Can You Use Flex Dollars at an Eye Exam?

Do you have a flexible spending account, also known as FSA? Many people have an FSA through their employer but may not know exactly how they work or what they can be used for. 

An FSA is a special type of savings account that you can use to pay for qualifying out-of-pocket healthcare expenses. That includes eye care!

The best part is you can save money because you do not have to pay taxes on the funds in your FSA. Keep reading to find out how you can put your flex dollars towards your eye care, including at an eye exam!

How Does an FSA Work?

A lot of people know that they have an FSA through their work, but they aren’t certain how to take advantage of its benefits or even what those benefits are. 

Here’s how a flexible spending account works. You set money aside into the account on a schedule of your choosing. Many people choose to contribute monthly. 

Some employers also contribute to an employee’s account or match their contributions. Accounts cap out at $2,850 per year per employer. 

When it’s time to cover an out-of-pocket medical expense, your FSA will reimburse you as long as it’s a qualifying expense. Your flex dollars can pay copayments, deductibles, medications, and more. 

Because this money is not taxed, a dollar saved is a dollar you can use towards your healthcare. This means that your hard-earned money goes further than if you were to just set the money aside in a standard savings account. 

Do Flex Dollars Expire?

When it comes to flex dollars, you’ll want to ensure that you use them before you lose them. Flex dollars expire at the end of the year.

This means that the balance on your FSA will return to zero at the start of January, whether you have money remaining or not. Some employers do offer a grace period of a couple of additional months. 

They may also allow funds to roll over up to a specific limit. However, this is not always the case, so it’s a good idea to use up the money in your FSA rather than risk losing it. 

Now that we’re entering the last few months of the year, it’s the ideal time to plan out how you will spend the money in your FSA. If you aren’t already aware of your balance, find that out first so you know exactly how much you have to spend before the end of the year. 

With something as important as money, you don’t want to wait until the last minute to figure out how you will use it or be worried about losing it. Make a plan for your flex dollars now! 

How Does an FSA Differ From an HSA?

Another type of similar account that is often confused with an FSA is a health savings account or HSA. An HSA is also an account that allows you to apply untaxed dollars to out-of-pocket healthcare expenses. 

However, there are a few important distinctions. The most significant difference is that an FSA is owned by your employer, while an HSA is an account you own. 

You can set up an HSA independently without having to go through an employer. This means that the funds in an HSA follow you, even if you change jobs. 

An FSA is not portable in this way. Unlike an FSA, the funds in an HSA do roll over. 

Any funds that you have remaining at the end of the year will simply roll over into the next. This is why it is crucial to understand your account type. 

If you think you have an HSA, but you really have an FSA, you might not be prepared for your flex dollars to expire at the end of the year. 

How Can You Put Your Flex Dollars Toward Your Eye Care?

Fortunately, you can use your Flex dollars for eye exams! Everyone should get regular eye exams. 

You may need them even more frequently if your prescription changes or you have an eye condition. Instead of having to pay out of pocket, your FSA allows you to save money on your eye exam. 

Healthcare expenses include those that go towards the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of a disease, which is precisely the function of an eye exam. Even if there haven’t been any changes to your vision, the exam is still considered an important measure to prevent the development of eye diseases. 

In addition to an exam, you can also put your flex dollars towards your vision in other ways. These include glasses, contacts, contact solution, prescription sunglasses, reading glasses, and more. 

Not every healthcare expense qualifies for reimbursement through your FSA. To find out whether a specific expense is eligible, contact your provider directly. 

Do you want to save money while you maintain your healthy vision by using your flex dollars? Schedule an eye exam at Eye Associates of Tallahassee in Tallahassee, FL, today!

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