FSA – What You Need to Consider to Maximize Your Savings

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As the year draws to a close, our scheduling department at Utah Valley Eye, a leading Provo LASIK surgery center, gets predictably busier since many people are wanting to use the last funds in their Flexible Spending Account (FSA). Rather than rolling over unused funds each year, like a Health Savings Account (HSA), all funds in FSAs need to be used annually. Not doing so results in the forfeiture of the pretax funds not used by year end.

Some employers offer the benefit of being able to roll over $500 of unused FSA funds, giving employees some additional time to use their FSA. The deadline, if your employer offers it, is March 15th. It is important to note that this is not automatic, so employees should carefully read their plan documentation or inquire of their plan administrator. About 50 percent of employers offer this plan, according to some studies.

How to determine your FSA contribution

With the risk of putting too much aside and potentially losing it, many people struggle to determine how much they should contribute to their FSA. It can sometimes feel like predicting how healthy your family will be in the coming year.

For 2020, the limit for annual FSA contributions is $2,750, up from the 2019 limit of $2,700.

Look at past years’ spending

Many experts recommend tracking your budget and all expenses that are eligible for FSA that you’ve spent the year before. First, this helps you determine what you are spending each year. Second, by doing so, you can look for recurring expenses – prescriptions, deductibles, co-pays for check-ups, eye care, dental bills, etc. At minimum, you want to contribute enough to cover these expenses. In a way, this can be a motivating factor to keep these appointments since they are already paid for with pretax funds.

What about elective procedures?

There are strict rules as to which medical expenses are eligible for FSA that are determined by the IRS. If you are in doubt, it’s best to ask. You can get an idea of most of the eligible expenses by clicking the link below. While not a complete list, it is one of the most comprehensive available that we’ve found. It is worth pointing out that some of these qualified expenses require a physician’s prescription to be eligible.

https://www.uhc.com/content/dam/uhcdotcom/en/NationalAccounts/ConsultantEnrollmentResources/FSA%20Eligible%20Expense%20Consumer%20Flier.pdf

At Utah Valley Eye, we regularly see people using their FSA for LASIK in Provo. If you have any questions on whether you’re FSA will cover any of you planned health care expenses, please check with your plan administrator or plan documentation.

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