It is that time of year again, and no, not the holidays, but the end of the year when we scramble to use up the remaining part of our FSA balance before it is too late.
Each year, millions of workers set aside funds in their health care Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) to take advantage of the tax benefits to cover eligible medical expenses. However, right around December 1st, for those with money left, you may be thinking, “How am I going to use the money left over?”
Luckily, your FSA funds can be used to cover a wide array of care and supplies so that you are maximizing both your health and wealth.
Here are the 12-Days of FSA Spend down:
1st Day – Squeeze in Medical Visits. Never put off your health. Your co-pays and deductibles are FSA eligible, and depending on the visit or procedure, you could spend down $25+. [Note: Make sure to get a prescription for common over-the-counter (OTC) medicines while you are there—see Day 8 below.]
2nd Day – Schedule that Eye Exam. Your visit to the eye doctor, as well as contact lenses, frames, and lenses, are all eligible under the FSA plan. You could easily spend down $300.
3rd Day – Visit your Dentist. Dental appointments are seldom a walk in the park, but don’t avoid them! Routine visits to the dentist not only help with oral care and hygiene, but also have a positive connection to your overall health. Get in that end of the year appointment, whether a routine cleaning or larger surgery. Your copay and deductible could help you spend down $25+.
4th Day – Buy that New Retainer. If you have children who wear retainers or braces, now is a wonderful time to pay down your orthodontia contract or purchase a new retainer and replace the one that is either wearing down or soon-to-be “lost.” You could spend down $300-$2,650.
5th Day – Make an Acupuncture Appointment. Whether you are a routine or a first-time patient, acupuncture has many health benefits—including holiday stress relief. Your appointment could help you spend down $70.
6th Day – Get Aligned with Your Chiropractor. Does your back hurt from carrying packages and leaning over to wrap presents? Go visit your chiropractor to set you straight. Not only will your back thank you, you could spend down $30-$200.
7th Day –Make a First Aid Kit. First aid kits are often overlooked until you need something in an emergency. Stock up your home kit with bandages, wraps, cold/hot packs, etc. You could create a great kit and easily spend down $50+.
8th Day – Over-the-Counter Medicine. We all need cold medicine, pain relievers, ointments, and other OTC medicines at some point in the year. So why not leverage your FSA? The IRS requires that a doctor provide a prescription for OTC medicine to submit with your FSA claim, so don’t forget to obtain a prescription from your doctor. You could spend down $100.
9th Day – Adult Diapers. A little-known fact, over the next ten years, the sales of adult diapers could actually surpass baby diapers- reaching $2.7 billion in sales by 2020, a 48% increase! If you or someone in your household require adult diapers, using your FSA now is a terrific way to stock up and save big. Not many people know that these are covered under the plan for eligible tax dependents. (If only baby diapers were covered, too). The average user spends $80/month so you could spend down $80-$1,000 and stock up for 2019.
10th Day – Family Planning. Whether you are trying to get pregnant, currently pregnant, or have other plans, this is a great spend down day for you. With your FSA, you could purchase pregnancy tests, fertility monitors, prenatal vitamins, breastfeeding supplies, birth control, and even condoms (double bonus as they also play a role in preventing STDS). You could spend down $200+.
11th Day – Stock up on Sunscreen. It may sound silly to buy sunscreen in December, but it is an eligible item for your FSA, and experts do recommend you wear it every day. Stock up on inventory now so your skin and wallet are protected year-round, and come summer, you’ll be golden. You can easily spend down $60.
12th Day – Make a Resolution. The New Year is all about a New You! Make this year count by taking better care of your health. If quitting smoking, cutting out alcohol, or chronic weight management are on your list, your FSA can help! Both smoking cessation programs and medicines, as well as those for alcohol treatments (with doctor’s prescription for medicine), are eligible. Your FSA will also cover weight loss programs for medical necessity. You could spend down $25+ while saving hundreds in 2019 and beyond.
So it is time to make your list, check it twice, and use your FSA to meet your health care needs. May joy and FSA savings be yours today, and in 2019!
For a further list of eligible items and special coupons, check out the CYC Marketplace here.