Raise your hand if you suddenly remembered you have a flexible spending account (FSA) through work and still have a ton of money left to spend before the end of the year.
Whoops! It happens. Let’s share ideas about how to spend the money you’ve set aside, but first things first.
What the heck is an FSA, and how is it different from an HSA?
Not everyone has a health FSA or puts money into one. But you may have become eligible for a flexible spending account if your employer offers a health plan. You may have decided months and months ago to set aside a certain amount of pretax money from your paycheck to use on eligible healthcare costs. (You could contribute up to $2,600 to an FSA in 2017, but not everyone reaches that limit.) Now is a good time to review your benefits if you’re not sure.
While contributions to a health savings account (HSA) stay in your account until you use them, you typically have to use FSA money within the year you set it aside. Some employers may give you up to 2½ months the following year to use the money or let you carry over up to $500 for the following year, but they’re not required to give you either option. That’s why it’s a good idea to have an idea for using the money before you lose it.
Here are 7 ways to spend your FSA as the year winds down:
- Eyeglasses and contact lenses.
- Laser eye surgery.
- Hearing aids.
- Stop-smoking program.
If you’ve already kicked the nicotine habit or aren’t in the market for a vasectomy, let us know other ways you’ve found to efficiently use the rest of your FSA dollars. Thanks for any ideas!
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