Using an FSA to Buy Glasses
A flexible spending account for eyewear is a convenient option for people who lack insurance. The thing is, a lot of people don’t even know their options when it comes to making FSA glasses purchases. The following article explores health care spending on glasses — as well as other medical expenses — with an FSA account.
What Is an FSA Account?
A flexible spending account (FSA) is a program that provides funds that can be used to pay for health care and related expenses. FSA programs are typically offered by employers. The funds are not taxed, which allows you to maximize the amount in your FSA account for health-related purposes.
How Does an FSA Account Work?
When you enroll in an FSA program, you can choose to deposit a portion of your gross income is deposited into your account. The balance of your FSA account can then be used to cover various health-related costs that wouldn’t fall under your pre-existing health insurance plan. Best of all, you get to choose how much of your income will get deposited to your FSA account, and the money in your FSA isn’t subject to payroll taxes.
To maximize your FSA funds, it is vital to schedule appointments with your doctor to learn of any undetected health care needs that your insurance policy doesn’t cover. To ensure that your funds are utilized before they expire at the end of the fiscal year, make sure to set your health appointments well in advance of the holiday-season booking rush.
How Does an HSA Account Work?
A health savings account (HSA) is an alternate plan to the FSA that some employers offer instead. In most cases, an HSA pairs with highly deductible insurance plans that carry a minimum of $1,250 per individual. You can contribute as much as $3,300 each year to an HSA account. Additionally, your employer could choose to put funds into your account, much like with a 401(k).
As opposed to the FSA, the funds deposited to an HSA account never expire. To the contrary, an HSA account gains interest as time passes on, and you can save these resources for any time that an unforeseen health expense arises.
How Can I Use My FSA Funds?
In order to use your FSA funds — or your HSA funds, for that matter — all you need to do is swipe your FSA/HSA debit card at any health facility or health store checkout counter.
If you don’t have an FSA/HSA debit card on hand at the time of checkout, use your regular credit card or bank debit card and have that money reimbursed by your FSA/HSA provider. However, you will need to submit receipts of your qualifying expenses as proof, along with your reimbursement form, to take advantage of this option.
When Will My FSA Funds Expire?
In most cases, you need to use your FSA funds within the same year that the money is deposited to your account. With every new year, the coverage period begins anew, and your funds from the previous year disappear.
However, some FSA plans will allow you to access up to $500 of a prior year’s unused funds as late as March 15 of the new year. Alternately, you can charge any new qualifying costs incurred within the first two and a half months of the new year to a prior FSA balance. Otherwise, the funds of a current year expire after December 31.
Unlike with the FSA plan, there is no expiration date on the funds in your HSA account. Simply put, you can access money from your HSA balance whenever you need it, regardless of how much time has passed since you deposited the money. Furthermore, the maximum amounts that can be deposited each year to an HSA account are generally higher than the maximum annual limits on an FSA account.
What Can I Spend My FSA or HSA On?
An FSA or HSA can be used instead of a health insurance policy to cover visits to the doctor. If you don’t have insurance, this can be a convenient way to pay for physicals and eye exams. FSA/HSA accounts can also be used to cover health-related expenses that a health insurance policy doesn’t cover. For most account holders, the costs in the latter category are the primary purpose of their FSA or HSA account.
The range of health-related expenses covered by FSA and HSA accounts include everything from medicines to eyeglasses. The top 10 ways to use your FSA or HAS funds are as follows:
#10. Additional Dental Care
FSA funds can be used to cover certain dental care expenses, such as teeth cleaning and replacement dentures. While you cannot use the money for teeth whitening, it can apply to follow-up work. Essentially, FSA funds can work as a backup to your insurance policy when it comes to dental care.
#9. Devices for the Medicine Cabinet
The funds from your FSA account can be used to make your medicine cabinet more efficient. For example, if you have a cupboard full of small tablet containers that make rattling noises each time you open and close the cabinet door, consider the purchase of a pill dispenser, in which you could organize pills by type and have them dispensed according to a set time of day. A pill dispenser can also make your medicine cabinet safer — i.e., childproof — and eliminate possible confusion about daily dosages.
Another item that could make your medicine cabinet safer and more convenient is the pill chopper, which can be used to cut pills in even halves to divide your doses. If there are children in the house, the pill chopper provides a handy way to ensure that they get precise half-doses.
#8. Basic Medicine
You can also use your FSA funds to buy standard over-the-counter medicines, such as pain relievers and allergy medicines, as well as other drugstore products. To see whether a given item is an eligible expense for your FSA funds, check out the FSA online store, where you can bill all the products on offer to your account. For some typically OTC items, you might need a prescription to use your FSA funds.
#7. Alternative Treatment Methods
Whether or not you believe in alternative treatment methods like acupuncture, now might be the time to give it a shot. With FSA funds, you can pay for an appointment with an acupuncturist, chiropractor or for other types of treatment that a regular health insurance policy might not cover. In any case, the funds could be used as an opportunity to try new forms of treatment that you might work for you.
#6. Items for a First Aid Kit
You can purchase various items for a first aid kit can be with FSA funds. If you need to restock your joint braces, anti-bacteria medications and Band-Aids, an FSA account is the perfect resource to cover such expenses. In fact, with FSA funds, you can double your first aid supplies by making one kit for home and one for the car.
#5. Supplies to Test Diabetes
As one of the most widespread afflictions among modern-day Americans, diabetes is a condition that must be kept in check at all times, even between the regular clinical checkups. If diabetes is an issue with anyone in your household, FSA funds can be used to stock up on testing supplies to ensure that blood sugar levels are in order.
#4. Medical Equipment for the Home
Certain types of medical equipment can be useful around the house when the need arises. With FSA funds, you could stock up on devices for heartbeat and pulse monitoring.
If you or someone in your household needs to check the rate of their heartbeat after a strenuous task or new exercise regimen, a stethoscope would be a useful tool to have on hand. Likewise, if a family member has suffered bouts of hypochondria, a blood pressure monitor could help determine whether it’s really time to book an appointment with the doctor.
#3. Skin Protection Products
As the warmer months loom, FSA funds can be used to shield your skin from the ultraviolet rays of the sun. Use your FSA debit card to stock up on sunscreen lotion before you head out swimming or on trips to the beach. Even if you are just going to work, apply sunscreen to your face to protect yourself from exposure on days when the sun is hot and bright.
Sunscreen is also a smart FSA purchase in preparation for trips to the southern hemisphere during October through February, when temperatures in South America, the Pacific Islands and Oceania are at the hottest.
#2. Comfort Products
If you are coping with physical discomfort or would like to find new ways to relax and unwind, FSA funds can be used to purchase select relevant products. Heat packs, for example, could help you fight aches and pains around your body. Alternately, a therapy eye mask can help you sleep better, especially if your schedule requires you to sleep during daylight hours.
One of the most popular uses of FSA funds is eyewear. The reason for this being that FSA and HSA accounts allow users to pay for expenses that health insurance policies don’t usually cover. An FSA account makes it possible for people with no health insurance to foot their eyewear expenses.
The types of eyewear that an FSA account covers range from eyeglasses and contact lenses to prescription sunglasses. You can even apply FSA funds to corrective eye surgery. In fact, the topic is so broad that it must be covered in greater detail.
Are Eyeglasses Covered by Flexible Spending Accounts?
Yes, you can pay for prescription reading glasses and prescription sunglasses on your FSA or HSA debit card. Alternately, if you don’t have the debit card on you at the time of checkout, you can use your regular bank debit or credit card and send the receipt, along with a reimbursement form, to your FSA/HSA provider for a refund drawn from your balance.
All types of prescription eyewear, including lenses, are covered under each FSA and HSA plan, and you don’t even need vision insurance to qualify. There are a huge number of brands such as Silhouette, Ray Bans, Bolle, Ocean Waves, and many more available at the lowest possible prices from Kounopt.com!
What Types of Glasses Are FSA or HSA Eligible?
You receive coverage for a whole range of prescriptions eyewear under flexible spending and health savings accounts, including:
- Eyeglasses — prescription glasses for people with vision problems, such as nearsightedness and farsightedness.
- Reading glasses — eyewear for reading and studying, designed for people who have acceptable vision overall but wish to ease the strain of reading small type on paper and computer screens.
- Prescription sunglasses — sunglasses designed to protect the eyes from harmful ultraviolet rays, while correcting the vision of those with nearsightedness or farsightedness.
FSA and HSA funds can also be used to pay for eye exams. If you are unsure about whether or not you have an eye problem, an eye exam is the place to start. The FSA can be used all year round to purchase eyewear and contacts, but it is always wise to check the specifications of your policy before you proceed.
Why Do FSA and HSA Cover Glasses?
Eyeglasses are considered a medical expense and are therefore tax deductible. As such, you can pay for prescription eyewear with FSA and HSA accounts. The FSA/HAS option has helped thousands of people without healthcare or vision insurance pay for eye-care expenses that would otherwise be cost-prohibitive.
Whether you need eyeglasses to aid your vision or just need reading glasses for work and study, you can use your FSA or HSA. You can even use your FSA or HSA debit card to pay for sunglasses, as long as they’ve been prescribed to you by an eye physician as a medical necessity.
What Types of Reading Glasses Does FSA Cover?
FSA covers all types of prescription reading glasses. Since reading glasses prevent eye strain and diminished vision, they are classified as a medical expense. Therefore, reading glasses can be paid for with FSA funds, regardless of the size, frame style or color of the glasses in question.
If you have an eye exam and the physician concludes that your eyes could use glasses during work, reading and study, this would be the time to take advantage of the opportunity and get a prescription for FSA-covered reading glasses.
What Types of Sunglasses Does FSA Cover?
If an eye doctor prescribes you sunglasses, you can pay for them with your FSA or HSA debit card. This is not to be confused with regular sunglasses that you might find at a supermarket or apparel store. Prescription sunglasses correct vision problems as well as protect the eyes from bright lights and ultraviolet rays.
Because prescription sunglasses help people with common vision issues to see and protect the eyes from damage from the sun, they qualify as a medical expense.
Is There a Limit to FSA and HSA Eyeglass Coverage?
You can spend as much of your FSA or HSA balance as you choose to pay for eyeglasses, prescription reading glasses, prescription sunglasses, contact lenses and eye exams. You can even use your balance to pay for prescription glasses without frames if you need to replace the frames in your current eyeglasses. This means that you can pick from a variety of stylish options each year and have the flexibility to try a new look whenever you see fit.
The only limit for purchasing Glasses using your FSA is the amount of funds in your FSA or HSA account each year. As long as you have the resources, you can use them to pay for all qualifying health-related expenses, which include the eyewear mentioned above.
Should I Spend My FSA Funds on Eyeglasses?
The purchase of a pair of eyeglasses is one of the wisest ways to spend your FSA or HSA funds. After all, glasses can be expensive. You might as well take advantage of the opportunity to have them charged to an account set aside for uninsured medical expenses.
If you are wondering whether it is time to get eyeglasses, the first thing to do is book an appointment with a physician to have your eyes examined. After some vision tests, the physician will conclude whether or not you need to start wearing eyeglasses on a regular basis.
Alternately, the physician might conclude that you should wear reading glasses. They might also ask if you want prescription sunglasses. If you decide to get either of these options, you’ll receive a prescription for them and can then use funds from your FSA or HSA account to purchase them.
What Should I Do to Prepare for an FSA Purchase of Eyeglasses?
In order to maximize your FSA funds each year, arm yourself with knowledge on the qualifying expenses as well as the products that would best suit your needs. Following these steps should get you adequately prepared:
- Get to know your FSA or HSA plan
. Read the guidelines and learn what is and isn’t covered under your plan. While most FSA plans offer the same things, there may be some differences between carriers. Make sure that any health or medical expenses will qualify under your account before you set your FSA budget.
- Make an appointment with an eye physician
. The busiest time of year for physicians is around the holidays when people are out to see whether they’ll need eyeglass prescriptions for the coming year. This is also the time when FSA-account holders are rushing to make last-minute purchases before the funds disappear. As such, it is essential to make your appointment early — at least a few weeks before the holiday rush — and to mark your calendar.
- Research the eyeglass options at your disposal
. Get to know the different types of eyeglasses that qualify under your prescription. If you start wearing glasses on a regular basis, you’ll want them to match your style and personality. Even if you’ll only wear them for reading, style still matters. Compare different styles and colors to determine which shape and frame thickness are right for you.
- Keep a record of your qualifying purchases
. Whether you purchase directly from your FSA account or pay on credit and have the funds reimbursed, you’ll want to have receipts on hand of all qualifying purchases. This way, you’ll know whether you have maximized your resources during a given year, and also track any amounts that you haven’t received reimbursement for.
Each year, you could save lots of money by getting most, if not all, of your eyewear expenses paid for with your FSA funds.
Vision FSA Glasses — Buy Eyeglasses from Kounopt
Kounopt makes it easy to purchase eyewear with your hard earned FSA funds. When you buy glasses from Kounopt, your proof-of-purchase info is saved to your member’s account. Each year, you can get a great pair of glasses using this account and save big by getting glasses online. At Kounopt, we have the best prices on Silhouette, Ocean Waves, Ray Ban and countless other brands, and have great service to help you with your purchasing decision. Order today and receive free shipping on your purchase!