Since this week was tax due date week, we thought it would be great time to focus on Health Savings Accounts and Flexible Spending Accounts. These type of accounts can be offered by your employer and can be used on vision expenses throughout the year.
What is the difference between an HSA and FSA?
HSA – Health Savings Account
- You or your employer contribute pre tax dollars
- Unused contributions roll over year after year
- HSAs must accompany a high deductible health plan (individual or through employer
- Withdrawals are allowed with 10% penalty
- HSAs have higher contribution maximum than FSAs
FSA – Flexible Spending Account
- Typically FSA funds must be used by the end of the plan or calendar year
- Account cannot be used after you leave the employer
- FSAs must accompany group insurance through employer
- Withdrawals are not allowed
What Can you use your HSA or FSA funds on?
Your vision insurance is probably going to cover on set of glasses or give you an allowance on what you can spend. If you contribute to a FSA or HSA you can use those funds to purchase the more expensive frames you want, or more than one pair of glasses to switch out your frames form time to time. In general you can use your funds for:
- Reading glasses
- Prescription blue light glasses
- Prescription anti-fatigue glasses
- Prescription glasses
- Prescription sunglasses
You can also choose to use your funds on contacts if they are medically necessary!
There are other things you can use the funds on as well aside form hardware. Other approved expenses would be eye exams, LASIK, copays and deductibles, eyeglass cleaning supplies and eye drops! It is important to check with your individual FSA or HSA provider to make sure anything that might fall into a grey area is covered.
What is NOT Eligible?
While there are so many things you can use these funds on there are still some things you shouldn’t use it on.
- Non-prescription glasses
- Non-prescription sunglasses
- Non-prescription contacts
- Insurance premiums
How to use your funds
This is going to depend on your specific plan. Some proivders will send you a debit card that you can use on the approved expenses. Other plans will require you to pay out of pocket but get reimbursed so it is important to hang on to receipts.
FSA and HSA accounts can be a great way for you to set aside pre-taxed funds to spend on health expenses throughout the year. When enrolling in your employers benefits, make sure to take a look at the average expenses your family has each year to determine how much to contribute to your plan. Make sure to make the most of the benefits your employer offers!