You may have heard about some major FSA changes that passed through Congress in late 2020 as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021 (CAA 2021). No more deadlines right? Not exactly. The fact is, some of these changes will apply to some FSA users, while others will not. Knowing what those changes are and what actions you should take will help better prepare you for your 2021 FSA plan.
Here's the most important thing to keep in mind: every one of these potential FSA changes needs to be enacted by your employer first in order for you to take advantage of them.
The best thing you can do now is to keep track of your plan deadlines and any changes which may impact you. Let's explore what could be changing for you as 2021 gets underway:
1. You may have expanded FSA Rollovers
The new FSA legislation gives employers the option of waiving your FSA deadline for 2021. They will have the option of allowing you to roll over ALL of your unspent FSA dollars into the next plan year. So you can still contribute the full amount for 2022 ($2,750) and have your remaining 2021 FSA funds left to spend.
2. You may have an expanded FSA Grace Period
If you have the FSA Grace Period extension built into your plan, and your plan year ends on December 31, you probably have a deadline coming up on March 15. But thanks to CAA 2021, employers can expand this grace period up to 12 months from your deadline. So your employer could give you a few extra months to spend your 2020 FSA dollars, or even more time for added flexibility.
3. You may be able to make expanded FSA mid-year changes
As a response to the COVID-19 public health crisis in 2020, the IRS made the unprecedented decision to open up mid-year FSA changes to employers who allowed them. That applies again for 2021, as employers can allow mid-year changes to FSAs to give participants the chance to enroll/disenroll and add/withdraw funds to their FSAs.
What should I do now?
First and foremost, let's reiterate the most important part of this article: every one of these potential FSA changes needs to be enacted by your employer first in order for you to take advantage of them.
As the 2021 FSA plan year kicks off, be proactive and stay on top of all communications from your HR department or benefits provider. They will have the most updated information on which/if any of these changes your employer is implementing for 2021 and beyond so you know exactly what's coming and can plan accordingly.
FSAs have seen a series of welcome changes over the past year, from the expansion of eligibility of menstrual care products and over-the-counter medicines to increased employer flexibility to allow employees to take full advantage of these accounts. Thankfully after a rough 2020, we can say with confidence that FSA users are better positioned than ever to save money on healthcare expenses and make the right choices for their long-term health and wellness.
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.
Heart health is an important part of our well-being. Since the heart works hard to keep our bodies functioning at their best, we need to show it a little extra TLC, especially as we age.
February is American Heart Month, and for the last 57 years, this month has been focused on creating awareness, education, and resources for better heart health. Heart.org explains that heart disease is the number one killer of Americans, and unfortunately the COVID-19 pandemic hasn't helped — many people have delayed or totally avoided going to the hospital for heart attacks or other cardiac episodes.
We know that leading a healthy lifestyle can be key to maintaining overall health, but stay-at-home orders have made it difficult for many people to keep up with their routines. Unhealthy behaviors such as eating poorly, drinking more alcohol, and limiting physical activity can contribute to heart disease, among other health issues. So this is the perfect time to reset some of your habits and get back on a healthy track.
Here are 5 FSA eligible ways to boost cardiac health during of American Heart Month (and beyond).
Qardio Arm Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor
The Qardio Arm Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor is a blood pressure monitor that's easy to use for daily monitoring. It measures and records systolic and diastolic blood pressure as well as heart rate readings, and it has wireless connectivity.
You probably already know that blood pressure readings are given in two numbers, but you might be wondering exactly what those two numbers mean exactly. Those numbers are the reading of your systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The Mayo Clinic provides some clarity here:
- The top number is the maximum pressure your heart exerts while beating (systolic pressure)
- The bottom number is the amount of pressure in your arteries between beats (diastolic pressure)
The sleek and discreet design makes it convenient to have your smart blood pressure monitor with you at all times. Manage your heart health by catching unusual trends and share information directly with your doctor.
- Provides irregular heart beat detection
- Wireless connection to your smartphone or tablet for simple setup
- One set of batteries typically lasts one year
- Three year limited warranty
LetsGetChecked Diabetes and Heart Test
Early detection of diabetes and pre-diabetes, as well as insights into cardiovascular health, provide better clinical outcomes and allow for positive lifestyle changes. LetsGetChecked Diabetes and Heart Test helps identify pre-diabetes or determine how well diabetes is being controlled following a diagnosis. People with diabetes or pre-diabetes are at greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease. One of the best ways to prevent cardiovascular diseases, such as stroke and heart attack is to keep your cholesterol at a healthy level.
This at home tests looks at a few different levels, including:
- HDL (High-Density Lipoprotein)
- LDL (Low-Density Lipoprotein)
- % of Hemoglobin A1c
A heart scan is a medical procedure that can be done by your general physician or cardiologist and is eligible for reimbursement with flexible spending accounts (FSA), health savings accounts (HSA), and health reimbursement arrangements (HRA).
A heart scan, also known as a coronary calcium scan, checks for calcium buildup in the heart. Buildup in the heart can lead to a variety of medical problems such as chest pain, blood clots or even heart attacks. WebMD tells us, "The calcium that the scan is looking for is part of plaque. This is not the stuff you get on your teeth, but a different kind found in your arteries. It's made partly of fat and calcium, and it's not good for your heart."
This scan provides insight into how much calcified plaque is in your heart's arteries. You and your doctor can use the results to decide if you need to make any changes to your medicine or lifestyle.
Health screenings are tests that look for diseases or medical conditions based on symptoms you experience. Health screenings are considered preventative medicine since they help create early treatment plans and lead to better outcomes. They commonly help detect breast and cervical cancer, colorectal cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, osteoporosis, and prostate cancer. Other common screenings include cardiac risk assessments, STD tests, genetic testing, senior health screenings, sexual health screenings, and more.
Heart.org says, "An important aspect of lowering risk of cardiovascular disease, also called coronary artery disease (CAD), is managing health behaviors and risk factors, such as diet quality, physical activity, smoking, body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, total cholesterol or blood glucose. But how do you know which risk factors you have? Your healthcare provider may conduct or request screening tests during regular visits."
Here are some of the screening tests done when it comes to monitoring cardiovascular health:
- Blood pressure
- Fasting Lipoprotein Profile (cholesterol)
- Body weight
- Blood glucose
- Smoking, physical activity, diet
Health screenings are eligible for reimbursement with a flexible spending account (FSA), health savings account (HSA), or a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA).
Calcium scoring is a heart scan that checks for calcium (plaque) buildup in the heart. "Plaque buildup in the heart can lead to a variety of medical problems such as chest pain, blood clots or even heart attacks," WebMD explains.
A calcium scoring scan allows your doctor to see if a buildup of plaque has accumulated in the heart. Then you and your doctor can work together to figure out a plan of action. Just like heart scans and health screenings, calcium scoring, or coronary calcium scanning, is also eligible for reimbursement with flexible spending accounts (FSA), health savings accounts (HSA) and health reimbursement arrangements (HRA).
Bonus: Bayer Low Dose 'Baby' Aspirin
Aspirin is known to protect your heart by keeping your blood flowing freely. John Hopkins Medicine states, "Taking a regular dose of aspirin diminishes the ability of your blood to clump together into clots by targeting the body's smallest blood cells. Called platelets, they bind together when they encounter damaged blood vessels."
This means, in some cases, low-dose aspirin can prevent heart attack and stroke, but it's not made for everyone! Be sure to speak with your doctor to see if you would benefit from the heart health advantages of low-dose aspirin.
Take control of your heart health
With all the knowledge and advances we have at our disposal when it comes to heart health, it's easy to make every month 'heart month.' FSAStore.com has many options to help boost cardiac health, plus some eligible preventative measures, to keep your heart happy and pumping.
We're just going to say what everyone's been thinking: 2020 was, well, a year. We understand that there's probably a lot weighing on you, but figuring out how to use your FSA funds before the March 15th Grace Period Deadline shouldn't be one of them.
So, we're here to help you start thinking about it. Whether you need a refresher on the basics or are looking to delve a bit deeper, our website has a ton of helpful information on FSAs, eligible products, and those important deadlines. We know you have some time before March 15th, but we thought we'd help in the idea department in case your pandemic fatigue has your mind completely blank (because we hear that's a thing that we may or may not have).
Here are 10 of our staff's favorite FSA eligible products:
According to The New York Times, 6 million Americans received the coronavirus vaccine and more than 27 million have received the first dose. While this is progress, COVID-19 is still in full force. Protecting yourself and others is hugely important, so spending your remaining funds on important virus preparedness items is a great investment. The Sejoy Infrared Forehead Thermometer is one such device. It's a no-contact thermometer that gives quick and easy results. Especially suited for the pandemic, it's the same kind of thermometer doctors' offices and employers have been using to safely check temperatures without touching anyone, and with it you can do that in your own home.
Whether you're prepping for the just-around-the-corner allergy season, or you're someone who suffers from allergies all year long, using those remaining 2020 FSA dollars on Zyrtec Adult Allergy Relief Tabs is an excellent idea. Its prescription strength provides 24-hour relief of indoor and outdoor allergy symptoms, including itchy nose and throat, runny nose, sneezing, and itchy and watery eyes.
The best thing about the MyPurMist Free Cordless Ultrapure Steam Inhaler? Actually, we can think of two: it helps ease sinus pressure and pain when you're not feeling well, and it also sort of makes you feel like you're in a steam room, which sort of makes you feel like you're in a luxurious spa. If that feels like a stretch, know that it's an all-natural, drug-free remedy and a great choice for allergy season and year-round nasal irrigation.
The Omron Total Power Heat + TENS Unit makes you feel like you're at physical therapy (if physical therapy was in your own home). It's a drug-free pain relief option that combines soothing heat with TENS therapy (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) to relieve acute and chronic muscle and joint pain.
There are a lot of COVID-19 preventative measures we should all be taking: social distancing, wearing masks, washing hands, and getting tested. But weekly COVID testing isn't accessible or affordable for everyone. That's where the myLAB Box COVID-19 At-Home Viral Detection Test comes in! This at-home COVID-19 testing kit is the perfect solution. It takes saliva samples (as opposed to the hard-to-do-yourself and somewhat uncomfortable nasal swabs at clinics and hospitals) and provides pre-paid shipping labels so you can get your test results ASAP.
This is one of our most popular breastfeeding products, and for good reason. The Elvie Double Electric Breast Pump allows for hands-free pumping and eliminates noise for a peaceful pumping session. Plus, it comes with a free app (not necessary for operation — just a bonus!) so moms can easily monitor milk volume in real time, track pumping history for each breast, and control the pump remotely.
Cuts and scrapes are bound to happen, so it's super useful to have these bandages around. This variety pack has a bunch of different kinds, including bandages that are waterproof, clear, designed for sports, and even ones with Disney characters on them!
Bandages and antibiotic ointments go perfectly together, so once you add the BAND-AID® Adhesive Bandages Variety Pack to cart, you don't want to forget about Neosporin. It helps heal cuts, burns, and scrapes quickly and prevent infection, and is always useful to have on hand.
Let's face it, if moisturizer isn't part of your acne treatment routine, your skin is missing out. This one is specially formulated with salicylic acid for people with stubborn pimples, helps prevent breakouts, and clears up blemishes. It also has a soy complex to gently moisturize, improve your complexion, and keep skin feeling refreshed.
This item may be last, but it definitely shouldn't be at the bottom of your list. If you're a parent with a newborn, the Miku Smart Baby Monitor with Breathing and Movement is a must-have. One of our most popular hi-tech health items, it allows you to monitor your baby's breathing, temperature, humidity, sound, and movement without wires or wearables through a compatible smartphone app. You can rest assured while your baby rests peacefully.
We hope you're as excited by these products as we are, but if you're looking for some other FSA eligible items to catch your eye, check out our FSA Deadline Spending Guide. Whether it's sun care, thermometers, tampons and pads, or any of our other health essentials, we've made it beyond easy to use your remaining dollars before the 3/15 Grace Deadline. Happy shopping!
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.
With 2021 in full swing, millions of flexible spending account (FSA) users are starting new plan years with their full FSA contributions ready to spend, while millions more have an FSA grace period deadline coming on March 15. In this month's FSAstore.com Product Spotlight, we'll be taking a closer look at a fantastic option for your FSA dollars at any time of year: the Eko DUO ECG + Digital Stethoscope.
Let's dive into the ways that this device can be a great purchase for American Heart Month as a fantastic upgrade for care providers and a smart home health care option for patients with a prescription.
- Louder and Clearer. You've listened to thousands of heartbeats. Now imagine the clarity of hearing them up to 60 times louder. This digital stethoscope allows users to hear and see cardiac irregularities with ease. With 12-level volume control, DUO helps clinicians care with confidence no matter the clinical settings.
- Visualize ECG/EKG and PCG. The Eko DUO provides portability and utility in a compact package—It's an ECG that fits in your pocket. Whenever needed, the DUO allows users to visualize heart sound waveform (phonocardiogram) and ECG/EKG (electrocardiogram) tracings in real-time on their phone or tablet. With the Eko DUO, you'll always have a specialty scope at-the-ready that you can use with or without the included earpieces.
- Record and Save. The best health tracking devices are those which allow you to create a full picture of your readings so you can take patient care to the next level—and the Eko DUO is no exception. This digital stethoscope allows you to save and annotate recordings in Eko's HIPAA-compliant cloud dashboard. And since it's logged on a secure dashboard...
- Share with a colleague for a second opinion. Through Eko's secure cloud, you can share the results privately with a colleague or along with a referral to take the appropriate next steps. The DUO captures 15- to120-second recordings to chronicle a patient's exam history. Users can save unlimited recordings to unlimited patients.
- Detect cardiac irregularities. The DUO opens up Eko's full arsenal of AI algorithms that analyzes heart murmurs, atrial fibrillation, and more. And being able to record and save these readings can allow them to be easily shared and analyzed by health professionals.
- Evaluate patients virtually. The DUO's compatibility with Android, iOS, and Windows operating system devices make it ideal for the ever-growing telemedicine industry. Securely and safely evaluate patients virtually to help them make the right next steps for their health.
- Unlock DUO's full potential with Eko Software. Through Eko's web dashboard, the DUO helps monitor a patient's progress over time and makes it easy for them to use and implement into their wellness plans. It's an all-in-one sharing, streaming, and monitoring package with your patients' health as the top priority.
And last but not least, the Eko DUO ECG + Digital Stethoscope is FSA and HSA eligible!
Whether you have an FSA deadline coming on March 15, or you're still budgeting out your 2021 health spending, the Eko DUO is a smart purchase for all health professionals alike. As the first and only combined digital stethoscope + handheld ECG to provide unprecedented insight into cardiac function, the DUO is changing the way you detect, track and act on insights for long-term cardiac health.
2020 was a year of change for flexible spending accounts (FSAs). Through the CARES Act, two new product categories were opened to consumer spending account eligibility, menstrual care products and over-the-counter medications. Meanwhile, the IRS made the unprecedented decision to allow mid-year FSA changes in 2020 in light of the public health crisis.
With the signing of the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021 on December 27, 2020, a series of additional temporary FSA changes were enacted that could potentially change how FSA users manage their accounts in the near future. But the key trendline that goes through all of them is that they are left up to the employer to implement. So while some FSA users may experience no changes in their deadlines, some may see major alterations in the coming months.
To help us make sense of all these new regulations, we've enlisted the help of our VP of Compliance, Rachel Rouleau, to guide us through the biggest provisions of this legislation.
Q: Thanks so much for joining us Rachel! We'll go through each of these major provisions here for our audience, but the biggest change seems to affect FSA Carryovers:
"A permissible carryover of up to all unused FSA funds, if allowed by the employer, for 2020 to 2021 and for 2021 to 2022 plan years." What does that mean?
Rachel: Every FSA works on a plan-year basis, with many unspent funds left at the end of each plan year being forfeited to the "use-it-or-lose-it" rule. Employers do have the option of providing employees with one of two (or neither) options to extend the FSA deadline: an up to $550 carryover or a 2.5 month grace period. The carryover allows account holders to carry up to $550 of their remaining dollars into the next FSA plan year. The grace period gives FSA holders up to 2.5 months after their plan year deadline to spend their remaining funds.
The newest change to come from this legislation would allow FSA users to carry over all of their unused dollars into next year's plan-year contribution, rather than the $550 previously allowed. This is available only if their employer allows it. This applies to the 2020 and 2021 plan years only and would require employers to make an amendment to their FSA plans.
Q: This new law also potentially affects the other type of FSA deadline extension: the 2.5 month grace period. What potential changes are coming here?
Rachel: Right! So, the second big, temporary change affects the FSA grace period. For many people who have FSA plan years that end on 12/31 of each year, the FSA grace period gives them until March 15 to spend their remaining FSA dollars. However, this new legislation gives employers the option to extend this grace period for up to 12 months (in the above example from March 15 to December 31). It's important to note that this temporary change is only for plan years ending in 2020 or 2021, after which the grace period will revert back to being limited to up to 2.5 months.
Q: Another change to come from the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021 refers to employers choosing to temporarily extend use of the FSA for terminated employees through the end of the 2020 and 2021 plan year? What does that mean for FSA users who may experience job loss?
Rachel: Traditionally, when an employee goes through a job transition, he or she would only have access to remaining FSA dollars if they are eligible for, and elect, COBRA continuation coverage.
In an uncertain economic environment, this is a major change that could provide relief for those who are experiencing job loss due to layoffs and budget cuts. As with the other changes, these changes are also temporary, applying only to FSA plan years ending in 2020 and 2021, and up to the discretion of the employer to offer.
Q: The IRS opened up mid-year FSA changes in 2020 to allow FSA users to add/withdraw funds, enroll in an FSA or disenroll. Will the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021 allow for this same practice in 2021?
Rachel: Yes! Employers can allow FSA users to make a one-time change to their contributions for the FSA plan year ending in 2021, as long as employers make applicable plan amendments before the end of the 2021 plan year. While this is similar to the FSA mid-year changes allowed by the IRS in 2020, that guidance came in the middle of the plan year and only about 30 percent of U.S. employers opted to make these changes (Mercer). We may or may not see more employers allowing for these changes in 2021 now that they have extra time, but it does require employers to amend their FSA plans to do so.
Q: So it sounds like these changes could affect millions of FSA users, while others may not see any changes in their plan or plan year structure. What should FSA users keep in mind as we navigate these changes in 2021?
Rachel: I think the most important thing to keep in mind is something employees should always be aware of, but perhaps with these changes even more so: FSA plans are offered and owned by an employer, and there are a lot of variations in plan options. The best thing an FSA participant can do for themselves in terms of their FSA success is to learn their plan options, guidelines and deadline availability. Oftentimes this information is available to employees through their Summary Plan Description, a document made available by an FSA plan administrator or HR department. FSA holders who take the time to understand what their FSA benefit is, how it can be used and when it will expire will be best prepared to make the most of this important benefit year-round.
Q: Thanks, Rachel! The story of FSAs in 2021 is still unfolding and it will be interesting to see how many employers embrace these changes and how FSA users will navigate them to benefit their finances and long-term health.
Rachel: And there's still a lot of work to be done! Health-E Commerce previously created a petition to drive support for much-needed eligibility of PPE under IRS rules, and we also launched an advocacy site called TaxFreeBetter.com. This site will help push for continued expansion of FSAs and HSAs in areas such as broadened eligibility for health products and services like vitamin supplements, insect repellent, fitness equipment and more. We encourage FSA users to get involved and make their voices heard so more pro-FSA changes can become a reality.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.
With 2020 coming to a close, and the holiday rush in full swing, we can forgive you if you have let your FSA deadline shopping slide until the last minute! According to our surveys of our FSAstore.com audience, more than 50 percent of respondents said that they have more money to spend this deadline season than they did in 2019, so many FSA users have excess funds they need to spend down in a hurry to avoid forfeiting these hard-earned dollars at the deadline.
We have put together a FSA Deadline Spending Guide to help you get started, but with some FSA users having less than $100 to spend and some having more than $1,000, we've also created a "Shop by Price" function on our home page to help direct you toward our hottest eligible products at the price points you need.
And to give you an extra helping hand, we've compiled our staff's favorite products by price to help give you a bit of shopping inspiration:
If you wear contacts, you can never have enough contact lens solution on-hand. Be ready for anything with this handy, two-pack deal.
This is a great option to have in your medicine cabinet to handle everyday aches and pains, headaches, and even as a fever reducer in time for cold and flu season.
This first aid kit from our private label, Caring Mill®, has everything you need to handle emergencies at home or on the go. Its compact size is perfect for traveling and can stow easily in your car or bag. As a Caring Mill® product, a portion of the proceeds of the sale of these products will support Children's Health Fund, a national nonprofit committed to providing healthcare to underserved youth throughout the U.S.
This is one of our most popular TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) therapy kits that is designed with specific pain relief modes for the lower back, shoulder, joints, and more to provide targeted, drug-free pain relief from acute and chronic pain issues.
This is another one of our cold and flu season favorites. This kit has everything you need to get started with saline nasal irrigation to help clear your sinuses and nasal passages naturally whether due to allergies, common colds and flus, or environmental pollutants.
For the fitness enthusiasts at FSAstore.com, this is one of their favorite ways to fight off workout soreness or bounce back quickly from an injury. This cold therapy roller is designed for versatility to work any part of your body, and it uses a small metal insert that is placed in the freezer to provide targeted therapy to tired muscles and injured areas.
The KardiaMobile is the FDA-cleared personal EKG (electrocardiogram) that provides a medical-grade EKG anytime, anywhere. In just 30 seconds, it can detect atrial fibrillation, Bradycardia, tachycardia, or normal heart rhythm. It will even work with most smartphones and tablet devices through Android or iOS systems.
The Posture Pump® is a personal decompression device that relieves painful neck and upper back stiffness, shapes and restores proper neck curvature, decompresses and hydrates compressed discs and decreases disc bulging. It is even an effective treatment for symptoms such as headaches and fatigue that can be associated with neck and back pain issues.3
This has been one of our most popular products on FSAstore.com for more than 5 years and one our customers know and trust. The Ultimate Foot Circulator is an advanced muscle stimulator for home, at work or on the go that soothes stiff muscle by promoting optimal circulation by sending pulses directly into the muscle tissue to alleviate pain and soreness.
Do you experience shoulder pain while trying to drift off to sleep each night? The Medcline Shoulder Relief System was designed to alter one's sleeping position to allow for comfortable left or right side sleeping by creating a neutral arm position while sleeping. Medcline also sells pillows designed to treat nighttime acid reflux as well.
Need a first aid kit that has everything you'll ever need to handle an emergency and is rugged enough to handle the rigors of an outdoor environment? Look no further than Adventure Medical Kits which are designed from the ground up to help you respond confidently at the campsite or on the trail.
Last but not least, if you have extra FSA funds to spend and have a lot of household medical needs, try our FSA Bundles! It's the quickest way to tackle immediate medical needs from pain relief to cold & allergy to sun care, so you can get the eligible products you need fast.
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.
While many people know about the "use-it-or-lose-it" rule when it comes to a flexible spending account (FSA), increasing amounts of employers are instituting a safeguard to help their employees budget each plan year: the FSA rollover. According to the 2019 Employee Benefits Report from SHRM, 43 percent of U.S. employers offer this type of plan-year extension within their FSA programs.
So what is it and where can you sign up? Well it's a little more complicated than that, and thanks to a number of FSA improvements made on the legislative level in 2020, the FSA rollover is about to become a lot more relevant for millions of American families. Let's dive in to explain how this handy account provision works and how you can budget around it to maximize the potential of your FSA dollars.
What is the FSA rollover?
Also known as the "FSA carryover," this provision was introduced in 2014 by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to give FSA users additional flexibility in managing their funds with plan-year forfeiture deadlines. When setting up an FSA plan, employers can choose to implement either the FSA rollover or an FSA Grace Period (which gives FSA users 2.5 months after their plan year ends to spend their remaining funds). . Employers are not obligated to offer either feature, but if they do they cannot offer both features under the same plan. So whether you are starting a new job, or have been with yours for quite some time, be sure to ask your HR department to find out if these types of deadline extensions are in place with your plan.
Now here's the big change to keep in mind: when the FSA rollover was created back in 2014, the IRS would allow up to $500 to be rolled over into the next year's plan allocation. But in a big change for 2020, the IRS announced earlier this year that it would be increasing the threshold for the rollover to $550 for any plan year that began on or after January 1, 2020. That may not seem like a lot, but it's a new degree of flexibility that account holders can take advantage of whether they are worried about forfeiting their last few dollars or budgeting for a big-ticket medical service down the road.
Now that we know what the FSA rollover is, let's explore how you can best take advantage of it with these tips:
1. FSA rollovers don't count against your yearly contribution limit
This is probably the biggest piece of information to keep in mind when you're planning your budget around your FSA rollover. So looking ahead to 2021, the FSA contribution limit is $2,750. If your employer offers the FSA rollover, you can add $550 of your 2020 funds to your 2021 contribution, which would give you $3,300 to spend in 2021. And remember, your FSA contribution is available in full from the beginning of your plan year, so if you're planning on covering the cost of a bigger medical procedure like LASIK, you'll have your full contribution to work with as you make your decision.
2. Rollovers make it easier to plan for unexpected expenses
One tip that we always recommend to FSA users, whether they have the FSA rollover or not, is to give yourself enough of a cushion in your yearly contribution to handle sudden medical emergencies and illnesses that may come up. After all, if for some reason you have to visit a specialist or have medical tests done, being able to cover part or all of that extra expense should be factored into your yearly contribution. Of course, if you stay happy and healthy all year long, that could leave you with extra money to spend at your plan year deadlines.
FSA rollovers provide a measure of relief for FSA users when preparing for the worst - as long as they spend their FSA dollars down to below the $550 threshold, they can ensure that they won't forfeit funds at the end of their plan years and have a reserve to cover unexpected medical expenses if they happen.
3. FSA rollovers and HSA compatibility
Finally, if you're interested in making the switch to an HSA in the near future and you're currently enrolled in an FSA with a rollover, there is an important piece of information to keep in mind. According to WageWorks:
"If your employer offers a Healthcare FSA with Carryover, you should elect an HSA-compatible FSA for the new plan year so you can carry over up to $550 and contribute to an HSA to maximize your savings. If you don't enroll in an HSA-compatible FSA, you forfeit the remaining balance in your Healthcare FSA."
In other words, if you're planning on switching to an HSA in the future, you can't be enrolled in a general medical FSA and an HSA at the same time. You'd have to switch to a limited purpose FSA to rollover that money into in order to contribute to an HSA. Because this money bridges multiple plan years, it's an important factor in determining your eligibility for other types of tax-advantaged healthcare accounts like an HSA. So factor this into your long-term benefits planning if you think an account switch may be on the horizon.
If you have an FSA rollover, be sure to give your employer a big "thank you!" You have a lot more freedom to take advantage of your FSA funds to reduce your tax burden, treat medical conditions as they arise and help support your long-term health for 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.
As we close in on the 12/31 FSA deadline, there are plenty of FSA users who have excess funds to spend before it is forfeited to the "use-it-or-lose-it" rule. This week, we're focusing on one of our favorite staff picks here at FSAstore.com (and a smart buy for those remaining flex dollars before the end of 2020!)
Why should you consider Active Skin Repair Spray?
First aid products are among the most common products that FSA users shop for before their plan-year deadlines, as they have a long shelf life and will always come in handy in the case of an injury or emergency. This year we have something new - instead of bandages and gauze, change the way how your family approaches first aid with Active Skin Repair.
- Natural and non-toxic
If your New Year's resolution is to work more "clean-ingredient" products into your household, this is the perfect alternative for treating everyday skin damage. All Active Skin Repair products are formulated using natural, non-toxic, antibiotic-free and non-sensitizing (no-sting) ingredients and helps support the body's natural healing process.
- Medical grade
Active Skin Repair leverages the same doctor-recommended and clinically proven molecule that has been used by medical professionals for decades. The "hero" ingredient, Hypochlorous (HOCl), is naturally produced by the white blood cells in our bodies to heal themselves. Active Skin Repair has replicated that molecule using only natural ingredients so you can treat skin damage externally with the same molecule your body does naturally. It's no wonder HOCl is what is used in hospitals, burn centers, and trauma units around the world!
Active Skin Repair condenses many of the most common first aid products down into a single 3 oz. bottle. It's actually the first innovation to wound care since Neosporin was invented in the 1950s and is all biodegradable! That makes it a modern solution for treating minor wounds, cuts, scrapes, sunburns, normal burns, chafing, rashes, insect bites, and other skin irritations.
Whether it's your FSA deadline season or the goal of a healthier start to the new year, Active Skin Repair is one of FSAstore.com's favorite new additions. We keep one in the car, in the medicine cabinet and in our travel bags as it's not a matter of "if" for this product just a matter of "when" we will need it!
Check out the link below to explore all of our Active Skin Repair products for babies (treat diaper rash with a spray!), kids (no sting), and adults. As a "1% for the Planet" company, a portion of each Active Skin Repair purchase is donated to an environmentally focused charity.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
For all the more serious problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, there's a simpler issue that just about everyone can relate to - boredom. Whether you've been hard quarantining since the start of lockdowns or spending more time out and about in the last few months, there just isn't as much to do in 2020.
Well, there is one thing.
Many experts are expecting a quarantine baby boom starting in December. If you're one of these expecting parents, you may be wondering how you're going to pay for all these new expenses. That's where an FSA can help.
Here's a detailed rundown of what new moms can - and can't - buy with their FSA, along with some tips on how to manage your account.
What is an FSA?
A Flexible Spending Account (FSA) is a special savings account for qualified medical expenses. FSAs are only available through employers, so companies have to decide whether to offer FSAs. Workers cannot open an FSA on their own. Some employers will even match contributions to their employees' FSAs, but this isn't guaranteed. FSAs are not available to self-employed workers.
Employees have to decide during open enrollment if they want to open an FSA, along with how much to contribute. This can be either a dollar amount or a percentage of their salary. The money will then be taken directly out of their paychecks.
Once you've decided how much to contribute to your FSA, you can't change that amount until the next open enrollment or if you have a special qualifying event. That's why it's so important to choose an amount that fits your budget and your medical needs.
Like with HSAs, FSA contributions reduce your taxable income. Let's say you earn $50,000 a year and contribute $1,000 to your FSA. You would only be taxed on the $49,000 and not the $50,000 you earned. Obviously, higher contributions then lead to even lower taxable income.
How an FSA Can Help New Moms
Women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant can save money on essential supplies by contributing to an FSA. Before you even get pregnant, you can use an FSA to buy fertility kits, pregnancy tests and sperm test kits.
Once you get pregnant, FSA funds can be used for a variety of prenatal expenses including:
- OBGYN, primary care and other doctor's visits
- Prenatal vitamins
- Prenatal tests, ultrasounds, DNA tests and bloodwork
- Lamaze and childbirth classes
- Baby movement monitors
- Belly band or maternity belts
You can use FSA funds to pay for all medical child-birth related expenses, whether you choose to give birth in a hospital or have a home birth with a midwife.
After you've given birth, you can use an FSA to pay for:
- Out-of-pocket childbirth costs
- Lactation consultants
- Breastfeeding classes
- Breast pumps and accessories like nipple shields, bottles, storage bags, coolers, pumping bras and more
- Baby thermometers
- Baby sunscreen
- Nose wipes
- Nasal and ear cleaners and nasal aspirators
- Nursing pads
- In-home sleep training services
However, there are some common prenatal and postpartum expenses you can't use FSA money for. These include:
- Maternity clothes
- Breastfeeding and maternity pillows
- Baby clothes and accessories
- Cloth and disposable diapers
- Baby wipes
- Cribs and bassinets
- Baby-wearing wraps
How Much to Contribute to an FSA
In 2021, the projected annual limit for FSAs is $2,750 per person. If you and your spouse both have access to an FSA, you can each contribute $2,750 to your individual accounts.
FSAs are provided by your employer. Unlike HSAs, FSAs have a use-it-or-lose-it-policy. If you have money left over in an FSA at the end of the year, you would have to spend it down by the final day of the plan year or forfeit it back to your employer: Your employer has two additional options: to let you roll over a maximum of $550 into the following year or give you an extra 2.5 months to use the funds. Employers may choose to implement a rollover or a grace period, but cannot offer both. Ask your HR department what the company policy is.
This is why it's crucial not to save extra money in an FSA. Be conservative when deciding how much to contribute. It's better to outspend your FSA than to have hundreds left over and no eligible expenses. Also, you'll forfeit any money in your FSA if you leave your job.
Most people reach their health insurance deductible when giving birth, but you can also call your insurance provider and ask them how much childbirth will cost.
If your deductible is more than the FSA maximum limit, then it's safe to save the maximum FSA amount. For example, if your deductible is $6,000, then it's ok for you to contribute the FSA limit since you'll likely reach the deductible amount during your pregnancy.
If you've already had your open enrollment period and didn't select any FSA contributions, then it's too late to change that. However, you can opt to open an FSA when you give birth, because having a baby counts as a special qualifying event. Some (but not all) employers will allow you to make a mid-year election change in this circumstance, but as always it is best to check with your benefits administrator. You won't be able to use the FSA for any past medical events, but you can use it going forward.
If you're planning on getting pregnant, it may be worth signing up for an FSA just in case.
How to Pay for FSA-Eligible Expenses
You can pay for FSA expenses directly with an FSA debit card if you're given one. Some FSA providers don't issue debit cards and require that you pay for expenses out-of-pocket and submit those for reimbursement. You'll have to keep your receipts to prove that you bought FSA-eligible items.
Try to store receipts in the cloud, and ask for an email receipt when shopping in-store. Many paper receipts fade within a few months, so it's best to scan the original receipt and store it digitally as soon as possible.
Even if you use an FSA card, you should still keep the receipts in case the IRS asks for proof that you purchased FSA-eligible items.
Still not sure what you can buy with your FSA card? Shop online at FSAStore.com and be confident that you're buying eligible maternity and baby items.
Zina KumokZina Kumok is a freelance writer specializing in personal finance. A Certified Financial Health Counselor and Student Loan Counselor, she also works as a money coach helping people one-on-one at Conscious Coins. She has been featured in Lifehacker, DailyWorth and Time. She paid off $28,000 worth of student loans in three years.
2020 has earned itself an endless list of superlatives, and if you're a flexible spending account (FSA) user, this year has likely been a continuing struggle to find ways to maximize your FSA dollars. FSAstore.com makes it easy to spend your remaining 2020 flex dollars with the largest selection of exclusively FSA-eligible products featuring more than 6,000 health and wellness items. Instead of a year-end rush, we want to help you spend your remaining funds responsibly so you can maximize your investment in your FSA.
Let's get started!
First Thing's First: Check Your Balance
Know how much you have left to spend and then develop a plan to get every last benefit from your flex dollars. Once you've made a trip through your benefits portal, start with the most important potential health expenses:
1. Book Doctor Appointments Now!
If you're overdue for a physical or check-up, your FSA covers co-payments and other medical services. With only a couple months left in the year, book now before appointments fill up. If an in-person visit to the doctor's office isn't an option, telehealth expenses are also FSA eligible and offer the added convenience of seeing your doctor from the comfort of your own home.
2. Elective Procedures and Health and Wellness Upgrades
If you have a major FSA surplus to work with, now may be the right time for that elective procedure you may have been putting off. LASIK surgery, specialist health services and more are covered by your FSA. Additionally, now may be the perfect time to invest in a new pair of prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses.
3. Plan Ahead for Upcoming Life Events
If you're expecting a baby in the future: breastfeeding supplies, baby movement monitors and more are all covered by your FSA funds. Traveling? Pick up a travel first aid kit and some extra sunscreen. Plan ahead so you won't have to pay out-of-pocket for these health essentials.
Check all those boxes? There are thousands of eligible items that can help you spend your remaining FSA dollars. Let's start with what's new for 2020:
Dive into Newly Eligible Product Categories
Over-the-counter (OTC) medicines like Advil, Benadryl and more, as well as feminine care products like tampons, pads, menstrual cups and more became fully eligible in 2020. Here are a few of our favorite staff picks:
Everyday Feminine Care
With technology that moves the way you move, find period care that can do the same. Playtex Sport Regular Tampons are a great choice for normal flow days.
Plan for the seasons ahead
From upping your virus preparedness to curbing cold and flu symptoms, put your excess FSA funds to work to help you bounce back quickly if you get sick.
The Sejoy Infrared Thermometer offers quick, and easy readings with no-contact operation. It'll even recall your past 10 readings.
COVID-19 at-home tests are eligible! The myLAB Box COVID-19 At-Home Viral Detection Test uses non-invasive saliva sampling and a pre-packaged mail-in kit to give you results in as little as 24 hours.
Stuffy noses are no fun. Try a drug-free method to clear out your nasal passages due to colds and flus with the Navage Nasal Irrigation Starter Kit.
Steam therapy is another great choice for head colds and the flu. Deliver targeted therapy to sinus infections, colds and more with the Aura Portable Nebulizer.
With a plan in place to cover your biggest health needs first, if you still have excess FSA funds to spend, you have options! Take this opportunity to invest in a hi-tech health device like a blood pressure monitor to gain a window into your health, or try a new approach to alleviating pain with drug-free pain relief. Or take this opportunity to replenish your medicine cabinet with over-the-counter medications, feminine care products, first aid supplies and more.
Your FSA can also help you enjoy your favorite activities with your health being your top priority. We offer a "Shop by Lifestyle" option on our site to help individuals and families find eligible products that aid in the treatment of medical conditions so they can better enjoy their favorite activities. Here are a few ways to get started:
As long as a sun care product offers broad spectrum coverage and an SPF of 15+, it's eligible. That means sunscreen for all ages, including SPF lip balm and more.
Hot and cold packs, athletic braces, kinesiology tape and more can help you treat injuries, prevent workout soreness and bolster your post-workout cooldown.
Whether you need a trail-ready first aid kit or bug bite treatments that take the sting away, your FSA can help you relish your time on the trail safely.
Be prepared for your kids' sick days and everyday health issues like colds, cuts and scrapes with FSA-eligible bandages, saline nose wipes and more.
Want to boost your everyday health and wellness management? Your FSA covers hundreds of diagnostic devices including blood pressure monitors, oximeters, nausea relief bands and more.
Save More, Give Back
Finally, if you're looking for health essentials and want your tax-free dollars to go a bit further, shop our private label line of health products called Caring Mill. With every sale of a Caring Mill product, a portion of the sales is donated to the Children's Health Fund, which is committed to providing healthcare to underserved youth populations across the U.S.
Find an ever-growing selection of everyday essentials for you and your family from thermometers to over-the-counter medicines, organic SPF lip balm, and more to support year-round wellness with the added satisfaction of avoiding FSA forfeiture and giving back to those who need it most.
For more than 70+ million Americans who use flexible spending accounts (FSA) and health savings accounts (HSAs), product and service eligibility has consistently been a point of confusion. Why are some expenses covered, while others that seem to be medical in nature are excluded from FSA and HSA eligibility?
The fact is, FSAs and HSAs are enshrined in the U.S. tax code, and as such, their use is governed by IRS code, specifically (IRC) 213(d), which determines what is allowed to be purchased with FSA and HSA funds in a given plan year. FSA and HSA reform requires action on the legislative level and is typically rare, but does happen, with the most significant reforms coming in the Affordable Care Act in 2010. But 2020 proved to be a banner year for FSA and HSA reform that could have put the wheels in motion to allow for future expansion of these accounts to further benefit consumers.
In 2020 alone, the IRS made the unprecedented decision to open up mid-year changes to FSA users to adjust their contributions, enroll or disenroll in their accounts, as well as the passage of the CARES Act, which removed the prescription requirement necessary to purchase over-the-counter medicines (OTC) using pre-tax funds and made feminine care products like tampons, pads and more fully FSA/HSA eligible for the first time.
It's been a big year, and one that could spell future opportunities for FSA and HSA reform that account holders have been seeking for years. Let's dive into the most recent legislative efforts to make FSAs and HSAs more versatile for American families - and how you can help get them across the finish line.
1. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Eligibility
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 public health crisis, FSA and HSA users were shocked to find out that their tax-free funds would not be eligible to cover much-needed personal protective equipment (PPE) like face coverings, disinfectant products and hand sanitizer to protect themselves from the spread of the virus.
Thankfully, in October 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives introduced HR 8450, a bill that would allow for the temporary FSA/HSA eligibility of face coverings, disinfectant products and hand sanitizer. Eligibility would be tied to the current state of emergency in the U.S. in regards to the COVID-19 public health crisis. So if the state of emergency ends in 2021, PPE products would be eligible until 12/31/2021.
This is an issue that is near and dear to the Health-E Commerce community, and one that we are fully supporting to give account holders more options to protect themselves and their loved ones. We encourage FSA/HSA users to sign our petition to push Congress to enact this much-needed change, as well as visiting TaxFreeBetter.com to use our form letters to send a personalized letter to your member of congress to encourage them to pass this essential bill for tax-free healthcare users.
2. Vitamin Supplements
Today, the only vitamin supplements that are allowed under IRS rules are prenatal vitamins and glucosamine/chondroitin supplements. But this too could have a chance of changing in the future thanks to another bill introduced in 2020 that would make vitamin supplements eligible for purchase with FSA/HSA funds.
The bill S. 4463 was introduced in the Senate Finance Committee in August 2020, and would allow for certain types of vitamin and mineral products to be made available for FSA/HSA spending. This is one of many similar bills that have been introduced on this topic in recent years, and they have either never made it out of the committee stage or never came up for a vote in Congress.
Vitamin supplements are one of many products that may seem like a logical addition to FSA/HSA eligibility, but because many don't have a direct role in medical treatment, the IRS has been wary of allowing these expenses to become fully eligible. But as is the case with PPE, if the public shows enough support for this sort of change, it has a much better chance of becoming reality, so contacting your member of congress is a good first step!
3. Gym Memberships and Fitness Equipment
Finally, while no pieces of legislation have been introduced on the subject of FSA/HSA eligibility of fitness expenses like gym memberships, this is another common refrain among FSA/HSA users: "If I can help avoid future health problems by making the right health and wellness choices now, why shouldn't these products be considered 'qualified medical care'?"
This is a classic example of how "prevention" in IRS regulations can be a confounding thing for account holders. Internal Revenue Code (IRC) 213(d) currently defines qualified medical care as, "amounts paid for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, or for the purpose of affecting any structure or function of the body." Unfortunately, in order for medical products to qualify as prevention, the IRS has also indicated that there must be an imminent probability of contracting a disease or illness without the use of the product. While FSAs and HSAs have been subject to numerous changes over the years through various rounds of regulatory guidance and legislative reform, the IRS definition that dictates what tax-free healthcare consumers can purchase has stayed the same for decades.
As millions of American families turn to their workplace benefits to support their long-term health and overall wellness, they are surprised to find that while these funds are extremely helpful in the event of sickness or medical emergency, there are restrictions in helping them improve their overall state of health or in pursuing healthy activities that can help them avoid health issues in the future. Allowing these types of expenses would be a fundamental change for these accounts, but one that is desired by millions of Americans.
Ultimately, one of the greatest things about tax-free healthcare benefits is that account holders can have a direct role in supporting their expansion on the legislative level. A letter to a member of congress, signing a petition, and more can ensure that your voice is heard and these benefits are prioritized as essentials for the health and financial well-being of all American families.