Can I Use My Flex Dollars at an Eye Exam?

Do you have a flexible spending account? If you do, and you still have funds remaining for this year, don’t let them go to waste. 

Most flex dollars must be used by the end of December. With that time approaching, it’s time to take advantage of them now by putting them towards one of the most critical aspects of your health: your eyes. Keep reading to find out how you can use your flex dollars at an eye exam before they expire!

What Are Flex Dollars?

close up of piggy bank

Flex dollars are funds in a flexible spending account or FSA. You’ll receive an FSA as part of a benefits package through an employer. 

An FSA is a special kind of savings account you can use towards your healthcare costs. Not all employers offer flexible savings accounts as an option with their benefits packages.

A predetermined part of your earnings is added to your FSA each month. A flexible spending account is much more than a savings account: the dollars you put into your FSA are not taxed. 

The untaxed funds mean you can save money on your healthcare costs. Simply put, your dollar goes further, especially when you need to pay for things like prescriptions, co-pay, or even eye exams.

Unlike an HSA (or health savings account), your FSA is typically through an employer. Some employers match individual contributions or make preset contributions of their own. You control your own HSA, including your contributions. As a result, an HSA is portable from employer to employer, no matter where you work.

Do Flex Dollars Expire?

Flex dollars do not last forever. With most plans, they expire at the end of each year, on December 31, so it is a case of “use it or lose it.” (Although some employers do offer a grace period.) Individuals can then begin contributing again in January and building their accounts up once again. 

woman sitting next to christmas tree

FSAs differ from HSAs because your funds roll over each year with health savings accounts. When you have a flexible spending account, you have to be careful not to let any money go unused by the end of the year. 

These are hard-earned funds you have paid into and have every right to utilize towards your healthcare within a given year. The only caveat is you have to use them within the year.

Because flex spending dollars expire, it makes December a very popular month for individuals to take advantage of the flex dollars they have been accruing all year. Now is an excellent time to check in with your eye care needs and put those funds to good use. 

What Can I Spend Flex Dollars On?

FSA funds are meant to help offset out-of-pocket healthcare costs, including your eye care. One of the essential parts of eye care is getting regular eye exams. 

If it has been a while since you had one, it is a good idea to put your flex dollars towards an eye exam before the end of the year. If you can’t remember the last time you saw your eye doctor for an eye exam, there’s a good chance it’s been too long since your last one.

eye doctor putting eyeglasses on patient

An eye exam is the only way to ensure you see optimally. There are times when a routine exam detects a potential issue you may not have been aware of, especially with conditions like glaucoma. Such early detection is vital in the successful treatment and maintenance of healthy vision. 

Your flex dollars can be applied to any copayments or deductibles, lowering the costs of your eye exam. When you are ready to pay for your exam, you can redeem your flex dollars using a card issued by your provider. 

Alternatively, some plans require that you send them a receipt for reimbursement. Make sure you check on how to use your flex dollars before you schedule an eye exam or other eye care.

If you still have funds remaining after your eye exam, there are various ways you can put your dollars towards your eye care instead of wasting them. Flex dollars can go towards new glasses or contacts, whether you’ve had a change in your prescription or not. 

You can also use them towards other eye costs, including:

  • Contact cases
  • Cleaning solution
  • Prescription sunglasses
  • Reading glasses
  • Prescription eye drops

Choosing to use your FSA on your eye care needs will allow you to save money while also keeping your eyes healthy. It’s a win-win!

Planning Your Eye Care with an FSA

Some individuals even save their flex dollars throughout the year. Then, they use them to pay for a vision correction procedure like LASIK near the end of the year.

Laser eye surgery is a popular type of long-term vision correction. By choosing to get LASIK, you’ll improve your vision and no longer need to depend on glasses or contact lenses to see clearly. 

LASIK can seem like a substantial investment, given that many health insurance plans do not cover it. Although it’s popular, it is still an elective procedure, meaning you will need to pay out of pocket for it. 

woman holding bouquet of flowers

However, an FSA helps to offset the cost. LASIK also ends up paying for itself over time, in that its one-time expense is more affordable than a lifetime of spending money on glasses or contacts. 

If you know you want to undergo LASIK, you can save up money in your flexible spending account each month and schedule the procedure for the end of the year. This type of planning can save you even more money.

Uncertain whether a particular procedure or item would be eligible for payment using your FSA? Contact your provider for more information. It never hurts to find out in advance before you make any plans about your eyesight.

Don’t let your flex dollars go to waste if you want to schedule an eye exam or LASIK consultation. Contact Eye Associates of Tallahassee in Tallahassee, FL, to request an appointment today!

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