It's back-to-school time, and as you scramble to get your kids ready for the new academic year, there may be more to think about than just picking up school supplies.
This is because August is Children's Eye Health and Safety Month, sponsored by the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). Each year, the organization aims to provides information to the public that can help protect and preserve your child's eye health.
Luckily, whether you have a standard flexible spending account (FSA) or a limited care flexible spending account (LCFSA), your benefits can cover a significant portion of vision care expenses that can help your child see clearly throughout the coming school year. Here are just a few of the AAO's suggestions of what you should cover as the calendar flips to September and school gets underway.
According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), an eye exam is recommended for school-aged children every two years if there is no vision correction issue present, and those who need glasses or contact lenses should visit on an annual basis.
Before your kids get back in the classroom this fall, make an appointment with your optometrist to ensure your child's eyesight is healthy - and use your FSA to offset the costs.
Another good plan is to make sure your kids have up-to-date glasses and contact lenses that can stand up to the rigors of childhood. Your FSA covers reading glasses, prescription eyeglasses and prescription contact lenses.
If your child's eye wear is in need of an update, your FSA can cover the fresh new look they've been looking for. Visit our Optical Store to browse our selection of leading eye care brands.
Are all types of contacts covered?
If contacts are designed to correct vision problems, they're FSA-eligible. Though insurance companies might have their own policies regarding coverage of specific types or brands of lenses, they're usually reimbursable with your tax-free funds. Plus, unlike some insurance providers, which may not cover contact lenses in place of eyeglasses, if the contacts are prescribed to correct vision they are eligible, regardless of insurance plan coverage.
Vision correction accessories
Are you running low on contact lens solution? Has your child misplaced a carrying case? In addition to vision correction methods, your FSA covers a huge slate of products that can protect and prolong the lifespan of your kids' eyeglasses and contact lenses. Contact lens solution, eyeglass repair kits, cleaning cloths and much more are eligible for FSA reimbursement.
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.
Each year, the American Optometric Association sponsors Save Your Vision Month, which is held each March to promote the importance of regular, comprehensive eye care from a doctor of optometry.Your eyes are your windows to the world, and if you can't remember the last time you've been in an optometrist's office, it's never too late to put a renewed emphasis on your eye health.
Luckily, if you have a flexible spending account (FSA), your FSA can cover a huge range of qualifying optometric products and services. Don't know where to start? Here are a few FSA eligible expenses to keep in mind during Save Your Vision Month.
- Eye Exams
First and foremost, the cost to cover a visit to the optometrist's office is FSA eligible! A standard eye exam will consist of vision tests to check close and distant vision, Tonometry to test for glaucoma, and a thorough exam of the inner eye after the pupils have been dilated. Most eye exams will only take an hour or more to complete, which provides enough time for the exam and to be fitted for a prescription vision correction method if necessary.
- Eye Surgery
Surgery that is necessary to correct vision loss is FSA eligible, so if you or a loved one needs corrective surgery as the result of a vision problem or a recent injury, these procedures would be covered by your benefit. Additionally, vision correction surgeries such as LASIK are also FSA eligible, so common vision issues such as presbyopia (poor far sighted vision) and myopia (poor near sighted vision) can be treated in a single doctor's office visit.
If you wear glasses, an FSA can help you save hundreds each year on the frames, lenses and accessories you need to see clearly. Both reading and prescription eyeglasses are FSA eligible, as well as eyeglass repair kits, cleaning cloths and sprays to help you prolong the life span and efficacy of your vision correction methods.
- Contact Lenses
Contact lens wearers must support their vision correction methods with a rigorous cleaning and maintenance regimen. Contact lenses, lens solution and carrying cases are daily mainstays for contact lens wearers, but luckily all of these products are FSA eligible as well. This can help contact wearers save hundreds each year on the products they use every day.
- Eye Drops
Last but not least, March hails the arrival of spring allergy season, and your vision could suffer greatly during peak pollen days when contending with itchy, watery eyes. Anti-allergy eye drops are FSA eligible and can relieve the discomfort that often accompanies the early spring for allergy sufferers.
If you're in need of eye care products during Save Your Vision Month, rely on FSAstore.com! We have the web's largest selection of FSA eligible products to help you maximize the potential of your healthcare benefits!
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.