If you set up a flexible spending account with your employer in 2009, now is the time to review whether you have spent the money that you set aside. A flexible spending account (FSA) is an employer-sponsored benefit that you set up at the beginning of each year for spending on health care needs using pre-tax dollars.
Useful for some, flexible spending accounts may be moot for people who spent 2009 unemployed and for those who did not have extra dollars to divert to an FSA. FSAs are not available to those on Medicare.
FSAs allow you to purchase items that can be extremely costly when paid for out-of-pocket:
- Continence and toileting supplies, including adult diapers
- Fees for hospital services, long-term care services, accident and health, and qualified long-term care insurance premiums, nursing services, laboratory fees, prescription medicines, and insulin
- Medical equipment (walkers, shower curtains, wheelchairs, etc.)
- Gloves, first aid supplies, bandages, etc.
If you are still running short on spending your FSA allowance, consider adding these items:
- Hand sanitizer. Because of the H1N1 (swine flu) virus, this is now an allowable expense.
- Cold and flu medication
- Contact lenses, eyeglasses, hearing aid batteries.
Keep in mind that these benefits usually do not roll over. In some instances, an employer will allow you to carry your benefits forward, but you should check with your employer as soon as possible.
Have people found having that an FSA helps them manage their health care expenses?