FSA ‘use-or-lose’ clock ticking away

Spending as a means of saving? Sounds counterintuitive, except when it comes to flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and the veritable run on qualified health expenses before year's end.

Around for nearly three decades, the tax-advantaged FSA health program allows people to sock away up to $2,600 yearly ($2,650 in 2018) to pay out-of-pocket expenses or other health care-related costs, such as glasses or contact lenses. By design, FSA money can only be used within the plan year, otherwise that unused money is forfeited back to employers.

However, not everyone is so quick to spend those unused dollars. In fact, the average FSA account holder forfeits $50 to $100, per reports. Although some FSA plans offer a rollover option or a grace period that prolongs the inevitable forfeiture of funds, many FSA holders will be looking to make the most of their savings before 2019-and eye care remains a popular option.

Many use FSAs to pay for comprehensive eye examinations, or purchase contact lenses or glasses, while the FSA's time element alone provides a tangible reminder to seek routine eye and vision care. So, too, FSAs tend to be utilized for care that may not be fully covered by the patient's regular health insurance.

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 for more information about FSAs. 

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