This crazy year of 2020 is slowly but surely drawing to a close. That means that approximately 35 million Americans who open Flexible Spending Accounts (commonly referred to as FSAs) have just a few months left to spend the money they put away pre-tax for healthcare expenses.
Flexible spending accounts (most plans allow a maximum of $2500 to be put away) are generally used for health-related expenses that are not paid for by your health insurance. FSA can be used to cover copays, prescription and over-the-counter medications, and medical equipment and supplies. It cannot be put toward insurance premiums.
How can you make sure your money doesn’t go to waste?
First thing’s first. Here are some obvious medical expenses that you can use your FSA for:
- If you have been postponing the visit to your OB/GYN for your annual checkup and labs, now is the time to do it. Any expenses that are not covered by your insurance will be covered by your FSA. Same goes for your primary care physician.
- Now is the time to ask your doctor for prescriptions for any medications you take on a continuous basis and to fill them up using your FSA for anything that is not covered.
- Check if your eye glasses or contact lenses prescription is current and get new glasses and/or contact lenses. Non-prescription reading glasses are covered as well!
Most people know about all the things mentioned above, but not everyone knows that there are literally hundreds of items you can purchase using your FSA dollars. Here are the 14 unexpected things that are covered:
1. Condoms, pregnancy tests and fertility kits
Let your FSA pay for your sexual health and family planning needs. Condoms, pregnancy tests, fertility kits and pregnancy monitors are all FSA-eligible purchases. With a prescription, you can also purchase female contraceptives such as birth control pills, patches and IUDs. Another reason to visit your Ob/Gyn!
2. Feminine products
Yes, we were shocked as well! Pads and tampons are all eligible!
3. Baby and Breastfeeding essentials
Breast pumps and breast pump accessories are covered under an FSA. This includes cleaning wipes, disposable nursing pads, reusable baby bottles, tote bags and breast milk coolers. Many moms are completely unaware of this! Tons of baby care essentials, including diaper creams, baby monitors; you name it! These are also eligible.
4. Staple medications
Over-the-counter medications do require a prescription to be FSA-eligible, but a simple visit to your doctor could allow you to stock up on pain relievers, allergy medicine, heartburn relief, antacids and other medicine cabinet staples. Check the FSA Store’s list of eligible OTC medications at https://fsastore.com/.
Sunscreen is definitely essential, and not just in the summer. It can be surprisingly expensive, especially if you like fancier brands. SPF lip balm and mineral sunscreen are also covered.
Your FSA funds will cover a whole range of different types of thermometers, including digital, in-ear, forehead, mouth and other designs.
7. Blood pressure monitors
Your FSA funds cover a variety of blood pressure monitors, including the types that are compatible with your Apple Watch and iPhone. A variety of other at-home medical devices can also be purchased with your FSA.
8. Shoe inserts and foot care
You can buy shoe inserts, as well as toe cushions and arch braces, with your FSA. Wart removers and other foot grooming treatments, such as callus trimmers, are also eligible FSA expenses. Foot massager? Yes, it is most likely covered too.
9. Sleep aids
Pills that help you get a good night’s sleep are only eligible with a prescription from your doctor, but you can purchase sleep masks, vaporizers, bed warmers, and other non-prescription sleep aids with your FSA funds.
10. Travel essentials
Sadly, you can’t pay for a vacation with your FSA money — but you can buy some travel essentials! Travel pillows, motion sickness bands and more are all eligible FSA expenses.
11. First-aid kit
Pretty much any first-aid kit is FSA-eligible. Many of them include travel-sized bottles of pain relievers, and you don’t need a prescription to buy a first-aid kit.
12. Heating and cooling pads
Heating and cooling pads can help with lower back pain and minor injuries. Many brands and types are available on the FSA Store online, but you can also just get it at your local drugstore.
Ok, so your facials and your beloved face masks are not eligible, but many skincare products, like SPF moisturizers and hand creams, are, as well as acne treatment and prevention products. You can even buy one of those light therapy devices for acne with your FSA funds!
14. Overnight underpants for kids
Is your 4- year- old still struggling with staying dry overnight? Supplies that make both kids’ and parents’ life easier are eligible!
We can of course go on and on, but the best way for you to make sure that your hard earned dollars don’t go to waste is to go to fsastore.com and see for yourself. Happy FSA shopping, everyone!