Flexible Spending & You
Did you know that your Flexible Spending Account (FSA) can likely be used towards the purchase of your new eyeglasses or contact lenses? With FSA qualified expenses, you can use pre-tax dollars that you’ve set aside from your paycheck via your employer to buy vision insurance, pay eye exam co-payments or deductibles, and/or purchase approved eyecare products. FSA allowable expenses often include eye exams, prescription eyeglasses, sunglasses or contact lenses. Because you’re spending pre-tax dollars, FSA qualified expenses add up to big savings—you can save an average of 30% on vision-related expenses.
The basics of a Flexible Spending Account for eyeglasses
An FSA for glasses and other eye health or healthcare needs is easy to use. Start your FSA by signing up at work. For eye exams and other eye care needs, a set amount from each paycheck is deposited into your FSA. The funds can be used to pay for eyeglasses, eye exams and eye care needs not covered by your insurance. For Flexible Spending Account covered items, including eye care, check with your employer for the yearly allowable amount you can set aside.
With FSA for glasses, your dollar is stretched
Money for your Flexible Spending Account for eyeglasses and other health care is not taxed so you have more money to spend, or save, during the year.
Flexible Spending Account Covered Items
- Prescription eyeglasses, including readers and progressive glasses
- Sunglasses – prescription and non-prescription glasses if medically prescribed by a doctor
- Contact lenses, as well as contact cleaning solutions and storage accessories
- Eye exams
Use your FSA money or lose it, in most cases
A Flexible Spending Account typically runs from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31. Some FSAs for approved items allow a grace period, where you can pay for your FSA allowable expenses through March 15. Check with your particular FSA for the specific rules. Typically, you must pay for FSA allowable expenses with FSA funds during the year, or lose the money. Some FSA plans may allow you to roll over $500, but not more than that from one year to the next. For FSA allowable expenses and how long you can use the funds, ask your employer about the specifics of your company's plan.
Ways of paying for FSA approved items
Use your Flexible Spending Account for eyeglasses and other health care in two different ways. Many Flexible Spending Accounts for covered items issue FSA debit cards that you can use like any debit or credit card. Other FSAs for allowable expenses require that you pay for Flexible Spending Account covered items, and then be reimbursed by your FSA provider. Most FSA providers require that you submit a form along with an itemized receipt for the FSA qualified expenses such as eye exams, glasses and contacts.
* Contact your insurance provider or plan administrator for your Flex Spending Account Plan details and instructions.