While FSA plan years can vary, the vast majority of plans will end on 12/31 and the remainder of the funds will be forfeited to the FSA plan sponsor if they are not spent. However, employers can choose one (or neither) of two regulations: the $500 rollover or the 2.5 month grace period. The $500 rollover allows FSA users to roll over up to $500 into next year's account, while the 2.5 month grace period gives FSA users 2.5 months after the end of their plan year to make purchases and submit claims for reimbursement. So if your plan ends on 12/31, the only way you can still spend 2016 funds is if you have the 2.5 month grace period extension that ends on 3/15. Double check with your benefits administrator to find out when your 2016 funds expire and how long you have to spend or file claims.
As an FSA user, you know just how important end of year spending is to maximizing the potential of your account. However, while the "use-it-or-lose-it" rule is still in effect and many account holders must spend their funds by the end of each plan year, there are 2 vital deadline extensions that all FSA users should be mindful of: the $500 rollover and the 2.5 month grace period.
What are the $500 rollover and 2.5 month grace period?
Historically, FSA users would forfeit any unused FSA funds at the end of each plan year thanks to the "use-it-or-lose-it" rule. While this rule is still in place, two important changes have emerged over the past decade to provide a measure of relief to FSA users: the $500 rollover and 2.5 month grace period. FSA plan sponsors can choose to offer ONE of the two rules when administering FSAs, but not both.
This FSA regulation gives account holders the ability to "roll over" up to $500 in to the next plan year's account to prevent a large portion of funds from being forfeited. The FSA plan sponsor can elect to allow less than $500 to be rolled over, but the same rollover limit must apply to all participants under the current FSA plan rules. The $500 rollover does not count toward the following year's maximum election amount ($2,750 for 2020), so account holders could feasibly roll over $500 of last year's funds on top of the full election amount of $2,750 for 2020, which would give them $3,250 available for reimbursement for healthcare expenses that year.
2.5 Month Grace Period
The other option is the 2.5 month grace period. This gives account holders the ability to spend down the remainder of the previous year's FSA funds before March 15 (for FSA plans ending December 31), after which any unspent funds would be forfeited back to one's employer. Unlike the FSA run-out, which can be offered in conjunction with a rollover or grace period and provides up to 3 months after plan year end to spend down remaining funds for expenses incurred during the prior plan year only, the grace period allows users to spend down remaining FSA dollars on new expenses incurred within the new plan year as well.
How do I know if I have the rollover or grace period?
Your end of year options can determine how you will spend your allocation over the course of the year, so it's vital that you know your FSA plan details before setting an election amount for the coming year. Aspiring FSA users should inquire about these regulations during their health benefits Open Enrollment to plan out the optimal healthcare spending for the coming year.
Last but not least, if you're an FSA user and you've never heard of the $500 rollover or grace period, speak with your benefits administrator immediately! FSA plan administrators, whose information can typically be found on the back of an FSA benefits card or by contacting your HR department, can let you know the exact details of your FSA. With March 15 just around the corner, FSA users all over the country could still have money left to spend, so don't let a cent of your money go to waste!
For everything else regarding your FSA, you can rely on FSAstore.com! Shop the web's largest selection of FSA eligible products, browse product/service regulations in our Eligibility List and plan your yearly spending with our handy FSA Calculator!
I got a notification about an upcoming March 15 Grace Period deadline. How do I know if I have that deadline for my FSA? Read tips about the deadline!
It's possible that your Flexible Spending Account has one of two deadline extensions: an FSA Grace Period or an FSA Carryover. If your FSA plan year ended on December 31, and you have a Grace Period, then you have until March 15 to spend remaining FSA money. If your plan instead offered an FSA Carryover, you could have been allowed to carry over up to $500 from the previous year.If you're not sure about your available FSA account balance, your FSA administrator will be able to provide it for you. Some administrators haveonline access to your FSA, where you can check balance and claims information.
Can I have a March 15 Grace Period and a $500 Carryover?
Your FSA plan could have one of these two deadline extensions, but cannot have both a Carryover and a Grace Period. If you don't know which extension applies (though some plans have neither), it's best to ask your FSA administrator or HR department about the details and structure of your plain. If you don't use the remainingFSA money or if your FSA has a carryover and more than $500 getsunspent, themoney is forfeited back to the employer.
I have a few remaining claims to file.Do I still have time to do that, or can still I file them later?
If your FSA has aRun-Out period, you'll have typically around 90 daysafter the end of your plan to get reimbursed for expenses incurred during the prior plan year. This means you can get reimbursed for new expenses, too. However, you can't file claims for services you may have received before the FSA plan year.
Need some additional answers about coverage and claims filing? Ask your FSA administrator, check in with your HR department, or you can always visitour Learning Centerfor more information.
Need ideas about how to use remainingFSAdollars? Check out our Grace Period Product guide:
Did you know the FSA grace period deadline is approaching on March 15? Check in to see if you have that deadline and spend down remaining FSA dollars.
The New York Times published an article today, A Flexible Spending Account Deadline May be Near, reminding those who have a Flexible Spending Account Grace Period Deadline that the deadline may be approaching for them.In fact, for anyone with an FSA plan year ending on December 31, that FSA grace period deadline would be on March 15.Those who have the March 15 Grace Perioddeadline would need touse leftover FSA dollars, before it's too late.
FSA plan year deadlines and applicable extensions, including a Grace Period or $500 Carryover, depend on the employer and how the company's plan is structured. FSA plans can have a Grace Period or a Carryover, but not both at the same time. If you're confused or aren't sure which deadline your plan has - or if you have a deadline extension - it's best to reach out to your FSA administrator or ask your HR department at work for more details. There are still a few days left until March 15, but it's best to check in soon about remaining balances, and filing for reimbursement, before it's too late.
According to Carrns when discussing FSA eligibility with FSAstore.com founder and president, Jeremy Miller, she writes, "If you do have a balance to spend, a range of items qualify for purchase. In addition to staples like contact lenses and solution, breast pumps and knee braces, high-tech items are popular purchases, Mr. Miller said. These include smartphone-enabled blood pressure monitors, as well as electrotherapy devices, which are used to ease pain through electrical impulses."
You can read the full New York Times article about the upcoming FSA deadline here.
Have an FSAGrace Period deadline on March? Contact your FSA benefits administrator to find out your remaining balance (sometimes that information is also accessible online), shop for everyday FSA-eligible products at FSAstore.com including our updates Bundles and more!
Got a March 15 grace period deadline? Read our checklist for details and tips on help to spend down your FSA dollars.
March 15 holds a special place in the minds of some Flexible Spending Account (FSA) holders - it's the most popular FSA grace period deadline! Companies have the option of giving their employees the ability to roll over $500 of their FSA funds into next year or spend their remaining funds over a 2.5 month "grace period." FSAs cannot have both a carryover and a grace period.
If your 2015 plan year ended December 31 and you have a grace period, don't forget to use your remaining FSA dollars by March 15! If you don't your deadlines options, this is the perfect time of year to speak with your benefits administrator to maximize your account's potential before March 15.
Here are some key tips to keep in mind from FSAstore.com!
Check your balance
The FSA grace period is the ideal time to embrace new habits to better manage your account over the course of the year. This is the perfect time to begin checking your balance regularly, as well as touching base with your benefits administrator to examine your current FSA contributions to fully maximize your plan's offerings.
Plan future expenditures
Do you have a major medical procedure on the horizon? Looking to stay healthy on an upcoming vacation? Calculating your future spending (while giving yourself leeway for unexpected emergencies) can give you the breathing room necessary to cover medical expenses confidently. Our handy FSA Calculator can get you started!
Submit your 2015 claims
Depending on how your benefits administrator processes claims (typically online or through submitted paperwork), this is a pivotal step to take before your March 15 deadline to make sure your claims are processed ahead of the deadline.
Spend your FSA funds before March 15!
If you don't want to forfeit your remaining 2015 FSA balance you still have time to spend it down on eligible products. In addition to covering doctor's visits, co-payments and procedures, your FSA covers a huge range of everyday products, including SPF sunscreen, over-the-counter pain relievers (with a prescription from a doctor), breast pumps, cushioned insoles, bandages, first aid kits and so much more. Our Eligibility List is the perfect place to start maximizing your account's potential!
Remember that FSAs are funded with your own pre-tax money and don't lose your hard earned dollars!
Shop for the FSA eligible products that you'll need at FSAstore.com!
Is your FSA grace period approaching on March 15? If you have this deadline, check out our blog post about it with tips on how to spend down FSA money.
At FSAstore.com, we want to help you spend your hard-earned cash without forfeiting any money when time runs out.
Great options to consider using your FSA money on before March 15:
Doesn't it always seem like you're out of bandages at the worst possible time? Make sure you have the products to treat you and your family's cuts, scrapes and burns by picking up bandages for the whole family before the deadline.
Sun Protection Lip Balm
The frigid winter temperatures, dry air and windy conditions can wreak havoc on your lips during the cold weather months, so avoid chapped lips and provide an extra layer of SPF protection all winter long with FSA eligible lip balm.
Individuals who suffer from flat feet or other forms of foot pronation issues can benefit from cushioned insoles to reduce strain from everyday activities and to help shoes fit more comfortably.
Check Out: Men's - Dr. Scholl's Massaging Gel Men's Outrageous Comfort, Size 8-13
Saline Nose Wipes
Traditional tissues can irritate your nose if you're contending with a cold and constantly wiping and blowing your nose. This winter, pick up some saline nose wipes for a gentler touch that can prevent painful chafed skin around the nose.
First Aid Kit
Even if you already have one at home, a first aid kit is a smart addition to a car, RV or boat. First aid kits can give you confidence that you'll respond effectively in the event of an emergency situation.
Contact Lens Solution
Contact lens wearers know that lens solutions that disinfect and lubricate their contacts are indispensable for their daily routines. These solutions will help retain moisture throughout the day and kill bacteria that could potentially lead to eye infections.
Sunscreen (SPF 15+, Broad Spectrum)
Ultraviolet rays can still do damage to your skin during the winter months, whether by direct sunlight or direct reflection off of snow and ice. Spring and summer are also just around the corner, so make sure you have the ability to protect your skin with broad spectrum sunscreen when spending long periods of time outdoors.
What is the FSA Grace Period? How do I know if my FSA has this extension? When is the deadline? Learn more about the grace period in this blog post.
"I keep hearing about it, but don't know if a Grace Period applies to my FSA. What isaGrace Period? How do I know if I have one?
If you're asking yourself these questions, you're not the only one! Deadlines can be confusing, but once you learn more, that confusion will disappear.
At FSAstore.com, our goal is to make it easy to use and understand your FSA, so read on for more details!
For many people, their Flexible Spending Account (FSA) deadline ended on December 31. But, your FSA deadline may vary (this also depends on your employer and when your FSA plan year started), and some FSA plans are structured to have a Grace Period. This Grace Period provides for an additional two-and-a-half months following the last day of the plan year to spend your remaining funds AND incur new eligible expenses.
For example, if your plan ending in December has a Grace Period, then you'd be able to still use your remaining FSA money until March 15. If you're not certain about this deadline, it's best to ask your FSA administrator or your HR department at work to find out when your plan year ends and how much FSA money you have left for your plan year.
"I also heard about a carryover? What is that? Do I have one?"
The IRS and U.S. Treasury Department issued regulations that allow employers to give employees another option: to carry over up to $500 in FSA money to the following year. This doesn't apply to ALL FSAs, and it's again best to check in with your FSA administrator or HR department to find out if you have the carryover. If you don't end up using your FSA money or if your FSA has a carryover and more than $500 is unspent, that money is then forfeited to the employer.
"What happens if I have claims to file? Can I still file a claim even after the FSA year is over, or if the Grace Period ended?"
Similar to a Grace Period in terms of giving you an extension, with a Run-Out period you'll have typically three months after the end of your plan to get reimbursed for expenses incurred during the prior plan year. This means you can get reimbursed for any new expenses.
But, what about if I want to file a claim for a service I received before the FSA plan year? You cannot file claims outside of the plan year or Grace Period.
Have more questions about claims? Visit our Learning Center for additional answers!
Need to use your FSAdollars from 2015? Wondering how to use the rest of your FSA money before the Grace Period deadline?
2. Shop for products you'll need during the year! Need to refill a first-aid kit? Wear contact lenses and need contact lens solution? There are many products your FSA can cover.
3. Do you exercise? Hot/cold therapy packs, elastic bandages and tape, and ankle or knee braces, are among theitemsyou can buy.
Important Information for The FSA Grace Period Ending on March 15, 2015
"Can you check my Flexible Spending Account balance for me?"
Unfortunately, we cannot check that for you. FSAstore.com is a retailer for products covered by a Flexible Spending Account. You would need to contact your FSA administrator, or TPA (third-party administrator) to access any details about your FSA plan. The administrator can direct you to information about your remaining balance, claims and coverage information, and more.
Grace Period Details
If you have an FSA, you could have a Grace Period ending this weekend (March 15). What does that mean?
The Grace Period is a two-and-a-half-month extension during which you could spend down your FSA. This means, if you had an FSA plan year ending on December 31, 2014, and had a Grace Period, you'd still have time to use your FSA until March 15. Now, in this case, that's this weekend!
If you're not entirely sure if you still have money left over from 2014, or if you had the Grace Period, you can still contact your FSA administrator this Friday to find out. If you don't know the FSA administrator, you can always ask your HR representative for that information.
3 Tips to Avoid Losing Your 2014 FSA Dollars
FSA money must be used, or you lose it. FSA money cannot be refunded to you.
Think about any expenses you've incurred.Make sure to submit any claims before March 15.
Check if you have a Grace Period or a Run-Out Period. Some FSAs have a Run-Out period, which is different from a Grace Period. If you have a Run-Out period, you can get reimbursed for expenses incurred during the previous plan year (so you can't use your FSA for new expenses). The Run-Out ends on March 31.
Please note: Employers are also allowed to offer a Carryover of FSA money (up to $500) to the next year. Not every FSA has this option. Alternatively, employers can continue providing an FSA Grace period. To find out which of these two options applied to your FSA, contact your FSA administrator this week.
FSAstore.com Reminds Consumers of Deadline to Spend FSA Dollars from 2014
New York, NY (PRWEB) March 09, 2015 - FSAstore.com, the only e-commerce site stocked exclusively with Flexible Spending Account (FSA)-eligible products, released today five simple steps to prepare for the FSA Grace Period deadline. FSAs that ended on December 31 but with a Grace Period (a two-and-a-half-month extension), have a spending deadline on March 15, by which FSA holders must use any remaining 2014 account dollars. After the Grace Period ends, any leftover FSA dollars will be forfeited.
"The March 15 deadline is the last chance for many FSA participants to use their remaining 2014 dollars, or risk losing their hard-earned money," said Jeremy Miller, FSAstore.com founder and president. "As the deadline approaches, we encourage FSA holders to check for plan-year extensions and use their FSAs to maximize their remaining healthcare savings. The first thing consumers should do is confirm with their FSA administrator to determine if they have a Grace Period or other extensions. Then, visit FSAstore.com to shop for thousands of everyday healthcare products and to access tools to track future spending deadlines, learn about their accounts, and search for eligible expenses."
Five Steps to Prepare for the FSA Grace Period Deadline:
1. Check your remaining balance. Contact your FSA administrator (account information might also be available online) to review the remaining balance and ask about the spending deadline.
2. Submit (past) claims. Be sure to submit medical expenses to your FSA administrator before the March 15 deadline. Some administrators accept claims submitted online, while others prefer that FSA participants submit paperwork.
3. Use an FSA For a Range of Eligible Expenses. You might be surprised to discover the range of eligible expenses available with an FSA, including medical services not covered by regular health insurance and many health products. Use FSAstore.com's comprehensive Eligibility List to search for more than 800 products and services.
4. Save time with your FSA card. If you have access to an FSA debit card, use it to pay for eligible expenses and avoid having to submit additional paperwork. Please note: It is advisable to hold on to receipts, in case there is ever a need to substantiate a claim (prove that it is a valid claim).
5. Use it, Don't Lose it. FSAs have a "Use-it-or-Lose-it" rule. When available FSA dollars are not used, they get forfeited. Think beyond eyeglasses when spending down an FSA balance. Consider products like first-aid kits for travel and spring break, smartphone-compatible blood pressure monitors, breast pumps, and thousands of other products.
Miller added that while many consumers with an FSA have a Grace Period extension, some FSA plans now have a Carryover option. The Carryover allows account holders to roll over up to $500 in FSA dollars from year to year. FSAstore.com reminds consumers to check with their FSA administrator to confirm if the March 15 deadline applies to them.
FSAstore.com was founded to make it simple and convenient to spend, manage, and use an FSA. FSAstore.com is the only e-commerce site stocked exclusively with FSA eligible products, eliminating any and all guesswork as to what is and is not FSA eligible. In addition to the 6,000 eligible products available, the site offers educational resources for FSA holders, including the most comprehensive Eligibility List in the industry and a Learning Center with answers to the most common FSA questions. FSAstore.com accepts all FSA and major credit cards, offers 24/7 customer service, two-day turnaround for all orders and free shipping on orders $50+.
If you're among those who still have FSA money left over from 2014, it's not too late to use the rest of your FSA. It's important that you use whatever is left, because any remaining money gets forfeited (if it's not used by the deadline).
We've created a simple checklist to serve as a quick reminder for your Flexible Spending Account. Not sure if you have a deadline on March 15 (to use your 2014 FSA money)? Ask your HR department or call your FSA administrator ahead of March 15!
1. Confirm your Deadline. Contact your FSA administrator to find out when exactly your plan-year deadline is, or ask your HR department about the details. You can also check your Summary Plan Description, which has all the information you need about your plan.
Not entirely sure if you have a Carryover or FSA Grace Period? Watch our video to learn more about both!
2. Check your balance and make sure to submit any claims. You can readmore aboutclaims filing for your Flexible Spending Account.
3. Schedule a medical visit. Did you know you can use an FSA when you visit a dentist? How about when you get an annual physical or when you get vaccinations? When was your last eye exam? (your FSA exam can cover the cost!)
4.Shop for everyday health products. You can shop for thousands ofFSA eligible products. To get a better idea about how to use your account, you can always check out our Eligibility List.
Do you have friends or coworkers with an FSA? Remind them to check for their deadlines, as well. It can be easy to forget about FSAs, but if you keep track of your funds throughout the year, you'll really maximize and save on health care.
Other popular posts:
Trying to figure out how to best use the money?
2. Are you planning any travel this spring or summer? Check out FSA Store's Travel Essentials for surprising items you can buy with your FSA money.
3. Do you exercise a lot? Hot/cold therapy packs, elastic bandages and tape, and knee braces, are among many items covered by your account.
For Some Flexible Spending Account (FSA) Holders, The March 15 Grace Period Provides A Final Opportunity to Use Remaining 2014 FSA Dollars
FSAstore.com Carries Thousands of FSA Eligible Products and Accepts FSA Cards
New York, NY (PRWEB) January 27, 2015 -FSAstore.com, the only e-commerce site exclusively stocked with Flexible Spending Account (FSA) eligible products, is reminding the nearly 35 million Americans covered by an FSA that they may have a Grace Period to use their remaining 2014 funds. For FSA plans that ended Dec. 31, 2014, the Grace Period deadline is March 15, 2015. The Grace Period provides a last chance to maximize FSA funds and avoid forfeiting leftover money.
While a change to FSAs introduced a Carryover (employers can now offer their employees an option to carry over up to $500 in FSA funds to the next plan year), many FSA plans continue to have a Grace Period, which is a two-and-a-half-month extension to use FSA money from the prior year.
FSA plans cannot have both a Carryover and a Grace Period. FSAstore.com urges consumers to contact their FSA administrators to find out if they have a deadline extension. FSAs let individuals contribute pre-tax money for qualified medical expenses including over-the-counter items, dental and eye care, and medical services not covered by health insurance.Consumers can browse FSAstore.com'sFSA Eligibility Listto search and sort through products and services covered by Flexible Spending Accounts, Health Savings Accounts (HSA), Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRA), Limited FSAs and Dependent Care FSAs.
"Around deadline times, we reduce confusion about product eligibility that consumers often face at a drugstore when they're trying to deplete their accounts. Consumers need clarity, education and easy access toeligible expenses to fully maximize their accounts," said Jeremy Miller, FSAstore.com founder and president. "The March 15 Grace Period is the last chance some FSA holders have to use their remaining funds, or risk losing their hard-earned money."
FSAstore.com is the only e-commerce site 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, and access much-needed information through the FSA Eligibility List and 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+.
Spring officially started last week, and it's hard to believe that March is almost over. While you're focusing on the beautiful weather that spring has in store, it's also a good moment to evaluate where your Flexible Spending Account (FSA) stands.
March is a big month for many Flexible Spending Accounts. There are a few big deadlines that occur for FSA plan years that ended on December 31, 2013. A lot of FSAs have a grace period and/or a run-out period that are ending in March.
So, what's the difference between the two?
- If your FSA plan has a grace period, you have up to two-and-a-half months at the end of your plan year to spend unused FSA funds and incur new FSA eligible expenses. Any money that's leftover at the end of the grace period is forfeited due to the “Use it or Lose it" rule. You cannot cash out any remaining FSA funds, as money can only be used for FSA eligible expenses. For example: If you had a December 31 FSA year deadline, your grace period would allow to use your 2013 FSA funds through March 15. A grace period is optional, and the specific deadline also depends on when your plan year ended.
- If your FSA plan has a run-out period, you have an extended time at the end of the FSA plan year to submit receipts for reimbursement. You can only get reimbursed for claims incurred during the previous FSA plan year. The run-out period is usually 90 days after the plan year ends. For example: If your FSA plan year ended on December 31, the run-out period ends on March 31, 2014. The run-out period is optional, and its deadline date is determined by when your plan year ended.
Chances are you have either a grace period or a run-out or both, but because these are optional, it's best to check in with your FSA administrator. If you aren't sure who the FSA administrator is, you should consult your company's HR department to find out.
Learn more about your Flexible Spending Account via the FSAstore.com Learning Center. If you have a question, feel free to comment below on this blog post, too!
Information for The FSA Grace Period Ending on March 15, 2014
Why Can't I Check My FSA balance via FSAstore.com?
FSAstore.com is a retailer exclusively selling FSA eligible items. We are not an FSA administrator or provider. We do not have access to any information about your Flexible Spending Account including your remaining balance, claims details, payment history or more.
Grace Period Details
If you have a Flexible Spending Account (also known as an FSA), you could have a Grace Period ending this Saturday (March 15). What does that exactly entail? Well, an FSA lets you set aside pre-tax money toward health-related expenses.
Any funds that you don't use by the end of the FSA plan year are forfeited (unless you have a Grace Period, which gives you two and a half months to still spend down your FSA). In this case, the March 15 Grace Period deadline stems from plan years ending on December 31, 2013. Depending on when your plan-year ends and if your FSA even offers a grace period, you could have a different date for your grace period. March 15 happens to be a popular grace period deadline.
Tips to Avoid Losing Your 2013 FSA Dollars
- Remaining FSA money cannot be refunded to you. Spend down any remaining funds to avoid losing them on March 15!
- Think about any expenses you've incurred since the end of last year. Make sure to submit any claims before March 15.
- Check if you have a Grace Period or a run-out period.Some FSAs have a run-out period, which is not the same as a grace period. A run-out period lets you get reimbursed for any expenses incurred during the previous plan year (so, you cannot use your FSA for any new expenses). You have until March 31 until the run-out period ends.
- Trying to figure out how to spend down your 2013 FSA? Browse covered FSA eligible expenses via our FSA Eligibility List.
IRS Changes Made in 2013
Last year, the IRS & Treasury made changes to FSAs. Employers are now allowed to offer a carryover of FSA funds (up to $500) to the next year. Not every FSA has this option. Alternatively, employers can continue providing an FSA Grace period. To find out which of the two options applies to your FSA, contact your FSA administrator this week.