Don't Leave Money on the Table Use Your Flexible Spending Account

If you have a flexible spending account (FSA), don’t let that money go to waste. Apply it to your next eye care purchases. But time is ticking; you only have until the end of the year to literally use it or lose it.

What is an FSA?
This is an employer-sponsored contribution health plan. You can put aside money from your paycheck (before taxes) that you can use for certain health care expenses. You may deposit up to a certain amount of money per year; this figure is determined by an agreement made between you and your employer. The maximum contribution for 2016 is $2,550, but you need to use this money before the end of the year. Some plans offer a grace period in which you may carry over unused FSA dollars into the first part of the next year, but the best place for that money is to use it as it was intended.

Vision Care Purchases
Your FSA spending account can be used to buy prescription eyewear. This money is also not tied to any vision care insurance you may or may not have, so you may use your FSA independently of any insurance restrictions or requirements.  This spending account is money that you chose to set aside for health care expenses and the only rule you are faced with is spending it before the program’s annual deadline, which is December 31.

The money in your FSA can be used to support eye care and includes the purchase of prescription eye-wear, progressives, frames, and even reading glasses.

If you already have corrective eyeglasses, consider spending your FSA money on a second pair or treat yourself to a new look. Update your eyewear with trendy new frames or go for a style that you may have been thinking about but needed an ‘excuse’ to try.

And don’t forget that prescription sunglasses can be purchased with this money as well. Sunglasses are vital to protecting your eyes from UV rays that can compromise your eye health. Over time this exposure can contribute to cataract formation or damage the retina which can lead to macular degeneration.

If you wear contacts, the lenses and cleaning solution are usually allowable expenses with a FSA account. Since daily wear and extended-wear contact lenses have a shelf life of up to four years, some people buy a supply to last for the upcoming year. This is an excellent way to use this money and you may also get bulk discounts for purchasing a larger quantity. If you are concerned that your prescription may change during the year, don’t worry, most optical providers will let you return unopened contact lenses.

Or maybe you would like to spend your FSA money on computer glasses? These are a must-have for anyone who spends a lot to time sitting in front of a computer monitor. These glasses are specifically designed to improve your vision by reducing the glare from the monitor, increasing the contrast of the lighting, and maximizing what you see through your lenses. Ask your eyecare professional if they are right for you.

But let’s not forget the one very important way to use these FSA dollars: get a vision exam. This account can be used to offset deductibles and co-pays if you already have vision insurance.  Or it can help fund a vision exam all by itself.

Make the most of your FSA spending account. Don’t leave this money on the table; invest it in your eye health.

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