Don’t Lose Money: Use Your Flexible Spending Account To Pay For Reading Glasses & More

We’re nearing the end of the year and I’m sure a lot of us are in the same boat, assessing what we need to do to maximize our finances before we close out 2017 and ring in 2018.

That may mean using the money in your Flexible Spending Account or else risk losing it come the end of December. If your FSA plan has a grace period, you may have until March 15 of the upcoming year to make purchases using your 2017 Flexible Spending Account funds. Also, some employers let you carry a portion of your FSA into the next year. However, the grace period and the carryover of money are optional, so be sure you ask your employer about them.

You can use FSA dollars to buy reading glasses and other eyewear.

If you used a Flexible Spending Account in 2017, then you may have socked away up to $2,600 to be used for health-related expenses. In 2018, Flexible Spending Account limits will rise to $2,650.

Before the end of the year, take the time to see what health-related FSA items you need that may be covered by your current account funds.

If you’re in need of a few health-related items, now’s the time to shop and take advantage of some of the holiday sales as well as pick up essentials like reading glasses and have them paid for through your Flexible Spending Account.

Some companies are offering big sales on products that will help you use your FSA funds and save at the same time. ThinOPTICS reading glasses are guaranteed for life and they’re covered by your Flexible Spending Account so you can rest easy, knowing you’ll be reimbursed by your FSA and they’ll last a lifetime. See the full catalog of ThinOPTICS products here.

What other products and services are covered by your Flexible Spending Account?

Over-the-counter reading glasses or any prescription eyeglasses with or without lenses. You can even get prescription sunglasses, but don’t try to pass off your designer sunglasses as an FSA expense. Only sunglasses that are considered a medical necessity and prescribed by a physician qualify. If you wear contact lenses, those will be covered as will the cleaning solution and storage cases.

There are more benefits of Flexible Spending Accounts. Here are several ways you can use your funds this year to pay for health-related doctor visits, medicines, and more.

Health exams: Before you order a pair of reading glasses you may want to get your vision checked. You could also get a full dental checkup and an overall wellness exam to ensure that you wind down the year in good health. These exams are often covered by your FSA.

Alternative health care: Need to see a chiropractor or acupuncturist? Those types of visits may also be covered. You can also use your Flexible Spending Account.

Gym dues or fitness equipment: If a licensed healthcare professional has diagnosed you with a medical condition that requires specific exercise equipment or a particular program for treatment, both would likely be covered by your FSA. This might mean that your health club dues could be paid for by your FSA funds (if it’s part of a prescribed treatment for a medical condition).

Shots: This time of year, a lot of us decide to get a flu shot. It’s covered, as well as other immunizations, by your Flexible Spending Account.

Prescriptions: Take inventory of your medicine. Throw out prescriptions that have expired and use your FSA funds to replace the maintenance medication you need. Just note that paying for over-the-counter medicine may qualify under your Flexible Spending Account but, ever since 2011, it became a bit more difficult to do this. A health care reform law made it a requirement that you get a doctor’s prescription for over-the-counter treatments. So, get that before you file the expense as an FSA claim.

Mileage: You can get reimbursed for transportation such as mileage for travel or even car expenses that are necessary to get you to your medical care. Check with your benefits manager about how this is calculated. Tax code rules on medical reimbursement apply to your Flexible Spending Account. However, since your FSA money is not taxed, you’ll want to make sure that you’re not “double dipping” by also counting your travel costs as itemized medical deductions on Schedule A of your tax returns.

Air conditioner or air purifier: Looking ahead to the high allergy season? Installing an air conditioner or an air purifier may be covered by your Flexible Spending Account if it’s necessary for allergy or asthma relief; you’ll need a doctor’s letter to submit this claim.

In some cases, you’ll need a letter, receipt, or a prescription to get your visit, medicine, or health-related products covered by your Flexible Spending Account; so be sure to keep good records and check with your benefits manager to make sure your expenses are covered by your Flexible Spending Account. To see more items that are eligible to use FSA funds, click here.

Written By

Phoebe Chongchua

Phoebe Chongchua is a brand journalist, consultant, and podcaster. She writes on lifestyle, healthy living, and brand marketing. Phoebe started wearing reading glasses after...