Determining what is an eligible health insurance expense for your flex spending account (FSA) is confusing. The idea of paying ahead for medical expenses is a daunting decision in the first place because leaving money on the table at the end of the year is a very possible outcome. However, with costs high as they are now, every potential dollar saved on health insurance expenses is worth the effort . Zeroing out your FSA, with just a little forethought, is not as hard as you think. By sitting down and thinking through all the little health care costs that you push out of your mind every year you will find that it adds up to more than pocket change.
Health Care Visits
For many people, the only eligible expenses for FSA that come to mind are medical bills. These primarily include any co-payments you are required to pay for treatment. This is not just limited to your primary physician but includes everything from dental work to eyeglasses. Depending on your coverage you will even be reimbursed for alternative treatments such as chiropractic adjustments and acupuncture as a health insurance expense. In general, you will have more success paying for these alternative treatments through a FSA than you would your standard preventative healthcare plan.
There are cases when a visit to the doctor is not enough for some ailments and conditions. Some people need medical equipment at their home for constant monitoring or frequent, self-administered treatments. While most health insurance plans will cover a part of this cost it is not unusual for the patient to incur some of the cost. If a doctor determines you need some equipment at home, than you can use your FSA to cover your share as a health insurance expense. This is true for both equipment purchases and rentals and could include anything from a breathing apparatus to a diabetes monitor.
For every ache, pain, and discomfort there is a pill. As far as your FSA is concerned, for every pill there is a required prescription. The good news is that all prescription co-payments are eligible expenses for FSA. If you are on a regular dosage of anything, than it is simple to decide how much money to put aside during benefits selection to cover your medication as a health insurance expense. It is costs like these that can help you fully take advantage of the tax-free money that a FSA provides without worry of leaving that money behind when the new year rolls around.
Over the Counter
Over the counter drugs were once the way to use up all the money you had put into your FSA at the last minute. You could walk into any drugstore and fill your cart with cold medicine and bandages. However, a restriction on these purchases is in place as of 2011. While these products can still be reimbursed through a FSA they need a prescription to be considered a valid health insurance expense. Getting the paperwork for these items will depend on the willingness of your physician to fill out the prescription for you, but you will need to approach them for this to happen. Most physicians understand how to work the rules for eligible expenses for FSA plans and have no issue jumping through the few hoops for the situation to work for both of you.