Kevin is moving to the Pacific Northwest so this is his last episode! To commemorate his time at FSA Store, here's recapping what he learned about FSAs and HSAs before and AFTER joining the company, as well as what he thinks could be done better to benefit and educate regular consumers.
If you want to know what prompted this discussion, check out Kevin's article on spreading the word about FSAs!
Care+Wear is the leading designer of innovative healthwear. Learn more about its PICC line covers and what the company does for patients across the country.
Care+Wear's first product, an ultra-soft, antimicrobial PICC line cover, is designed to help the 6 million people each year who live with a PICC line as part of their treatment plans.
According to Care+Wear's team:
"Patients are given a PICC (peripherally inserted central catheter) line to help access the blood stream. They can be used in a variety of circumstances, including used in treatments for Cancer, Diabetes, Lyme Disease and TPN.A PICC line is inserted in a peripheral vein in the arm and then advanced proximally toward the heart through increasingly larger veins, until the tip rests in the distal superior vena cava or cavoatrial junction. PICC lines are usually inserted by physicians, physician assistants (in the US), radiologist assistants (in the US,) respiratory therapists, nurse practitioners, or specially trained certified registered nurses like vascular access nurses and radiologic technologists using ultrasound, chest radiographs, and fluoroscopy to aid in their insertion and to confirm the placement of the line."
Developed with leading doctors and nurses, Care+Wear's cover is now available in numerous hospitals, retail locations, and of course, at FSAstore.com as well! The cover has an EPA approved microbial treatment, is machine washable and reusable, and a mesh window for breathability.
The company also recently launched a new product line, antimicrobial polo shirts, blouses and baseball t-shirts,for patients with chest ports. This is just the beginning of the innovation that Care+Wear is bringing to the market.
Shop for Care+Wear using your FSA
If you have a PICC line or know any friends or family with a PICC line, you can shop for the covers at FSAstore.com. We're excited to be able to provide the Care+Wear PICC line covers and allow you to use your pre-tax dollars to help you or loved ones get back to living!
Eyeglasses require consistent care to keep them in optimal shape, but if you have a flexible spending account (FSA), you are already ahead of the game! Your healthcare benefit covers a huge range of eyeglass & lens accessories you may not have known are FSA eligible, but will come in handy again and again in the future. Got some extra FSA funds to work with? Here are a few places to get started!
Eyeglass Lens Cleaner
Whether you work outdoors for a living or have to contend with the elements during your morning commute, dirt, grime and other substances can directly affect the visual acuity of your lenses. Lens cleaners can solve this issue in a pinch! These small spray bottles fit perfectly into a backpack or purse and can quickly clean lenses when you're on the go.
Check Out: Sight Savers Lens Cleaner Spray, .5 fl oz
Eyeglass Microfiber Wipes
Wiping off the surface of glasses with anything but a soft cloth can permanently scratch and damage the lens, which can leave you hunting for replacement lenses far sooner than you'd expect! A microfiber wipe is the safest option to clean eyeglass lenses, and works perfectly in tandem with spray lens cleaners.
Check Out: Apex Microfiber Lens Cleaning Shamee Cloth
Pre-Moistened Lens Wipes
If you're looking for a quick and easy solution that you can use on the go or at work, pre-moistened lens wipes may be the perfect solution! These FSA eligible wipes are formulated with anti-fogging ingredients and an anti-static formula to prevent additional dirt and grime from building up on the surface of lenses. As an added bonus, these wipes are safe to use on smartphone and computer screens!
Over time, the nose pads that are originally installed on a pair of glasses can begin to wear and degrade, which can affect how the glasses rest on your face and can even become painful in some cases. Replacement nose pad are a helpful tool for eyeglass wearers that can stabilize their frames and improve the wearers' comfort level until the glasses can be professionally repaired.
Check Out: Nose Pads for Glasses by Optic Shop
Eyeglass Repair Kit
Last but not least, if over the course of a day a screw becomes loose in your frames (or is lost altogether!), an eyeglass repair kit is often the only solution to fix your specs! These kits contain replacement screws to fit a huge variety of eyewear, screwdrivers, a magnifying glass and everything else you'll need to make repairs on the fly.
Check Out: Apex Eyeglass Repair Kit
35 million Americans have FSAs, but only one place to shop! Visit FSAstore.com today to explore the web's largest selection of FSA eligible products!
If you have a flexible spending account (FSA) through your work, your benefit covers a huge range of qualifying medical products, many of which can help you and your loved ones stay comfortable during a long car trip. Here are a few of our favorite FSA eligible travel essentials that will make for a more enjoyable journey this summer!
While some people may have no problem sleeping upright during a long car trip, others may struggle to find a comfortable position to get some shuteye. Neck pillows are a great option to keep your head stable during your trip so you can wake up refreshed by the time you reach your destination.
Check Out: IMAK HappiNeck Orthopedic Neck Support
Wearing sunscreen is a must every day (rain or shine, no matter the season)! Did you know you should protect your skin year round for ultimate UV protection? Learn more about special mineral sunscreen from MDSolarSciences and shop for these with your FSA!
Check out: MDSolarSciences
Acupressure Wrist Bands
Car sickness is a condition where the motion detected by the inner ear does not sync up with the motion that is visualized in front of them, which can lead to nausea and other forms of discomfort. Car sickness is most common in children aged 2 to 12, and one solution that may help them is acupressure wrist bands. These bands can be worn throughout the road trip and apply gentle pressure to a specific acupressure point in the wrist that can prevent nausea and stomach discomfort.
These masks are designed to treat a variety of medical conditions that are imbued with fragrant oils and natural herbs that are ideal for treating sinus tension and headaches. On a road trip, these masks can provide calming relief to various forms of discomfort, as well as optimal eye coverage that can help you sleep during the course of your trip.
Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers
Headaches, aches and pains can arise at any time, and during a long car trip you could be miles away from the nearest pharmacy or grocery store. Prepare ahead of time with your FSA funds by picking up common pain relievers like ibuprofen, acetaminophen and more before setting off on your trip. However, it's important to note that as a result of the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), OTC medications require a prescription from a doctor for FSA reimbursement.
35 million Americans have FSAs, but only one place to shop: FSAstore.com! Come explore the web's largest selection of FSA eligible products to maximize the potential of your employee benefits!
What does 2016 have in store for consumer-directed healthcare accounts? Each year, the IRS releases information about these accounts.
What does 2016 have in store for consumer-directed healthcare accounts? And, what exactly are these accounts? Each year, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) releases its long-awaited consumer-directed healthcare account changes. The IRS provides an update as to whether these accounts will have different contribution limits or if there are other plan changes. Whether you have a flexible spending account (FSA) or a health savings account (HSA), these accounts are typically adjusted for inflation annually with a series of changes for the coming year.
Beloware the current regulations of each of these accounts. Learn more about the most popular consumer-directed healthcare accounts:
Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) (Medical)
Changes for 2016: None
Contribution Limits: $2,550 per FSA account.
Note: If anindividual and his/her spouse each have his/her own FSA, they could be setting aside $5,100 as a household.
Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)
Changes for 2016: No change in individual contribution limit, +$100 for families
High-Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) Maximum Out-of-Pocket Amounts: Individuals +$100 and +$200 for families
Contribution Limits (Employer + Employee): Individuals - $3,350, Married Couples Filing Jointly - $6,750
HSA Catch-Up Contributions (age 55 or older)*: $1,000
HDHP Minimum Deductibles: Individuals - $1,300, Family: $2,600
HDHP Maximum Out-of-Pocket Deductibles: Individual - $6,550, Family: $13,100
Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRAs)
Changes for 2016: No Changes
Contribution Limits: No Limit, Controlled by Employer
Limited Care Flexible Spending Accounts (LCFSAs)
Changes for 2016: No changes
Contribution Limits: $2,550 per FSA account. If individual and spouse each have their own FSA, could be $5,100 as a household.
For HSA-compatible LCFSA, can only be used for eligible non-medical vision or dental expenses throughout the plan year.
Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts (DCFSAs)
Changes for 2016: No changes
Contribution Limits: $5,000 per household, or $2,500 if married and filing separately.
As 2016 kicks off, be sure to meet with your benefits administrator to stay on top of your healthcare benefits, and spend your hard-earned dollars at FSAstore.com! If you'd like to learn more about FSAs, HSAs or HRAs, browse our comprehensive Eligibility List or Learning Center for answers to popular questions and to see details about eligible expenses.We have the web's largest selection of FSA eligible products to help you support the health and wellness of you and your dependents year-round.
Learning more about health care coverage
As you may know, a big deadline for health insurance coverage was approaching. Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), also popularly known as Obamacare, March 31 was supposed to be the end of the open enrollment period for the uninsured to sign up for health coverage through the public exchange. This week also marks four years since the PPACA was signed into law by President Barack Obama.
Those consumers who started the enrollment process, but won't be able to finish it by Monday, will now have the chance to get an extension until mid-April, according to Federal officials. People will be able to check off a blue box on the official HealthCare.gov site to show they tried to enroll before the official March 31 deadline. While up until now the March 31 was emphasized, this provides an extended enrollment period for anyone still trying to get coverage.
Note: A Flexible Spending Account (FSA) is separate from health insurance. Learn more in this blog post about how a Flexible Spending Account is separate from health insurance.
Fines for Not Enrolling
Many who miss this enrollment opportunity would have to wait until fall to get coverage for January 2015. Not only that, but if those that are uninsured don't enroll by this date, they could face a fine. According to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the penalty is calculated each year (and increases per year) and for 2014 is either 1% of yearly household income, or $95 per person per year ($47.50 per child under 18). If you have what is considered 'minimum essential coverage,' then you can avoid paying the penalty. Minimum essential coverage (which means you get covered) includes a Marketplace plan, COBRA, Medicare and Medicaid, among a few other available options.
Reuters reported that the Obama administration will still allow some people to enroll after March 31, but only depending on special circumstances. Americans can enroll under the federal insurance marketplace site, HealthCare.gov.
Despite early glitches with the HealthCare.gov site, Reuters added that more than 5 million Americans signed up to get covered through the federal site and also through 14 state-run marketplaces.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released new data in March 11, 2014 press release about enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace. Statistics showed that 31% of those who enrolled were age 34 and under, and 25% are between the ages of 18 and 34.
It is very convenient and easy to use a Flexible Spending Account for different medical services - especially for out-of-pocket expenses that are not covered by a regular insurance plan. Co-pays, deductibles and coinsurance are FSA eligible expenses, while insurance premiums are not FSA eligible.
Flexible Spending Account Claims Filing Tips
- Only those expenses that are incurred during the FSA plan year (or a grace period, if the plan has one) are considered FSA eligible. So, you cannot file a claim for a medical service received before the FSA plan year started.
- Submit claims as you incur them throughout the year. This will help you keep track of available FSA funds.
- You can use an FSA toward covering the cost of qualifying medical expenses for your dependents as well (this includes a spouse, and children through 26 years old).
- Can I still get paid for claims once the plan year ends? Typically, you have about 90 days to submit claims after the end of the FSA plan year for expenses you incurred during that plan year. If you have a grace period (check with the FSA administrator if this applies to you), then you have 2 ½ months after the end of plan year to continue incurring new expenses with your prior-year FSA.
- Can I get reimbursed for a service before paying the bill? You can as long as the service you received falls within the FSA plan year and as long as the service is considered FSA eligible for your plan. You can get reimbursed by submitting a claim with a detailed statement showing owed eligible amounts. You can then pay your bill once you receive the reimbursement.
- How do I submit claims? Your FSA administrator probably has a preferred way to receive your claims – maybe it’s online, or you might have to fill in a form. Learn which way is best and get your claims in as you incur them.
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UPDATE: To find out the 2019 HSA contribution limits, click here.
Reminder: All FSAstore.com products are HSA-eligible, too!
If you have an HSA, great news! Not only are you taking advantage of triple tax savings (contributions, interest earned and disbursements are tax-free), but you can also save even more as the IRS increased the contribution limit for 2014.
2014 HSA Contribution Limits:
- $3,300 if participating in the health plan as an individual
- $6,550 if participating in the health plan as a family
- $1,000 extra for age 55 or older (combined limit of $4,300 or $7,550)
These limits are up from 2013, when limits were $3,250 for individuals and $6,450 for families. The $1,000 “catch-up" for those ages 55 or older remains the same.
Don't think you need to contribute the maximum?
If you're able to, you may want to take into consideration these factors:
HSAs allow you to plan for the future. According to an estimate by Fidelity Investments, a 65-year-old couple retiring in 2013 will need at least $220,000 for medical expenses at retirement. HSAs maximize your savings as contributions are tax-free and accounts earn tax-free interest.
The more you contribute, the greater the tax-savings. For example, if an individual contributes $3,300 to their HSA for five years, assuming a federal tax bracket of 28%, a state tax of 5% and an interest rate of 3%, at the end of year 5 they'll have $17,520.15 in their HSA and will have saved a total of $5,955.10 in taxes.
Don't forget your out-of-pocket costs, including OTC. You probably know that you can plan for co-pays, co-insurance and deductibles expenses with an HSA. Don't forget to also include money for OTC items like first aid supplies, sunscreen, baby care products and more. You'll buy these items throughout the year regardless, so why not take advantage of buying them with pre-tax money? Remember, everything on FSAstore.com is HSA-eligible, too!
OTC medicines are eligible with a prescription, too! If you regularly use an OTC medicine such as allergy medicine, cold medicine, headache medicine, etc., you may want to consider asking your doctor to give you a prescription. If you have a prescription for OTC medicines, they're also allowed on your HSA.
Make the most of your HSA year-round with up to 40% savings at FSAstore.com. All FSAstore.com products are HSA eligible.
New York, NY (PRWEB) February 04, 2014 - FSAstore.com, the only e-commerce site exclusively stocked with Flexible Spending Account (FSA) eligible products, encourages consumers to maximize the savings potential of their FSAs this year. FSAs, an employer-based benefit, can save consumers up to 40% on medical expenses like dental care, various medical services such as chiropractic and vision care, and thousands of over-the-counter products from contact solution and breast pumps to first aid kits and sunscreen.
FSAstore.com Tips for 2014:
Know your FSA:
- Check with your FSA administrator regarding the specifics of your FSA and learn what is covered by reviewing the FSAstore.com FSA Eligibility List.
Confirm your Deadlines:
- Verify your 2013 claims submission due date; don’t leave money on the table by forgetting to submit claims.
- Confirm with your HR department whether 2014 funds will have the new $500 carryover option, a year-end Grace Period, or neither.
- Use yourFSA cardto pay for eligible health care expenses and shop FSAstore.com to avoid submitting paperwork and receipts.
Stretch your Benefits:
- Remember that you can put up to $2,500 in an FSA account. If you and your spouse have access to different FSA accounts, each of you can take advantage of the $2,500 cap.
- Inquire if you can increase your 2014 FSA allocation mid-year if you have a “qualifying event” such as a new baby.
- Sign up on the FSAstore.com homepage to receive special discounts and offers throughout the year.
“FSAstore.com encourages FSA holders to understand their accounts to get the deepest savings,” said Jeremy Miller, president and founder of FSAStore.com. “We support smart FSA habits with a variety of tools and services including the recently added ‘FSA Tracker,’ which allows consumers to opt in to receive plan deadline email reminders.”
A recent change in FSA guidelines makes FSAs even more attractive to the 30 million consumers covered by FSAs. Going forward, employers can offer a carryover of up to $500 or provide a two-and-a-half month Grace Period at the end of the plan year. FSA plans cannot have both options, and the options are at the employer’s discretion.
For the last four years, FSAstore.com has been 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 high qualityFSA 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.
How is a Flexible Spending Account Different?
Yes. A Flexible Spending Account (FSA) is an employer-sponsored benefit add-on that lets you contribute tax-free income to cover qualified health care expenses such as those not paid for by your insurance plan. Your health insurance plan is completely separate from your FSA, and you do not necessarily have to be enrolled in a health insurance plan to have an FSA (although due to Health Care Reform, you may want to).
Let's break down some rules about FSAs and health insurance:
- You cannot cover costs paid by your insurance plan with an FSA as well.
- You cannot use more than one FSA for the same medical bill.
- Expenses paid for with an FSA cannot be claimed on an annual income tax return.
- You cannot use an FSA for insurance premiums. Contact your FSA administrator about FSA eligible expenses for your plan.
You can use an FSA to pay for out-of-pocket expenses not paid for by your health insurance including:
Flexible Spending Accounts offer substantial savings on qualified health care expenses. Setting up an FSA is relatively low cost and pain free for an employer, and adds significantly to the employer's overall benefits offering.
Employers decide the maximum contribution they wish to allow for their FSA, up to a Health Care Reform set maximum of $2,500. Employees opt into an FSA each year during open enrollment. Employees can then use their FSA toward a variety of out-of-pocket expenses including dental and vision care, medical services, and medical products and supplies. Often, FSA eligible expenses are those that are not covered by an employees' traditional health insurance plan. The FSA balance is available in full for use starting on the very first day of the plan year, although employee contributions are taken evenly throughout the year.
Perks of an FSA
-Employees save up to 40% on the money they contribute to an FSA.
-FSA funds are exempt not only from income taxes, but also from payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare, resulting in savings to the employee and employer.
-Increased spendable income for employees.
-FSAs offer an additional employee benefit in the overall benefits package.
Third Party Administrators (TPAs) are a great resource for employers as they have extensive knowledge about FSAs. FSAs can be complicated, so having a TPA handle them is also time effective for employers. FSA administration also requires HIPAA and ERISA compliance, and TPAs can typically provide an employer with the required documents and administrative materials necessary to remain compliant.
Employers decide which expenses they deem FSA eligible (in compliance with IRS guidelines), and have a say in the plan structure, which is explained for employees in the required Summary Plan Description. The Summary Plan Description describes all the details of the FSA – coverage questions, enrollment information, claims handling, which expenses qualify as eligible and more, and is necessary for ERISA compliance.
Health Care Reform brought some changes to FSAs. TPAs keep abreast of these changes and adapt their FSA plans accordingly.
2 Health Care Reform changes to FSAs:
Since January 2011, over-the-counter products containing medicine require a prescription to be reimbursed under an FSA. FSAstore.com's Eligibility List also outlines items requiring a prescription for your FSA.
Plan years starting in 2013 have a maximum FSA limit of $2,500 per account. Employers determine contribution limits – so it could be less than $2,500. If spouses in a household both have an FSA, they could contribute up to $5,000.
Not sure when your FSA deadline is? Do you understand the recent “Use it or Lose it" changes made to FSAs? Learn more on our blog post about FSA Use it or Lose it Changes
Health care should not be the federal government’s responsibility. That’s at least according to a recent Gallup annual Health and Healthcare poll, which found 56% of Americans believe ensuring that all Americans have health coverage is not a “government responsibility.” In 2006, the majority of Americans were still convinced the government should play a bigger role in creating access to health care.
While the implementation of the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (PPACA or ACA) and recent rollout of the health insurance marketplace have raised concerns about health care costs and coverage, Flexible Spending Account popularity has steadily increased as these plans are a great tool for out-of-pocket savings. These pre-tax accounts offer more than just a tax break – they’re another way to put away funds toward health care costs. Get more information about FSA eligible expenses.
Republican attitudes towards this issue have shifted the most over the last few years – increasing from 53% to 86% feeling the government should not be responsible for health care coverage. Among independents there has been a 28-point increase since 2000 as independents feel government involvement in health care should be limited. Democratic opinion shifted as well and increased by 11 points since 2000 – which Gallup reported is the “highest level since Gallup first asked the question.”
“The continuing implementation of the ACA over the coming months and years will surely continue to shape Americans' attitudes toward the federal government's role in this area. It is not clear how the ACA's troubled rollout to date will affect attitudes over the next year,” Gallup added. “But as the debate about the implementation of the new healthcare law has unfolded, Americans have become less likely than ever to agree that the federal government should be responsible for making sure that all Americans have healthcare.”
Browse thousands of FSA eligible products at FSAstore.com including first aid kits, breast pumps, blood pressure monitors and contact lens care. Our blog will help you with any questions you may have about your FSA.
Healthcare costs are increasing. Sixty-one percent of American workers claim their healthcare costs increased for this past year's health insurance coverage, according to a nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) report.
A Flexible Spending Account (FSA) offers two perks in one – it lets employees put aside pre-tax income toward out-of-pocket health expenses. You can expect to save up to 40% on money put in an FSA. Co-pays and over-the-counter medical products are just a few examples of FSA-eligible expenses.
You can contribute up to $2,500 to an FSA, and if your spouse has their own FSA, then you could each contribute $2,500 for a combined $5,000 for the household.
You can learn more about a FSAs or shop for FSA-eligible products directly at FSAstore.com.
Though increasing healthcare costs are a concern, workers reported the escalating costs attribute to “other financial difficulties," the EBRI added.
EBRI reported the following effects:
- 32% said they lowered contributions to retirement plans
- 57% said they lowered contributions to other savings.
- 22% said they had “difficult paying for basic necessities such as food, heat and housing.
- 38% say had “difficulty paying other bills."
- 27% said they “used up all or most of their savings."
- 33% said they “increased credit card debt."
- 16% said they “borrowed money."
Have questions about a Flexible Spending Account? Let us know in the comments, or you can go to our FSA Learning Center.
"I was fired before the end of my FSA plan year. What happens to remaining FSA funds? Is an FSA a COBRA eligible plan?"
Whether you are fired, laid off or leave a job for another reason, the question of what happens to your flexible spending account (FSA) funds is a big one, and it's something that all employers may handle differently. If you are enrolled in an FSA, developing a strategy for a future job transition should always be something you have in the back of your mind so you can avoid forfeiting any funds.
Even if you are fired before the end of your FSA plan year, some employers give you the chance to use the remaining funds in a specific time period. You will not be able to incur new expenses during this period unless you are eligible for and elect COBRA. COBRA (or the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) lets you continue group health coverage for a limited time.
COBRA FSA rules can be complicated, as you can only elect COBRA under certain conditions. Let's dive into the FSA COBRA question so you can quickly develop a plan during a job transition:
If your employer is subject to COBRA (your company has 20 or more employees)
If your FSA is "underspent." What this means is that you've spent less than you've contributed to your FSA to date. If you spent more than you've contributed to date ("overspent"), then you wouldn't be entitled to COBRA.
How does it work?
Once you've elected COBRA coverage, you'll continue to make contributions to your FSA on a taxable basis and your entire FSA balance will be available for you to use on FSA eligible expenses. Your employer may charge up to 102% of the cost to administer the FSA, so you may pay your salary contribution on a taxable basis, plus the FSA admin fee and an additional 2% COBRA admin fee.
Joe elects $2,400 to his FSA, and then terminates employment on June 30. He had contributed $1,200 ($200 per month) when terminated and hadn't used any of his balance. If Joe is entitled to and elects COBRA, he would continue paying $200 per month, plus if applicable, the FSA admin fee and an additional 2% COBRA admin fee, which would be his total COBRA premium. Joe would have access to the full $2,400 while on COBRA and could terminate COBRA coverage at any time.
To avoid forfeiting funds, easily spend down by shopping for FSA-eligible products at FSAstore.com.