If you have a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), chances are, time is running out for you to use that cash. The good news is: The law allows employers to roll $500 over into the new year and also offer a grace period of up to two and a half months to use that cash (March 15th).
Head to the optometrist, get an eye prescription, then use your FSA funds to buy some new specs or shades.
You can also buy reading glasses with your FSA money, and you don’t even need a prescription.
Scientists are divided on the efficacy of acupuncture, but some studies show it’s useful for treating chronic pain, arthritis, and even depression. If you’re running low on standard over-the-counter meds, good news: Most of them are FSA-eligible.
There’s one big caveat, though: Most of these require a prescription in order to be eligible, so you may have to make an appointment with your doctor first. Yep—acne treatments, toner, and other skin care products are all eligible for FSA spending. While we’re on the topic of faces, lip balm is another great way to spend your FSA funds—and you don’t need a prescription for that.
If your medicine cabinet is getting bare, or you don’t have one to begin with, stock it with a handful of FSA-eligible items. If you have a vacation planned this year, use your FSA money to stock up on trip essentials. For those nights you’re sleeping off a cold or flu, a vaporizer can make a big difference, and those are eligible, too (no prescription required).
Your FSA funds likely cover more than you realize, so if you have to use them up by the deadline, get creative. Make the most of your leftover FSA money with acupuncture, LASIK surgery, dental care and more.
If an employer doesn't offer a grace period or an option to carry over unused funds, consider spending the money on qualifying medical expenses.
The end of the year is nearly upon us, and some consumers are feeling the pressure to use up the funds in their flexible spending accounts before they must forfeit the money. If you overestimated how much you would spend on medical costs in 2014, there's still time to make the most of your leftover FSA money. But neither of these are requirements, and your employer can only offer one of these perks a€“ the carry-over or the grace period. Check with your human resources department at work if youa€™re unsure of your FSA plana€™s specifics.
While over-the-counter medications used to be allowable expenses, thata€™s no longer the case. Unlike some other forms of alternative medicine, there is significant research backing the effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of many conditions. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine says acupuncture may be particularly valuable if you suffer from chronic pain, including migraines, arthritis and lower back pain.


Like acupuncture, chiropractic care has demonstrated positive effects in the treatment of a variety of pains. If you need corrective lenses, you may be eligible for laser eye surgery, commonly known as LASIK.
If your doctor determines ita€™s medically necessary for you to lose weight, you could use your FSA funds to pay for a weight-loss program. Meal replacement programs could cost a few hundred dollars a month, while more comprehensive hospital-managed weight loss programs typically come with higher price tags. Take what youa€™ve learned about your 2014 health costs and apply it to your FSA estimations for the coming year. Elizabeth Renter is a journalist who writes for NerdWallet Health, a website that helps people make smart health and financial decisions. Flexible Spending Accounts are tax-free ways to pay for out-of-pocket medical and health-related expenses, such as vision care.
An FSA allows an employee to set aside a portion of their earnings to pay for medical expenses.
Depending on your employer’s rules, if you don’t spend your FSA money by the end of the grace period, you potentially lose some of it.
You deposit pre-tax dollars into the account, and you can spend that money on a number of health care expenses. If you’ve been curious about the treatment, now's a good time to try it: Your FSA money will cover acupuncture sessions in some cases. This includes headache medicine, pain relievers, antacids, heartburn meds, and anything else your heart (or other parts of your body) desires. They’re FSA-eligible, along with a few other foot care products, including arch braces, toe cushions, and callus trimmers.
Again, most of these require a prescription for reimbursement, but don’t let that deter you. You don’t need a prescription to buy those, and many of them come with pain relievers and other medicine. This list should help you get started, and many drugstores will tell you which items are FSA-eligible when you shop online. But the amount you choose to set aside must be determined during open enrollment for the coming year. Prior to a 2012 IRS rule change, all FSA accounts required you to use up the funds by the end of the year or lose them entirely. Generally, most over-the-counter drugs must be accompanied by a prescription in order to be eligible. Research continues to determine its effectiveness in the treatment of conditions such as depression, addiction and side effects of cancer treatment. According to the American Chiropractic Association, it can increase range of motion, decrease muscle spasms, and reduce joint pain and the frequency of migraines.
This surgery changes the shape of your cornea and ideally allows you to see without eyeglasses or contact lenses.


Consumer Reports estimates LASIK surgery costs $1,657 per eye, though some consumers report paying less than $499 or more than $4,000. Your physician will need to provide a letter of medical necessity for the costs to be covered.
The University of California San Francisco Medical Center, for example, charges a $1,250 fee to start its yearlong Step-By-Step Program, plus $500 for the first three months and $250 every three months thereafter. Covered treatments usually include crowns, implants, sealants and general dental maintenance. These accounts are a smart way to save for medical costs and reduce your tax burden, but youa€™ll want to avoid using your extra funds on treatments or procedures you wouldna€™t normally get. Money deducted from your pay into a FSA is not subject to payroll taxes, so you can realize substantial tax savings.
You don’t have to wait until the end of the year to take advantage of your vision care services.
It’s kind of like a Health Savings Account (HSA), but with a few big differences—namely, your HSA funds roll over from year to year, so there’s no deadline to spend it all. The deadline is fast approaching for many account holders, so if you have to use your FSA money soon, here are a handful of creative ways to spend it. Your doctor is familiar with the rules and you shouldn’t have trouble getting a prescription. So even if you project your expenses based on this yeara€™s, determining just how much to contribute to your FSA involves a certain amount of guesswork. But the rule change means that employers can let workers carry up to $500 into the next year.
The IRS determines that, and the definition has been considerably restricted over the past several years. Acupuncture costs vary widely, but could help you use between $60 and $120 of your FSA funds per session. A single chiropractic treatment, adjusting one or two spinal regions, will normally cost less than $100, but chiropractic clinics often encourage new patients to come in several times. Because it's usually considered an elective procedure, health insurance plans dona€™t typically cover LASIK, leaving some consumers with a hefty medical bill if they opt for the surgery.
Dental fees vary widely, though you can generally get a comprehensive oral exam for less than $100, a resin-based filling for around $150 and a porcelain crown for nearly $1,000. It also allows employers to offer a grace period of up to two-and-a-half months to use remaining FSA funds. Check the rules of your FSA plan to see if you need a separate prescription for each item, or if you can include multiple products or drug categories on a single prescription.



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