Got an FSA surplus? Treat yourself with these health and wellness favorites

While many FSA users can now enjoy deadline extensions like the $550 rollover or 2.5 month grace period (if your employer opts in), for many other flexible spending account (FSA) users, the 12/31 deadline is their last chance to spend their remaining FSA dollars.

For over a decade, we at FSAstore.com have been helping FSA users find the ideal ways to spend their remaining funds to manage medical conditions and everyday health issues, or plan ahead for whatever life throws their way. As this year comes to a close, FSA users will need some ideas to responsibly spend down their remaining flex dollars before their plan year ends.

So what better way to start than with the hottest FSA eligible products of 2020? As you start your 12/31 FSA deadline shopping spree, start with 10 products that made a massive difference in the health and wellness of our customers this year.

1. MyLab Box At-Home COVID-19 Detection Test

While COVID-19 testing is covered by most insurance plans, your FSA also covers at-home tests if you believe you have contracted the virus. The MyLab Box At-Home COVID-19 Detection Test uses saliva sampling for a quick, non-invasive testing method and a prepaid shipping box that will send your results out to the lab for results in as little as 24 hours. And if your test comes back positive, you can plan next steps with a free physician consultation.

2. Sejoy Infrared Forehead Thermometer

In light of the COVID-19 health crisis, many American families chose to upgrade their at-home health monitoring by upgrading their thermometers. Far and away the biggest seller in this category was the Seejoy Thermometer, which uses infrared technology to deliver quick, touchless readings in 3 seconds, as well as memory storage to capture the past 10 readings.

3. Welly Bandages

Replenishing first aid supplies is a smart tactic for FSA deadline shoppers, but if your home is running low on bandages, shop Welly first! Put safety first and fun second with their premium bandages in a variety of fun and engaging colors and styles to help turn boo-boos into badges of bravery for your little ones.

4. Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen

Sick of sunscreen that leaves blotchy marks on your skin? Go with a weightless, scentless sun protection that goes on clear with Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen. With broad spectrum protection and active ingredients that even protect against the blue light that's emitted from smartphones and other screens - it's the full spectrum approach you're looking for.

5. Caring Mill Pulse Oximeter

Alongside thermometers, oximeters were among the most popular hi-tech health devices of 2020. These devices clip onto your finger and measure the oxygen levels in your blood to help identify a key vital sign that could be the sign of an underlying health condition. Best of all, you can now purchase an oximeter from our private label line of healthcare products, Caring Mill. Each sale of a Caring Mill product will support the nonprofit Children's Health Fund, which is committed to providing healthcare to underserved youth populations throughout the U.S.

6. Tylenol Extra Strength Caplets

An OTC pain reliever may not seem too exciting, but it's actually a pivotal part of a larger story. Over-the-counter medicines became fully eligible in 2020 thanks to the passage of the CARES Act, so everything from pain relievers to allergy medicine to acne treatments is now covered by FSAs without requiring a prescription. We recommend Tylenol as a welcoming addition to your medicine cabinet to tackle aches and pains and even as a fever reducer.

7. Bug Bite Thing

Bug bites are no one's idea of a good time, so if you'll be heading out for a trek into the backcountry in the future, make sure you have insect bite treatments at the ready! The Bug Bite Thing has been extremely popular with our customers for its drug-free approach to itch and pain relief from insect bites so you can start the healing process.

8. Gold Bond Ultimate Skin Healing Lotion

With over-the-counter medicines now being fully FSA eligible, products that tackle skin conditions are also available under new regulations. One of the runaway successes of 2020 was Gold Bond Ultimate Skin Healing Lotion, which has been one of our top sellers all year long. From dry skin conditions to psoriasis to eczema, this lotion is a smart buy that can provide soothing relief.

9. Rael Heating Patch

In addition to OTC medicines, feminine care products like tampons, pads, period underwear, menstrual cups, and more are now FSA eligible! One of our top sellers has been the Rael Heating Patch, which uses natural, herbal therapy in an instant patch that warms up as soon as it's applied to promote increased blood flow and help your muscles relax to alleviate pain.

10. dpl IIa Professional Acne Treatment Light Therapy

Finally, as over-the-counter acne treatments have gained steam among our customers, light therapy continues to be a popular drug-free treatment method for acne with FSA users. The dpl IIa Professional Acne Treatment Light Therapy provides medical-grade infrared (IR) therapy with the largest possible treatment area of any light therapy product we offer. Utilizing powerful IR lights, this device will eliminate bacteria at the skin level to reduce breakouts, while enhancing skin tone and natural collagen and elastin.

There's thousands of ways to spend down for the 12/31 deadline, so make sure you start early to avoid forfeiting your hard-earned healthcare dollars!

Thanks for visiting the FSA Learning Center! To stay on top of all FSA news that can affect your health and financial wellness, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
Living Well

5 FSA-friendly winter sun safety tips

When the days start getting shorter and the temperatures drop, we'll forgive you if one of the last thoughts on your mind is your sun care regimen! But if you ask any dermatologist, he or she will tell you that winter is not the time to rest on your laurels when it comes to sun care. Creating a year-round sun care regimen is essential to helping reduce your risk of skin cancer, skin damage, and other potential long-term issues that can affect your skin.

The American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA) backs this up as well. The AADA recommends sunscreen use every day if you will be outside. They go on to say, "The sun emits harmful UV rays year-round. Even on cloudy days, up to 80 percent of the sun's harmful UV rays can penetrate your skin." Thankfully, if you are interested in boosting your daily sun care regimen, your FSA gives you a massive advantage.

How FSAs make sun care safer

Shopping for eligible sun protection products with your FSA should always be your first move. The fact is, eligibility requirements for FSA eligible sun care products can help eliminate products that may not be as effective. For a sun care product to be FSA eligible, it must utilize a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or above, and provide broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays. So as you work more sun care practices into your daily routine, shopping with your FSA first can ensure that you have a solid foundation to build on.

Here are a few FSA-friendly winter sun safety tips that can help you maximize the potential of your FSA dollars and protect you and your family from UV rays on the daily.

1. Consult the weather and activity level when shopping sunscreen

When you're building a year-round sun care regimen, think about how your skin reacts to different weather conditions. Does your skin tend to dry out in the winter months? Is it more oily during the summer months? Pay particular attention to the ingredients in your sunscreen and use the one that is best for the conditions on that day. For instance, if it's going to be a windy, dry afternoon, go with a daily SPF with a built-in moisturizer that uses ingredients like lanolin or glycerine (Upstate Derm). If you're going to be active and maybe build up a sweat, opting for a waterproof sunscreen may be the better option. When in doubt, pick the sun care product that is best for what you'll be doing and where you'll be heading.

2. Pay attention to altitude

Skiing and snowboarding rule the roost of winter activities, and if you've ever spent a day on the slopes without any sunscreen, you may have endured your share of cold weather sunburns. According to the University of Texas MD Anderson Center, the sun's rays are more damaging at higher altitudes as less UV radiation is filtered out, while the snow on ski slopes has the potential to reflect up to 80 percent of the sun's rays. Always apply sunscreen on exposed areas before you hit the slopes, and be sure to reapply throughout the day.

3. Don't forget lip sun care!

If chapped, dry lips are a fact of life for you during the winter months, regular sun protection may be the answer you're looking for. Your FSA also covers sun protective lip balm (SPF 15 or above and broad-spectrum) that will stop your lips from drying out due to sun damage and wind burn, while nourishing the underlying skin layers with active ingredients like aloe vera and other essential oils. Apply throughout the day to keep your lips hydrated and healthy and safeguarded from the sun's rays.

4. Don't skip sun care on cloudy days

Cloudy and rainy days mean you can slack a little bit on your sun care regimen, right? In reality, even during overcast days, UV rays will reach the Earth's surface and your skin. In fact, the MD Anderson Center reports that some studies have shown that cloudy days could even be worse for UV levels during an effect called cloud enhancement of UV radiation. This refers to when the sun's beams reflect off the sides of clouds causing radiation to be more focused and dangerous. So even if rain is in the forecast in the future, stick to your sun care plan!

5. Are your eyes protected?

Finally, winter sun care isn't all about sunscreen! Your eyes are also susceptible to damage from the sun's rays and even long-term health issues like melanoma can arise in the eyes without proper sun protection. If it's time to invest in a new pair of prescription sunglasses, your FSA covers that too! Look for designs that have additional protection on the sides of the face to block out UV rays that may enter from the side. And if you're going to be skiing or snowboarding in the future, be sure to wear goggles or another form of wrap-around eye wear to keep your eyes protected. Unfortunately, your ski goggles aren't covered by your FSA!

Year-round sun care is not just a smart choice for your overall skin health, it could help you avoid potentially dangerous skin cancers and other conditions that could arise from excessive UV exposure. Whether you have excess funds to spend before your FSA deadline, or you're simply looking to fully maximize your FSA's potential, proper sun care is one of the best choices you can make for your health now and into the future.

Thanks for visiting the FSA Learning Center! To stay on top of all FSA news that can affect your health and financial wellness, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

IRS announces 2021 FSA contribution limits

How much can you set aside in your FSA for 2021? That question was answered this week when the IRS released the 2021 cost of living adjustments for various employer-sponsored retirement, health and welfare plans this week.

For flexible spending account (FSA) users, this is a key piece of information to know during open enrollment season as they calculate estimated medical spending for 2021. Contribution limits are adjusted for inflation on a yearly basis, and while in recent years these limits saw modest gains, most of these plans should see little changes for the coming year.

Here's what FSA users need to know for 2021:

1. The $2,750 limit for 2021 applies on a per FSA account basis and could be less than $2,750 if your employer chooses

What this means: $2,750 is the IRS max you can elect for your FSA in 2021, but if you switch jobs mid-year, regardless of claims incurred, you can start fresh with a new FSA with your new employer. Employers can assign a lesser maximum than $2,750 if they choose to.

2. The FSA limit is the same for those participating in the health plan as single as it is for those participating as family

What this means: FSAs only have one contribution limit! Whereas HSA maximum contributions are based on individual/family plan participation, your FSA limit remains the same regardless of how many dependents are on your health plan.

3. Spouses can each elect their own FSA through their respective employers

What this means: $2,750 is the limit per FSA account, but if you and your spouse both elect FSAs through your employers, your total household FSA budget for 2021 could be $5,500.

4. The $550 FSA carryover limit for 2020-2021 was increased by $50 earlier this year in a Notice from the IRS

What this means: Employers have the option of offering one (but not both) of a $550 rollover or 2.5 month grace period deadline extension for their FSA users. This year saw the first increase in the total rollover amount, which was raised from $500 to $550.

5. The FSA maximum contribution limit does not include rollovers

What this means: The rollover does not count against your 2021 contribution limit. So if you roll over $550 into next year's allocation, you'll have a total of $3,300 to spend on qualifying medical expenses.\

6. Limits only apply to pre-tax employee contributions

What this means: If you're lucky enough to have an employer who will contribute to your FSA on a yearly basis, that won't count against your yearly contribution limit! The $2,750 figure puts a limit on how much you can contribute to your account through pre-tax payroll deductions throughout the year. Employers can supplement that if they so choose.

2021 is gearing up to be a pivotal one for consumer healthcare, and thankfully there is one less change to worry about on the health and benefits front with FSA contribution limits remaining the same for the coming year.

Thanks for visiting the FSA Learning Center! To stay on top of all FSA news that can affect your health and financial wellness, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Ready to cook, box and meditate? Join us for free Caring Mill Virtual Events on Zoom

Looking for a change from the normal routine? This November, we are hosting a series of free, family-friendly Caring Mill virtual events in partnership with the Children's Health Fund and hosted by the workplace wellness experts at Exubrancy.

Caring Mill is our private line of eligible health products with a charitable component - with each sale of a Caring Mill product, a portion is donated to Children's Health Fund's efforts to provide healthcare to disadvantaged youth across the U.S.

As we get closer to the holiday season and the 12/31 FSA deadline, we wanted to give our customers a chance to try something new or unwind from the stress of the holiday season. Our free virtual events are a great opportunity to get your family together, get up and moving and get in the right mindset to close out 2020.

As a special gift to attendees, we will provide a special promo code at the end of each session that will provide a discount on Caring Mill products through 12/31/20. If you're interested, check out the sessions and pre-registration links below. We hope to see you there!

Cooking Demo with Julie Palumbo

Date and time: Friday, November 13th from 5PM-6PM

Description: Join host Julie Palumbo for a virtual cooking class using recipes from the Children's Health Fund cookbook. For this session, we'll be making Festive Fajitas and Mixed Veggie Casserole both on the stovetop and in the microwave.

Target Audience: Families

Register here: https://exubrancy.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_A3cvqtBBTbGIxXfAWjmiJA

Password: caring

Boxing with Symone Gates