Here’s my annual reminder to use up your Healthcare Flexible Spending Accounts before the end of the year. Here are possible exceptions:
- Some plans allow a grace period until March 15th of the following year as opposed to a December 31st deadline to use your 2014 funds, but it may only apply to claims and not late purchases. Check with your employer.
- Alternatively, employers can allow participants to carry over up to $500 in unused FSA funds into next year. Check with your employer.
Need ideas? If you didn’t exhaust your funds with insurance copays or deductibles, check out these well-organized lists:
- Aetna Eligible Health Care Expenses.
- Conexis FSA + HRA Eligible Expenses (FSA administrator).
- Online drugstores Drugstore.com, CVS, and Walgreens all have special FSA-eligible sections.
As of January 1, 2011, items such as cough medicines, pain relievers, acid controllers, and diaper rash ointment now require a prescription and a manually-submitted claim for reimbursement. These FSA items are still available over-the-counter without a prescription:
- Eye care (contact lenses, solution, drops)
- First aid supplies (bandages, gauze, tape) for emergency kits
- Wheelchairs, walkers, & canes
- Family planning products (birth control, pregnancy tests)
- Home testing aids (blood pressure, diabetes, thermometers)
Finally, only your FSA administrator can provide you with the exact guidelines for reimbursement according to your plan. I learned this the hard way when our FSA administrator switched one year from in-house to Conexis. Wow, Conexis was a pain in the butt. So many hurdles and rejections without good explanations. I had to submit some claims three times before finally getting approved. If you count the time wasted, I probably lost money by participating in the FSA at all. The other employees in the company must have also complained so much that the very next year, FSA reimbursement was again managed in-house.