While the 12/31 deadline is the most important date of the year for millions of FSA users, a huge segment of this population is enrolled in plans that feature a 2.5 month grace period. This option, which is chosen by employers, gives FSA users 2.5 months after the end of their plan year to spend down the remainder of their FSA funds and submit claims for reimbursement.
If you have the FSA grace period and your FSA ended 12/31/2016, the countdown to March 15, 2017 (your 2.5 month grace period deadline) has begun! To avoid forfeiting money to your FSA plan sponsor, we have compiled the FSA Grace Period Product Guide to help you find the eligible products your family needs to stay healthy throughout 2017. Whether you have $20 or $200 left to spend, we can help you put those remaining FSA dollars toward items that can enhance your health and wellness for the year.
Need to get away?
If you and your loved ones are looking to escape the winter blues or planning a trip in the spring, your FSA covers a surprising amount of travel items that you may need along the way. Travel in comfort and avoid unnecessary neck pain with an orthopedic neck pillow, and keep track of any medications you take with an FSA eligible pill organizer. And don't forget sun protection (SPF 15+, broad spectrum sun protection is FSA-eligible)! Pick up children's sunscreen for the little ones and keep your skin protected with mineral sunscreen.
Make a renewed commitment to fitness
Whether you're trying to craft the perfect beach body this summer or are heading back to the gym for health-related purposes, your FSA can cover the cost of a wide range of physical therapy and wellness products to help alleviate pain while you reach your goals. Cold packs are smart buys that can help you control workout related soreness and inflammation, kinesiology tape can promote the healing process of strained muscles, while braces & elastic supports can immobilize joints to prevent re-injury and help you stick to your exercise regimen.
Improve your vision correction methods
Whether you wear contact lenses, reading glasses or prescription glasses, all of these vision correction methods are covered by your FSA! Best of all, in addition to the devices you use to improve your vision, the accessories needed to take care of them are eligible as well! Eyeglass repair kits & cleaning cloths, contact lens solution, contact carrying cases and many more eye care products are eligible and can keep you seeing clearly year-round.
Pick up home health essentials
Is your home's first aid kit up to date with fresh bandages and wound dressings? Do you have a first aid kit for your car or boat? What about over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers, acid controllers, allergy remedies or antihistamines? FSAstore.com can help you pick up the medicine cabinet essentials your family needs to stay healthy year-round. And with our hassle-free Prescription Process, we can help you quickly obtain prescriptions from your doctor for eligible OTC medicines to complete your purchases!
Bundle of joy on the way?
If your family will be growing in the coming year, your FSA can help you lay a strong foundation for parenthood with a wide range of qualifying products. Prenatal multivitamins are eligible without a prescription, as well as breastfeeding supplies, baby sunscreen and much more! FSAs can help you save on the huge amount of care items that an infant will need throughout the early stages of life, so you can be prepared for whatever parenthood has in store.
Were you aware that prenatal vitamins are covered by a Flexible Spending Account (FSA)? Do you know what to look for when shopping for prenatal vitamins?
Were you aware that prenatal vitamins are covered by a Flexible Spending Account (FSA)? This month marks two important health initiatives that have amajor impact for women who are planning to become mothers in the coming year. National Birth Defects Prevention Month and National Folic Acid Month shed light on one of the most important supplements a new mom can take for the health of her child: prenatal vitamins!
While expecting moms are encouraged to eat a healthy diet to support the health of their growing child, their diets may be missing key nutrients that can play a major role in preventing birth defects and supporting the optimal development of their children.
What are the most important ingredients to look for in prenatal vitamins? Let's find out!
Folic Acid: This nutrient has been proven to prevent neural tube defects, which are serious abnormalities in the brain and spinal cord. Folic acid is the natural form of the vitamin, while folic acid is the synthetic derivative that is added to foods as required by federal law. Folate is found naturally in many foods, including asparagus, okra, leafy vegetables, beans, yeast and mushrooms. It's recommended that any woman who could get pregnant should take 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid daily, starting before conception and continuing through the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
Iron: This mineral is pivotal in the baby's growth and development, as well as preventing the development of anemia, which results in a lack of healthy red blood cells in the body. Iron is a staple in many prenatal vitamin brands, and can be found in a number of natural sources including leafy green vegetables (spinach, kale, etc), dried fruit like raisins and apricots, seafood, beans and more. Aim for at least 27 mg of iron each day during pregnancy.
Iodine: This nutrient assists in the mother's thyroid function and metabolism during pregnancy, and can be found in cranberries and organic foods like yogurt, raw cheese and organic potatoes. Iodine also contributes to the baby's brain and nervous system development, and a lack of iodine during pregnancy has been linked to an increased risk of miscarriage, stillbirth and preterm delivery. Pregnant women should aim for 220 mcg of iodine per day, while breastfeeding woman should up that to 290 mcg.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: These acids have been known to support healthy brain and vision development in infants, and they are most often found in fatty fish, eggs and peanut butter. These substances have been found to prevent pre-term labor and delivery and may increase birth weights. The two most beneficial omega-3s are EHA and DHA, and DHA is especially important for the brain, eyes and central nervous system. As such, pregnant/lactating women are advised to take at least 300 mg of DHA each day.
Calcium: This nutrient plays a pivotal role in the development of healthy bones and teeth, the heart, nerves and muscles. It is recommended that women should receive 1,000 mg of calcium per day before, during and after pregnancy, and they should supplement their diet with calcium-rich foods like dairy products, sardines, soybeans and fortified juices/cereals/grains.
The preceding ingredients are a must for any prenatal vitamin regimen, but expecting mothers should also read labels and compare products to ensure they are receiving the proper levels of vital nutrients. Other important prenatal vitamins/minerals to look for are vitamin A/B12/C/DE, niacin, riboflavin, thiamine, zinc and copper.
If you have a bundle of joy on the way, make sure you give your child the best start possible with prenatal vitamins purchased at FSAstore.com! We have the web's largest selection of FSA eligible products to support the health and wellness of you and your loved ones.
Vitafusion PreNatal Gummy Vitamins
Easy on the stomach and provide expectant mothers a multi-vitamin formula.
Rainbow Light Prenatal One™ Multivitamin
A holistic, whole body formulation that provides potencies of essential nutrients.
First and foremost, congratulations on the big news! With a bundle of joy on the way, it may feel like you have an endless list of concerns before the baby arrives, but ensuring proper nutrition throughout your pregnancy should be your primary concern.
Doctors advise mothers-to-be to take prenatal vitamins throughout their pregnancies to fill any nutritional gaps in their diets that can prevent birth defects, low birth weight and other complications.
Even if you have an optimal diet, think of prenatal vitamins as an insurance policy to cover nutrients that are essential to a baby's development.
Best of all, if you or your spouse have a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), prenatal vitamins are FSA-eligible! Check out FSAstore.com to shop for thousands of qualifying 2014 FSA eligible items to foster the health and well-being of your growing family.
Don't know where to begin? Seek out the following nutrients when you decide to purchase prenatal vitamins for the first time.
- This nutrient is found in leafy green vegetables, nuts, beans and citrus fruits, and the FDA also requires flour products, such as breads, buns and bagels, must be fortified with extra folic acid. This ingredient is extremely important to prevent neural tube defects, which refers to a spine that is not fully developed. Because these defects can begin to develop just 28 days after conception, it's vital that mothers-to-be begin taking prenatal vitamins in the early stages of pregnancy.
- Iron should be an essential nutrient in any mother-to-be's diet, as it assists both the mother and child's blood's ability to carry oxygen throughout the body. Iron deficiency is the chief cause of anemia, and can also lead to low birth weights, preterm delivery and infant mortality. In addition to vitamin supplements, iron is found in red meat, spinach and collard greens, egg yolks, beans and artichokes. Additionally, increased vitamin C consumption can help your body better absorb the iron in the foods you ingest.
- Bone density is a major concern for mothers, as the fetus will utilize this mineral to contribute to bone growth. As a result, expecting mothers should aim to improve their calcium intake during pregnancy to ensure the health and well-being of their baby, as well as helping to avoid bone density issues like osteoporosis later in life. Calcium is found in dairy products like milk, yogurt and cheese, as well as soybeans, sardines, spinach, kale, turnips and collard greens.
- As one of the nutrients responsible for the production, repair and functioning of DNA, as well as the formation of healthy cells, zinc is an extremely important mineral to look for when shopping for prenatal vitamins. Zinc supports proper immune system function and while zinc deficiencies are rare, they can result in low birth weights, miscarriage and other complications. Foods that are high in zinc include spinach, pumpkin seeds, cashews and white mushrooms.
- Last but not least, the importance of regular vitamin D intake during pregnancy has gained steam in recent years, as many studies point to the fact that the nutrient can prevent immune system disorders and other diseases. While the body produces this vitamin naturally from the absorption of sunlight, it can also be found in fortified milk products, fatty fish like salmon, mackerel and tuna, as well as eggs, mushrooms and oysters.