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Creative Ways to Spend Your FSA Money

healthcare costsFSAFlexible Savings AccountHealth & Wellness • 2 min read • Oct 5, 2016 12:00:00 AM • Written by: Kat Smith

Flexible Savings Accounts (FSAs) are a great way to curb the impact of healthcare expenses while saving money in a tax-free account. However, having an FSA may put you at a loss if you don’t spend your funds within a given year. With the December 31 deadline for FSA spending approaching, you should start thinking about emptying your account beforehand. You can talk to your employer about cashing out at the end of the year with funds up to $500 or extending your deadline, but you cannot take both of these actions at once, and the selection is up to your employer’s individual policies. You do have to spend the money on medical expenses, but there are some you may not have previously thought of as being eligible for FSA spending.

Fund your efforts to quit smoking

Though you may be well-aware of the health risks that smoking can present, you might not have had success with your past efforts to quit. You can use some of your FSA money to find a more comprehensive program to support smoking cessation, which may include medication, therapy, or nicotine replacement.

Get your eyes checked

You can use your FSA to pay for eyeglasses, contact lenses, and laser eye surgery as well as eye exams themselves. Therefore, it might be the perfect time to schedule an appointment with an ophthalmologist to check your vision as well as look for any early signs of cataracts, glaucoma, and other serious conditions. Hearing and dental care are also under the umbrella of FSA healthcare expenses, so you might consider making appointments with these specialists as well.

Stock up on first-aid supplies

Because healthcare takes a largely preventive approach, FSAs allow for spending on at-home supplies for wellness. These include first aid kits, test and monitoring kits (including diabetes test strips), sunscreen, condoms and contraceptives, ambulatory aids, contact solution and much more. That means you can likely find some useful items to spend those last few dollars on, even if you are on a tight schedule that doesn’t allow for extra visits to the doctor.

Explore the benefits of acupuncture

A few alternative medicine treatments can be explored through your FSA cash. Acupuncture and chiropractic care are two examples, and each of these therapies can have a wide range of benefits for your health and wellness. Acupuncture is useful for pain management, reduction of pregnancy symptoms like morning sickness, and even treatment of insomnia. Chiropractic care can have a broad spectrum of effects as well, since it focuses on the body as a whole rather than a symptom by symptom approach.

Another FSA-eligible expense you might want to remember as the holidays approach and your schedule gets busy are online doctor’s visits. When you don’t have time to see your primary physician, but require immediate care, MeMD is available 24/7 so you can feel better faster.

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Kat Smith