid losing your FSA dollars at the end of the year is to create a budget that outlines how much you have in the account to spend, as well as the expenses you know will be needed over the course of the year.
When planning your FSA spending, you might have the option to roll over up to $500 into the next program period, as well as a 2 ½ month grace period to move into next year's plan from this year's contributions.
On the other side of the coin, even with this flexibility, you might want to leave wiggle room in the account for unexpected mishaps that might be eligible for FSA spending. This includes any FSA-eligible services you might need, and keeping your medicine cabinet supplied with essentials, such as first-aid products.
The key takeaway is to not be like Bill Murray in "Groundhog Day." Though no one can predict the future, planning your FSA spending can help you avoid reliving the same situations again.
In the past, one of the biggest drawbacks surrounding Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) was the "Use it or Lose it" rule. This rule stipulates that FSA account holders must use the entirety of their tax-free funds before the end of each plan year, or risk losing that money.
However, recent changes by the U.S. Treasury Department can make forfeiting FSA money easily avoidable if healthcare spending is carefully planned over the course of a year. Let's explore these new user-friendly rules that can save you money.
The FSA Carryover Rule
Thanks to a rule implemented by the U.S. Treasury Department in October 2013, FSA account holders may now carryover up to $500 of their tax-free funds at the end of their plan year into the following year's allocation – that is, if their FSA allows for this option. This is a huge boost for account holders, many of whom were initially turned off by the idea of FSAs due to the "Use it or Lose it" rule, who will now have far more freedom to set aside pre-tax money for healthcare expenditures throughout the year without worrying that a huge chunk of their hard-earned salary will be forfeited.
The FSA grace period
Another option that employers may choose for their FSA is offering the grace period. In 2007, the U.S. Department of the Treasury ruled that employers who offer FSAs under a cafeteria plan can extend their employees' FSA benefit period for up to 2 and a half months after the end of plan year. The intent of this ruling was meant to give employees additional time to spend their FSA funds, and incur new expenses.
However, employers can only offer either a carryover or a grace period for their FSA, so employees need to inquire with their benefits administrators and HR departments to learn the ins and outs of their flexible spending accounts.
Should I be concerned about the "Use it or Lose it" rule?
As a matter of course, employees should still be mindful of the "Use it or Lose it" provision, but in light of these recent IRS rule changes, it's less of a concern for FSA account holders and shouldn't scare away new enrollees. As long as FSA users are mindful of their payroll allocations throughout the year, spend their funds wisely, and check in with their benefits administrators, FSAs are easier than ever to help cover a huge range of qualifying medical products and services.
If you'd like to learn more about your FSA or purchase qualifying products, be sure to check out FSAstore.com! Visit the comprehensive FSA Eligibility List to explore what your account covers and browse through our huge selection of FSA-eligible products!
When it's an especially beautiful day, it can feel like a crime to stay indoors. So it's no coincidence that many of us will use the warmer weather to jump start a fitness plan. To help you gear upfor summer, FSAstore.com/HSAstore.com has your back with our Shape Up for Summer Sweepstakes!
To enter, visit our contest page and fill out the entry form for a chance to win this epic health & fitness prize package:
- 2 pairs of Physiclo Pro Resistance Workout Shorts, Capris or Leggings ($250 value)
- Summer Sunscreen Bundle from FSAstore.com ($150 value)
- Water Fall Home Filtration System + 2 Water Bottles from KOR Water ($125 value)
- 3 Month Supply of Premium Omega 3 Plus and Vitality Force Supplement from Athlete's Best ($200 value)
- 40-day Organic Superfood Smoothie Box from Raw Green Organics ($160 value).
Our contest runs until May 12, 2017, so submit your entry now and let your friends and family members know about our sweepstakes too! Good luck and be sure to check our blog on Mother’s Day weekend when we’ll announce the lucky winner.
Now, what are you waiting for? Use your FSA funds to stay safe and healthy all year long!
As you might know, the end-of-year FSA deadline is fast approaching! While your plan may offer a 2.5 month grace period or a $500 rollover into next year's plan, many account holders will have to spend down their FSA dollars before December 31.
If you have FSA dollars remaining and want to use them before the deadline, our exciting bundles can help you get a broad range of products you need, conveniently packaged and priced.
Here are our customers' favorite bundles:
Not sure what you'll need in terms of FSA eligible products for the coming months? Want a variety of items for the whole family? The Family Essentials Bundle covers everyone in the family. This bundle has first aid kits, various hot and cold pain relief packs, thermometers and more.
Tackle cold and flu symptoms
Cold and flu season is here. Chances are you or a loved one may come down with a cold this winter. The Winter Relief Bundle has everything you need to clear nasal congestion, which includes a Neti pot, saline spray, nasal gel and a steam inhaler. This is also a great bundle for allergy sufferers.
Winter sun care and year-round sun care
Are you planning a getaway to a tropical location in the winter or spring? Your FSA covers a huge range of qualifying sunscreens and sun protection products, so use this opportunity to update your sun care regimen.
If you prefer a mineral sunscreen option instead of regular sunscreen, the MDSolarSciences Bundle is a great option. These sunscreens are great for everyday wear, and keep you protected from harmful UVA/UVB rays.
Likewise, the Neutrogena Sunscreen Bundle includes sunscreens varying from SPF 30-75, sprays, dry touch/wet skin application options, and more.
If you're traveling this winter or gearing up for warmer weather travel soon, the compact travel sunscreen bundle is great for the road. The bundle has a variety of sunscreens in convenient travel sizes.
Keep your eyes healthy
If you wear contact lenses or glasses, there is a steady stream of accessories and products needed to maintain your vision correction methods, so why not prepare for the year ahead all at once?
The Eye Care Bundle contains everything you need to support you and your family's eye health, including eyeglass wipes/cleaning cloths, contact lens solution, re-wetting drops, lens cases, and even a hot/cold eye therapy mask!
Take care of baby
Got a little one on the way? There are plenty of preparations to make before you become new parents, but safeguarding your baby's health should be your top priority. Our Baby Care Bundle can help new moms and dads tackle the most common health issues of newborns and toddlers, which includes a nasal aspirator/filters, digital pacifier thermometer, baby sunblock and other essentials.
For those looking for something more advanced, The Hi-Tech Baby Bundle comes with a CliniCloud Connected Medical Kit (thermometer and stethoscope in one), a baby movement monitor, and all the items you need to stay on top of your baby's well-being.
Get pain relief for your entire body
The Pain Relief Bundle alleviates aches and pains, whether it's headaches, migraines, neck pain or more. This bundle contains a variety of heat wraps/cold packs, a hot/cold therapy eye mask, kinesiology tape, and cooling soft gel sheets.
And of course, you can track your ongoing health needs using our Hi-Tech Health Bundle syncs up to your smartphone with a smartphone-compatible thermometer, blood pressure monitor and TENS unit.
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
FSAstore.com reminds consumers to spend down flexible spending account (FSA) balance as Dec. 31 deadline to use 2013 FSA funds approaches
FSA holders can shop for a wide range of products using pre-tax dollars available in FSAs including baby care, first aid, pain relief, and diagnostic equipment at FSAstore.com. However, each year FSA account holders risk forfeiting FSA dollars when they don't use these funds by a specific plan year deadline.
Tips for end-of-year FSA spending:
- Consider over-the-counter products you could use throughout the year that are FSA-eligible ranging from contact lens care to baby care items to shoe inserts.
- Schedule a dental checkup or an annual eye exam through our FSA Eligible Services.
- Be heart healthy and purchase a blood pressure monitor.
- Prepare an emergency first aid kit containing bandages, band-aids, gauze and more.
- Gear up for warmer weather with FSA-eligible sunscreen.
- Planning for or expecting a baby? You can find everything from breast pumps to prenatal vitamins at FSAStore.com.
"FSAstore.com is a convenient source that exclusively sells thousands of everyday health care products to serve FSA participants year-round," said Jeremy Miller, president and founder of FSAstore.com. "Our site also offers tools such as an FSA eligibility list, FSA Learning Center and an FSA deadline reminder to help consumers better understand and manage their account."
RecentU.S. Treasury Departmentregulatory changesto the expiration and forfeiture of dollars, called the "Use it or Lose it" rule,could increase overall FSA adoption by easing forfeiture concerns and making FSAs more attractive to consumers who realize the savingspotential for future health care needs. Because of this change, employers are nowallowedto offer account holders a carryoverof up to $500 inFSA funds to the next plan year, or a two-and-a-half month grace period to use unspent funds. However, FSA plans cannot have both options. FSAstore.com urges consumers to check with their FSA administrator to see if one of these options applies to their account.
FSAstore.com is the only one-stop-shop exclusively stocked with FSA eligible products - eliminating the guesswork behind what is reimbursable by an FSA. Consumers with flexible spending accounts can access thousands of high quality FSA eligible products, in addition to FSA eligible services, and much-needed information through the FSA Learning Center. FSAstore.com accepts all FSA and major credit cards, offers 24/7 customer service, one-to-two-day turnaround for all orders, and free shipping on orders $50+. There is no need to submit receipts for products purchased with an FSA or HSA card.
FSAstore.com Commends FSA "Use it or Lose it" Rule Change, Reminds About FSAs During Open Enrollment
FSAstore.com Commends New Flexible Spending Account Rule Allowing Employers to Offer $500 “Carryover” to Help Participants Avoid Complete Forfeiture
“Carryover” Could Increase FSA Adoption Overall by Easing Forfeiture Concern
NEW YORK, (November 6, 2013) – FSAstore.com, the only e-commerce site stocked exclusively with Flexible Spending Account (FSA) eligible products and services, remindsconsumers to take advantage of an FSA during open enrollment season. FSAs let employees set aside pre-tax income for out-of-pocket healthcare expenses including over-the-counter products, dental and eye care, and costs not covered by insurance plans for medical services.
FSA enrollment increased in the last five years to 23% in 2013 for those with private health insurance coverage, the CDC found. Given the recent changes announced by the U.S. Treasury Department to the “Use it or Lose it” provision, FSA enrollment is expected to be higher than ever this season. Changes to the “Use it or Lose it” ruleallow employers to offer a carryover of up to $500 in funds or allow a 2 1/2 month grace period at the end of year. FSA plans cannot have both options.
"Changes to the 'Use it or Lose It' rule present a significant growth opportunity for Flexible Spending Accounts,” said Jeremy Miller, president and founder of FSAstore.com. “Open enrollment season, which allows employees to opt into an FSA, is underway. The 'Use it or Lose it' provision was one reason why people shied away from FSAs. This change, coupled with the major pre-tax savings on out-of-pocket expenses, should encourage many new participants to take advantage of FSAs.”
Added Miller, "We sell FSA eligible products that people need and use every day such as first aid supplies, blood pressure monitors, contact lens solution, and breast pumps. These are just a few items our customers purchase year-round. Any adjustments made to FSA rules that empower more families to take advantage of FSA accounts, and achieve sizable tax-free savings, are a win.”
FSAstore.com is the only one-stop-shop exclusively stocked with FSA eligible products - eliminating the guesswork behind what is reimbursable by an FSA. Consumers with flexible spending accounts can access thousands of FSA eligible products, FSA eligible services, and much-needed information through the FSA Learning Center. FSAstore.com accepts all FSA and major credit cards, offers 24/7 customer service, one-to-two-day turnaround for all orders, and free shipping on orders $50+.
The end of the year is fast approaching and you're trying to spend down your remaining Flexible Spending Account funds. Depending on your annual contribution limit, you may still have FSA funds in the current plan year, or maybe you already spent all of the available FSA funds.
If you're not sure what your current FSA balance is or how to access that information, it's a good idea to contact your FSA Administrator soon. Most of the time your FSA Debit Card will work fine, but there are several reasons why your card may get rejected.
Common reasons might include:
- Your FSA plan deadline may have passed
- You may not have enough FSA funds remaining in your account
- The total amount exceeds your available FSA balance
- Your FSA card could be inactive
- Your FSA doesnot allow for certain items
Since FSAstore.com does not have access to your FSA plan details, it is best to follow up with your FSA administrator to find out why your card was declined.
FSAstore.com accepts different payment methods for your FSA plan – we accept FSA debit cards and all major credit cards. As you're shopping on the site and go to checkout to pay for your FSA eligible product, you have the option to either pay with your FSA Debit Card or with a major credit card. Depending on your FSA administrator, you might be provided with an FSA Debit Card or need to submit itemized receipts for FSA reimbursement. Learn more via our blog post on FSA reimbursement.
That’s the average yearly contribution Americans made to a Flexible Spending Account, as found by a 2012 Mercer National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans. The $1,427 amount accounts for survey results from large employers offering a Flexible Spending Account (FSA).
Out of the 2,809 employers who participated in the annual Mercer survey, 86% of large employers offer a health care FSA. These large employers reported a 20% average FSA employee participation rate. Another important statistic shows that on average only 3% of contribution dollars were forfeited.
Calculating your Contribution
While the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) limits FSA contributions to $2,500 a year, you can rest easy. Most Americans don’t seem to get anywhere near that limit (as that Mercer survey revealed). And, the good news is that if your spouse has an FSA, you could both contribute to FSAs for up to $5,000 in your household. Check in with your employer to see how much you can put into your FSA. Contribution limits vary per employer.
Tip: If open enrollment is happening soon for you, just use our FSA Calculator to estimate your expenses!
If you want to maximize your FSA, be sure to regularly check your FSA account balance and use it for expenses throughout the year. Think of your FSA when you visit a health care provider and cover a co-pay, or when you need to update your medicine cabinet, or even when you’re having a baby and looking for a breast pump!
FSA funds expire at end of plan year, so use your funds to avoid losing them! Some employers provide an additional 2 ½ month grace period to use your funds, but it’s best to check in about your plan. Don’t know if you have an upcoming deadline? Contact your FSA Administrator or HR department to find out!
FSAstore.com carries a wide selection of FSA eligible products. Browse Goodies for surprising items you may not know are eligible. We’ll keep you posted with FSA and health reform developments right here on the blog!
If you have a Flexible Spending Account, your plan has a yearly deadline by which you must use your FSA funds. Flexible Spending Account funds expire at the end of your plan year – unless the FSA has a 2 ½ month extension known as a grace period.Plan deadlines vary per employer and depend on when the FSA plan year started. For many Flexible Spending Account participants, their FSA ends on December 31.
You will need to contact your HR department to find out when the deadline is for your plan, especially if you aren’t sure. Your HR department will also know who your FSA plan administrator is. The FSA plan administrator handles your FSA. Many FSA plan administrators have websites through which you access your account information. You’ll be able to see your account balance, find claims details, and more. FSAstore.com does not know what the remaining balance in your account is, or have more information about your individual plan.
FSA tip: Check on your FSA frequently to keep track of remaining funds. Don't let your FSA funds expire at the end of plan year!We’ve partnered with more than 100 FSA Administrators and have an Administrator contact list with their customer service numbers. Check our FSA Administrator list.
Your Flexible Spending Account (FSA) funds are available to you on the first day of your plan year. Funds are available regardless of how much you’ve contributed due to the “uniform coverage rule.” Your FSA provides coverage for a full year. Before you sign up for an FSA, you should estimate anticipated health care expenses for the upcoming year. Once you enroll in the FSA, you’ll have to select an amount (also known as an election) that you will contribute for the FSA plan year.
You will not [likely] be able to change your contribution unless you experience a qualifying event. Qualifying events are those that alter coverage (such as marriage or divorce, or even a change in employment). However, not every FSA plan or employer acknowledges qualifying events - so you may not be able to change your FSA contribution after all. If you're not sure about your plan's guidelines on qualifying events, check the Summary Plan Description, reach out to your FSA Administrator, or contact your HR department for guidance.
Easy steps for FSA open enrollment:
- Plan ahead by determining medical expenses for the year.
- Calculate your FSA contribution. Just use our FSA Calculator!
- Research what your FSA plan covers. Here’s our handy FSA Eligibility List for products, or you can discover FSA Eligible Services.
- Apply your FSA to eligible medical expenses including medical products and supplies, prescriptions, and for co-pays, coinsurance and deductibles towards eligible services.
- Get reimbursed!
- Save up to 30% on out-of-pocket expenses.
For more answers about open enrollment or your FSA, check out our FSA Learning Center