Maximize your Flexible Spending Account

A Health Flexible Spending Account (Health FSA) is a powerful benefit that some employers provide to their employees.  This benefit allows you the ability to reduce your taxes on qualified medical spending.  A lot of times, people fund these accounts but end up having fewer health issues and costs in a given year than originally anticipated (thankfully!).   If this has happened to you, then you have probably found yourself scrambling for ways to spend what’s left in your account near year end.


To define a Health FSA, it is a benefit option many employers offer as part of a cafeteria plan which allows an employee to direct part of their earnings into a pre-tax account that can be used to pay for qualified medical expenses.  The downside is that you have a limited amount of time to spend the money, and you lose what you don’t spend. 


Health FSA funds must be used during the plan year in which they’re contributed.   Some employers have a 45-day grace period, and some allow employees to carry over up to $500 into the next year, but some employers have a total “use it or lose it” rule; what isn’t spent at the end of the year goes back to the employer.


If you find yourself in the situation where you have to either spend your Health FSA funds quickly or lose them, there is a website that can help you with your qualified spending options. sells only FSA-eligible items, including many items that require a prescription.  The items that are eligible change every year, but the list generally includes:


  • Bandages and First-Aid kits
  • Pain relievers
  • Sunscreen
  • Contact lenses and solution
  • Nasal sprays
  • Prenatal vitamins
  • Humidifiers and vaporizers


The list goes on and on!


You can browse the website just as you would any online store, or you can review their Eligibility List page for things that are eligible and may be useful to you.  You can shop by category and even get product bundles that target a certain health concern. 


This is the most convenient way I’ve found for people to get their money’s worth from a “use it or lose it” Health FSA situation.  If you know someone with a Health FSA, let them know about this great resource!


-Jay McGowan-


*This article is posted as a public service and is not an advertisement.  BCR is not affiliated in any way with and receives no compensation for this information or for purchases made through these links

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