The Best Way to Avoid Losing FSA Money
It's the end of the year and I have so many FSA funds left to spend! What do I do? Fear not, HSA Depot has your back! In this post we will talk about what to do with that money before it disappears and some tips on how to avoid losing it in the future!
It’s the end of the year, and you know what that means? You probably forgot to spend your FSA funds and you have just realized that if you don’t use that $2400 you stored away, then you are going to lose it. You are panicking because, really, what do you even use your FSA money on? I don’t have any doctor visits or eye appointments planned in the next two weeks!
Well, my friend, you have come to the right place. Today I’ll share a little bit about FSAs and how you can use yours in the best way possible. We’ll cover some interesting facts about the money involved, what some of the benefits are, and of course what you can spend it on.
USE IT OR LOSE IT
What is an FSA? FSA stands for Flex Spending Account or Flex Spending Arrangement, and it is sponsored by your employer. The benefits are very similar to an HSA in that you get to set aside pre-tax money for qualified healthcare expenses and lower your taxable income. In other words, like an HSA, you get to put money into an account reserved for medical costs, and you aren’t required to pay taxes on the contributions you make. (Learn more about the “triple tax advantage” of HSAs and FSAs here!) Unlike an HSA though, an FSA comes with the stipulation that you must spend all the money you set aside before the end of the year or else it will be forfeited. It is a use it or lose it deal.
How much money is forfeited each year? It is difficult to get an exact number on just how much money is lost because there is little research or studies being done to track it. However, it is estimated that anywhere around $400-500 million a year is forfeited by account holders. That’s money that could have helped them pay for needed medical expenses and be the hero of their financial story. The good news is, though: this doesn’t have to be you!
There are two options your employer can offer that may affect your spending deadline. Option one allows a specific dollar amount to be carried over into next year’s account, and option two includes a “grace period” of 2.5 months that allows employees a little extra time to spend their money. Neither of these options are required though, so make sure to check with your HR department to know exactly if your FSA includes these benefits. If not, you might consider making a stop at our store or website because we’ve got hundreds of products that are FSA and HSA approved and you can spend all that money before it disappears!
WHERE DOES MY MONEY GO WHEN IT IS FORFIETED?
What happens if you don’t end up spending it all? The simple answer is this: it will default back to your employer. There aren’t many regulations as far as what happens with the forfeiture due to the fact that neither the IRS nor the labor department keep track of where it goes, so as long as the money is not being returned to the individual employees based on the amount forfeited (that would violate the “use it or lose it” rule), any of these options could occur:
♦ Your employer can pool all forfeited money together and distribute it evenly among workers who contributed to their FSAs
♦ Your employer can put the money toward the following year’s benefits (sometimes employers will “match” a certain amount of FSA contributions)
♦ There also are no restrictions preventing them from simply pocketing the money
Knowing this, forfeiture seems like the worst-case scenario, but remember that you are lowering your taxable income and saving money. Due to these tax perks and depending on your tax bracket, even if you forfeit some of your FSA funds, you may still end up ahead in the end.
WHAT CAN I SPEND MY FSA MONEY ON?
This is the big question, now isn’t it? The whole point of this post is to help you know what to do with all that money you still have. The exciting news is that there are over 100,000 products that have been approved for the use of HSA and FSA funds, and the list continues to grow.
It wouldn’t be practical to list them all here specifically, but as a general rule anything that “meaningfully promotes the proper function of the body or prevents or treats an illness or disease” is usually on the eligibility list. Things that generally maintain good health aren’t typically eligible, but rather they must prevent or treat a specific medical condition. That may seem a little vague, so let me offer you a simplification:
Here at HSA Depot, we are committed to helping you take control of your finances and take CARE of your family with 100% of our inventory being FSA and HSA eligible. That means that you can confidently shop on our website or in-store and know that everything you see is something you can use your FSA funds on. So why not take a moment to see what products could enrich your life! (www.hsa-depot.com)
Here are a few interesting ones to check out:
And we are constantly adding new inventory, so keep checking in to see what else you could save on!
The best way to avoid losing your FSA money is to spend it here at HSA Depot on the best quality medical supplies!
WE’VE GOT YOUR BACK
Yes, it’s the end of the year, and yes, you have a bunch of FSA money you need to spend, but don’t let the stress get to you. Take and deep breath and remember that you’ve got this! We are here for you, so reach out to us with your questions and we’ll happily help you in any way we can!
Did you know you can shop for Christmas presents at HSA Depot?
What medical products could help members of your family? Let us know in the comments below!
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