Unique Uses for an FSA

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Contributor, Benzinga
February 18, 2022

Let’s say you find yourself in need of workout recovery, pain relief, or even pregnancy tests. You might be surprised what your FSA, or Flexible Spending Account, can provide. 

You can use FSA funds for copays for doctor office visits, dental cleanings and insurance deductibles. However, you don’t want to miss out on deals, especially if you have any leftover money at the end of the year. 

Take a look at Benzinga’s top 10 unique uses for an FSA now.

10 Unique Uses for an FSA

Many people may not know that you can purchase all kinds of unexpected products with FSA funds like travel essentials, first aid kits, heating pads and more. Refer to Benzinga’s list of products below that qualify for FSA use.

1. Acne Treatments

As the seasons begin to change, you no doubt can feel the effects on your skin. Sometimes a prolonged winter leaves your skin dry, while on the other hand, warmer temperatures require sun protection. 

To keep up with good skincare, you must take care of imperfections, protect yourself against harmful UV rays, fight acne and itchy skin. With your FSA, a visit to the dermatologist is an eligible expense. All treatments must be mainly for medical care to qualify for FSA. 

2. Alternative Healing

Some of the few examples of alternative treatment options that are FSA eligible are homeopathy, naturopathy, energy therapy, chiropractic and reiki. Additionally, anti-snore guards may also be eligible for FSA reimbursement as long as you possess an LMN stating that you need it to treat a medical condition. 

3. Baby Products

Eligible products include prenatal care with birthing classes, diagnostic testing, GYN exams, Lamaze classes, smoking cessation, prescription prenatal vitamins, therapeutic pregnancy pillows, and maternity support belts. 

Childbirth areas like doula or midwife, birthing centers, hospital labor and delivery, deductibles, coinsurance and copayments qualify under FSA. Lastly, postpartum care focusing on tubal ligation, breast pumps, breast milk storage bags and lactation consultants are all a part of FSA eligibility.

4. Dental Care

Under FSA teeth cleaning, root canals, dental fillings, dental sealants, crowns, bonding, dentures, tooth extractions, inlays and onlays, periodontal therapies, and all diagnostic or preventative services are all covered. 

5. Eye Care

Vision care is an eligible FSA expense. It isn’t uncommon to find people with FSAs shopping for eyeglasses, contact solutions or to visit their ophthalmologists. 

6. Morning-After Pill

As long as a prescription for reimbursement is presented with the morning-after pill, it qualifies for an FSA expense. It is essential to keep in mind that the morning-after pill is not eligible with a dependent care flexible spending account. 

7. OTC Medications

When you enroll in a health care FSA, you can use pre-tax dollars to pay for eligible medical expenses by setting aside money from each paycheck. All over the counter, nonprescription drugs and medicines are now reimbursable under health flexible spending accounts. 

8. Sunscreen

Fortunately, this product falls under the umbrella of FSA-covered medical expenses. This is because it is considered a nonprescription over-the-counter medicine. The impact of sunscreen is significant for decreasing your chances of sunburn, signs of aging and skin cancer. 

9. Feminine Hygiene Products

If you look at the FSA Store, you will see that these products are eligible for FSA reimbursement. Feminine products do not qualify for reimbursement with a limited purpose flexible spending account or a dependent care flexible spending account.

10. Ancestry Kits

Over the years, these items have become increasingly popular. Should you ever be interested in learning about heritage or how your DNA could impact your health, you could very well use your FSA. The kits usually include a health report for eligibility.

Compare Health Insurance

Refer to Benzinga for more information on the difference between a flexible spending account and a health savings account. For the most part, though, the most significant differentiation between the two is that an FSA is owned by the participant’s employer and is controlled all by you. 

If you are trying to determine which is better, an FSA or HAS, it all comes down to your health insurance plan and the benefits your employer offers.

  • securely through Blue Cross Blue Shield Health Insurance's website
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  • securely through Sidecar Health Access Plan's website
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    Plans referred to above are excepted benefit fixed indemnity insurance products marketed and administered by Sidecar Health Insurance Solutions, LLC and underwritten by Sirius America Insurance Company or United States Fire Insurance Company, depending on the state. As an excepted benefit plan, it does not provide comprehensive/major medical expenses coverage, minimum essential coverage, or essential health benefits. You cannot receive a subsidy (premium tax credit and/or cost-sharing reduction) under the ACA in connection with your purchase of such an excepted benefit fixed indemnity insurance plan. Also, the termination or loss of this policy does not entitle you to a special enrollment period to purchase a health benefit plan that qualifies as minimum essential coverage outside of an open enrollment period. Coverage and plan options may vary or may not be available in all states.

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What is an FSA?

A flexible spending account is a type of savings account that offers the account holder with particular tax advantages. An employer can establish a flexible spending account for employees. 

The FSA allows employees to contribute a portion of their regular earnings to their accounts. Employers also have the opportunity to contribute to their employee accounts. However, distributions from the account must be used to reimburse the said employee for qualified expenses. Expenses must be related to medical and dental services, though.

Additionally, there is also a dependent-care flexible spending account. This is used to pay for childcare expenses for children 12 years old and younger. It can also be utilized to pay for the care of qualifying adults, including a spouse, who cannot care for themselves while also meeting specific IRS guidelines. The dependent care FSA has different maximum contribution rules than a medical-related flexible spending account.

The biggest takeaway regarding the flexible spending account is that funds contributed to the account are deducted from earnings and are not subject to income and payroll taxes. Any funds withdrawn from a flexible spending account used to pay for qualified medical expenses are not subject to tax. Money in an FSA account must be used by the end of the plan year, but the good news is that employers can offer a grace period of up to two and a half months.

With the pandemic, the IRS allowed employers to amend FSA plans for 2021 to raise carryover amounts or extend the grace period.

Why Spend Your FSA Funds Before the Deadline?

Overall, by spending your FSA funds before the deadline, you set yourself up to spend less on health care. There is a catch, though – you must spend all the money correctly before the year-end deadline. 

Take a look at what you need to know to make full use of your FSA:

  • Know your deadline: For most Americans, December 31st marks the end of their plan year for employer-sponsored benefits. All FSA participants are vulnerable to this deadline. Although depending on the company plan setup, employees may still have time to spend the money and file a claim for the previous year, granted, of course, they follow FSA deadlines.
  • Check your balance: There are a few ways to check your FSA and get other account information simply over the phone, online, and through the mobile app. Flex cards have a phone number on the back for customer service or account information. You can check the back of your FSA card for the website that directs you in checking your balance. Then through the mobile app, you can access account information from the convenience of your smartphone.
  • Buy items you generally overlook: Items like baby and child care, dental procedures, eye care, feminine hygiene products, stop smoking products, sunscreen, and pregnancy products could be what you potentially overlook. You can browse sites like the FSA Store, Health Products for You, Target and Amazon’s FSA store for everyday items covered by FSA.  

Is FSA Right for You?

Everyone needs to be aware that FSA doesn’t build up over time. You can potentially lose leftover funds at the end of the year if you don’t spend them. You could also lose your FSA if you change employers. 

FSA does not offer tax savings and budgeting for medical expenses. This should indicate that if you are not eligible for HSA, the FSA is a better option of the two for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q

Can you use an FSA for vitamins?

A

This is a common question from customers looking to find out if vitamins are FSA eligible. Unfortunately, vitamins do not qualify for FSA reimbursement. The driving force behind its ineligibility is multivitamins being primarily used to fill in nutritional gaps that an individual lacks in their diet. The IRS determines vitamin eligibility. 

Q

Are face masks FSA eligible?

A

According to the IRS, as of January 2020, face masks, hand sanitizer, and wipes became eligible for FSA reimbursement due to the coronavirus pandemic. Face masks also qualify to be paid or reimbursed under a Healthcare Flexible Spending Account, Health Reimbursement Arrangement or Health Savings Account.