How to Get the Most from Your FSA or HSA
Many employers offer benefits that go beyond health insurance. That may include the option of opening a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or a Health Savings Account (HSA). It’s important to understand how FSAs and HSAs work so you can decide whether or not to opt-in or maximize your existing benefits. Here's some important information to make sure you get the most from your FSA/HSA in 2018 and beyond.
Flexible Spending Account (FSA)
Flexible Spending Accounts may also be referred to as flexible spending arrangements. The benefit of an FSA is that the money is removed from your paycheck before income taxes are applied. You can choose the amount you contribute per paycheck and some employers will choose to contribute additional funds to your account.
The funds can be used for medical expenses, including vision care. Payment methods vary as some employers offer a debit card and others require receipts for reimbursement. You may have seen advertisements recently reminding you to use your FSA funds before time runs out. That’s because the funds in many flexible spending accounts expire at the end of the year.
However, rules vary among employers. Some FSA balances expire at the end of the year, some will roll over up to $500, and others offer up to a 2.5 month grace period, after which the funds expire fully. If you have questions about the terms of your FSA, reach out to your employer so that you maximize your account.
Health Savings Account (HSA)
Health Savings Accounts are a good way to reduce your taxable income and do not expire like an FSA. However, there are different requirements to qualify for an HSA. For instance, you need to be enrolled in a high-deductible health insurance plan, which means a minimum deductible of $1,300 for an individual and $2,600 for a family, as well as a $6,500 out-of-pocket-maximum for an individual and $13,100 for a family (as of 2017).
Assuming you qualify for an HSA, you can also determine the amount you contribute to the account, although there is a 2017 limit of $3,400 for individuals and $6,750 for a family. One benefit of an HSA account is that it doesn’t expire - the funds roll over year to year. In order to spend your HSA funds, you’ll receive a debit card or checks that can be used for qualifying medical expenses.
How to use FSA or HSA dollars to buy glasses & contacts on Eyeconic
FSA and HSA dollars must be spent on specific, health-related purchases. With regards to vision care, most products on Eyeconic fall into that category. Contact lenses, prescription glasses, and prescription sunglasses are all considered medical devices and can be purchased using FSA or HSA funds whether or not you have health insurance. Unfortunately, non-prescription glasses and non-prescription sunglasses are not considered medical devices and cannot be purchased with FSA or HSA funds.
As mentioned before, while HSA funds don't expire, every FSA plan is different so you should ensure that you have available funds for the correct calendar year before completing your purchase. Your employer determines the terms of your plan, so contact your HR department if you have questions.
Once you know you have funds available, you can check-out on Eyeconic using your FSA or HSA card just like any regular credit card. There is no need to indicate that you are using a FSA or HSA. If you make a return, it’ll be processed as a credit back to your account.
Still have questions? Visit our FSA/HSA page for more information.