FSA-eligible items you should buy—now.
A Flexible Spending Account (FSA) is a nice benefit to have if you're on an employer-based healthcare plan. It lets you set aside money from your paycheck to pay for certain medical and dental expenses.
How does FSA work? Since you don’t pay taxes on these funds, you save that amount of would-be tax money, and can apply it toward your healthcare expenses instead. These can include bills, co-pays, prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, and more.
Ah, but there’s a catch! You can’t save or hoard your FSA funds; they don’t roll over from year to year. You need to spend your accumulated FSA bucks before the end of the year, or they’ll be gone by next year. In other words, use ‘em or lose ‘em!
In fact, workers lose an estimated $400 million in unspent FSA funds each year.1
So what do you do? December 31st is just around the corner, and if you haven’t had enough healthcare expenses to clean out your FSA balance, are you out of luck?
Not quite. It turns out that there are a number of healthcare-related products and equipment, including devices, services, test kits, and more, that you can purchase with your about-to-expire FSA money.
How to find out what qualifies for FSA funds
According to Forbes magazine, you should consult the FSAFEDS database, run by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, to find which healthcare-related items are FSA-compliant—and which are not.2
This database is easy to use. Just type the name of the item whose eligibility you want to determine, and you’ll get an answer fast. The site also displays a list of FSA-eligible items on the site, which you can peruse to see what’s eligible.
You can also search through (and purchase) FSA-eligible items at Amazon, as well as at the FSA Store. What’s more, retailers such as Target, Costco, CVS, Rite-Aid, Walgreens and Wal-Mart all have their own FSA stores.
FSA funds are often provided on cards, which you can use to pay at brick-and-mortar retailers. Swipe your card, and your funds will be deducted from your account, just like a debit card. All FSA-eligible items will go through at checkout.
FSA-eligible items you may not know about
Jessica Roy of the L.A. Times notes that many people don’t realize that products like these are FSA-eligible items:3
• COVID supplies, including masks, testing kits, thermometers, sanitizing wipes, hand sanitizer, and more
• First aid kits, one for your home, the other for your car (replenishing these kits is also FSA-eligible if you’ve used any supplies recently)
• Prescription glasses, contact lenses, and eye care
• Menstrual supplies, including pads, tampons, absorbent underwear, and other period products
• Family planning items, including condoms and emergency contraception
• Over-the-counter monitoring items, including blood pressure monitors and many diabetes-related items
• Baby, pregnancy, and postpartum supplies, including breast pumps
• Sunscreen and skin care items
• Mobility aids, including canes, walkers, and wheelchairs
• Home drug tests and “quit smoking” kits
Some creative ideas for FSA spending
Here’s where you can think “out-of-the-box” about what to do with your FSA money:
• Order that pricey pair of designer eyeglass frames, and add the extra features you want, including blue light filtering, progressive lenses, tinting, and more.
• If you’re a contact lens wearer, stock up on contact solution and lens wetting products.
• Purchase and donate menstrual supplies to organizations that provide them to people in need.
• Schedule that eligible medical procedure, which can include lasik eye surgery, weight loss programs, smoking cessation, and more. Remember that you’ll need your doctor to diagnose that you have a need for a procedure or program.
• Get a massage, acupuncture, or chiropractic care; again, with your doctor’s consent. You can also get a massager to use at home.
• If you have a child who needs orthodontic work, get it done. Putting off that root canal? Get it done.
• Just had a baby? Spring for a fancy video monitoring system.
• Stock up on pain relievers, certain vitamins and supplements, bandages with cute designs, and more, for when you’re not feeling that great in the future.
• If you have allergies to pollen, dust, and more, get an air purifier with a HEPA filter.
• Curious about your ancestry and what effects it has on your health today? Get a home DNA testing kit.
• Need to lose weight and want to ramp up the exercise in your life? Get a fitness tracker, which can monitor your heart rate, breathing, sleep patterns, and more.
Finally, when your eyes get tired from all the online shopping you’re going to do while spending your FSA funds, order some Rohto® Digi Eye® eye drops. Yes, they’re FSA-eligible, and they soothe your eyes from symptoms of digital eye strain, including redness and irritation.
Just having that little pink bottle around will be a handy reminder to use those FSA funds while you can!