It’s December – do you know what your Flex Spending Account balance is?

Date Posted : December 06, 2018

Welcome to December, where the weather is cold and the hot cocoa is warm. Clarendon Vision wants to remind you to check your Flexible Spending Account balance and see if you need to use up funds before the end of 2018.

Healthcare.gov defines Flexible Spending Accounts as:

An arrangement through your employer that lets you pay for many out-of-pocket medical expenses with tax-free dollars. Allowed expenses include insurance copayments and deductibles, qualified prescription drugs, insulin, and medical devices.

You decide how much to put in an FSA, up to a limit set by your employer. You aren’t taxed on this money.

If money is left at the end of the year, the employer can offer one of two options (not both):

  • You get 2.5 more months to spend the left over money.
  • You can carry over up to $500 to spend the next plan year.

Flexible Spending Accounts are sometimes called Flexible Spending Arrangements.

Remember, FSA accounts typically reset each calendar year in a use-it-or-lose-it model. Some employers may have some allowances for a grace period or a small amount of funds to carry over from year to year, but it varies by employer and employers are not required to offer either option. This means that if you have dollars in your FSA for 2018, you need to use them by December 31, 2018 or that money will go away.  Expenses that are allowed to be charged to a Flexible Spending Account are listed in the IRS publication number 502, linked here.  Eyeglasses, contact lenses, and eye exams are all allowable expenses per IRS publication 502. Make an appointment with Clarendon Vision today to put those 2018 FSA funds to use!

Your Health Spending Account dollars can roll over from year to year. Health Savings Accounts are different than Flexible Spending Accounts, and yes the wording is confusing! HSAs are generally used for high-deductible insurance plans as a way to put aside pre-tax dollars for those health care expenses that will need to be paid for out-of-pocket until the deductible is met. Here is a good definition from healthcare.gov on HSAs. While HSAs typically roll over from year to year, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your HSA balances to be sure you and your family are using the funds sensibly and not over or under funding the Health Savings Account. If you have specific questions about your HSA, talk to a certified public accountant or tax advisor.

One final insurance-related reminder for 2018, the annual enrollment period for healthcare.gov goes until December 15. If you or a member of your family needs insurance coverage, be sure to check out plans and fill out your paperwork by December 15th! At Clarendon Vision we know all people are better able to make good health care choices when they have adequate insurance coverage. We want the best for you and your family, particularly during this busy holiday season.