Year-end tips for your flexible spending account
Ways to spend the money you saved for health care.
Kansas City Star
As the year winds down, do you have money remaining in your flexible spending account (FSA) for health care? Or have you spent more than you put into the account?
If so, you have company. Only 16 percent of flexible-spending-account users contribute the right amount, according to the “2012 Aflac WorkForces Report” released last month.
If you overestimated your health-care spending and still have pretax FSA funds remaining, here are some tips from Audrey Boone Tillman, executive vice president of corporate services at Aflac:
— Schedule an annual checkup with your primary-care physician, optometrist, dentist, dermatologist, gynecologist or other health-care provider.
— Buy another pair of eyeglasses, prescription sunglasses, contact lenses or other eligible medical aids or devices. Even orthotic-shoe inserts might qualify, she notes.
— Buy eligible health-care items such a first-aid kit; contact-lens solution; a thermometer; neck, wrist or joint braces; and pain relievers.
— Check with your employer to learn whether there are other eligible offerings such as massages, acupuncture, Lasik eye surgery or other treatments or procedures.
If you’ve already spent more on health-care expenses than you allocated to your account, Tillman has suggestions for that, too:
— Keep receipts for your health-care expenses. Your tax adviser might recommend that you can take some 2012 tax deductions for expenses that weren’t covered by your FSA.
— Knowing what your out-of-pocket health-care costs actually were this year can help you do a better job estimating what those expenses might be next year. And remember: The maximum you can put into your FSA has been cut from $5,000 this year to $2,500 next year.
— Make sure you know what FSA options are available to you if you’re participating in the open-enrollment period at your workplace.