You’ve got your Flexible Spending Account (FSA) set up and funded. You likely have an idea of how you plan to use the money, but just in case, here are a few ideas to get maximum results from your FSA benefits.
Use Gift Cards for Prescription Discounts
Would you like to get discounts on your prescriptions by using a gift card? You can purchase discounted gift cards, with as much 7% to 12% savings, for the major pharmacies, Walgreens, CVS and Rite Aid.
You can use the discounted gift cards to pay for your prescriptions. When you turn in your reimbursement receipts, you’ll be reimbursed the full amount, including the 10% discount from using the gift card. Think of it this way, for every $100 in prescriptions you fill, you get $10 tax-free dollars from your FSA account! Find more ideas on using gift cards for prescription discounts here.
Please note, you need to pay for the gift card out-of-pocket and then reimburse yourself for any prescriptions with your FSA funds to be IRS compliant.
Use a Limited FSA Instead of Dental Insurance
Insurance is important. However, the truth is, insurance is a game of odds. For instance, many dental plans cover a specific amount, typically $1,000 to $1,500 a year according to DentalPlans.com. Once you reach your reimbursement amount, you have to pay for the remainder of your dental costs for the year. In addition, when you really need coverage for expensive dental work, you’ll likely exceed your insurance benefit and pay out of pocket anyway.
Here’s an alternate option, instead of paying for dental insurance, consider setting up a Limited FSA that can be used to pay for those out of pocket dental expenses. If your employer offers a rollover option, you may be able to roll up to $500 into the next plan year. By using an FSA, you won’t have to pay premiums for services you may never use.
Schedule Additional Doctor Appointments
Have you been putting off a checkup? Maybe your annual eye exam or dentist visit? You can use your FSA funds to pay for these visits. Even if your insurance coverage isn’t ideal, the funds from your FSA can help cover the rest, from co-pays to medical procedures. Though your FSA won’t be able to cover expensive procedures, you could get your eyeglasses prescription renewed, or perhaps an extra set of frames. Dental visits are also included.
Use or Try Alternative Medical Services
Have you heard about the benefits of chiropractic care and wonder if you’d like to try it? Maybe you’ve wondered about acupuncture? As NerdWallet points out, there are several alternative medical services you can use your FSA money on.
Here are a few other services covered by FSA funds:
- Medical care travel
- Mental health counseling
- Drug abuse counseling
- Costs for service animals, including food and grooming
Stock up on Healthcare Products
Many items you walk past in the supermarket are FSA eligible, though the rules differ for each product. Some items, like over-the-counter, require a prescription due to recent healthcare reforms.
FSA debit cards and online retailers make it easy to purchase items in-store and online. Walgreens, Walmart, and CVS all allow you to use your FSA debit card. Another option is FSAStore.com.
If you want to use your FSA funds to purchase allergy, cold and flu medicines, you’ll need to visit your doctor first. A few other over the counter medications that require a prescription to be FSA eligible include sleep aids, digestive aids or painkillers.
Some items that usually do not need a prescription to purchase will require one to use your FSA funds, such as:
- Acne treatments
- Ear drops
- Eye drops
- Nicotine gum and patches
Take a look at the full FSA eligibility list for items that require a prescription.
There are many ways to use the funds in your FSA account to help save money on healthcare. Use these hacks to maximize your FSA benefits.
Disclaimer: the content presented in this article are for informational purposes only, and is not, and must not be considered tax, investment, legal, accounting or financial planning advice, nor a recommendation as to a specific course of action. Investors should consult all available information, including fund prospectuses, and consult with appropriate tax, investment, accounting, legal, and accounting professionals, as appropriate, before making any investment or utilizing any financial planning strategy.