FSA 101: Use it or Lose it

FSA 101: Use it or Lose it

FSA Reminder Smiles of Spokane

Maximize your FSA so you don’t lose any of that money when the year comes to an end.

Ding ding ding! Your time is coming up! If you have money set aside in a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), but have no clue what your current balance is, now’s the time to look it up!

In most cases, money in your FSA is forfeited at the end of the calendar year. If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it! And if you lose it, that’ll be sad. And we don’t want you to be sad.

If you’re confused on the specifics of your account, that’s perfectly okay! This is insurance after all, things can get a little confusing

You don’t have to be an expert on all things FSA. All you need know is how much money you have. From there, you’ll need to know what it can be used for.

Here are some tips for maximizing your FSA and not losing any money at year’s end.

Your FSA can be used for dental expenses

Your FSA dollars can be used for anything that “treats or prevents a dental disease.”

This includes regular cleanings and checkups, as well as bonding, bridgework, crowns/caps, dentures, extractions, fillings, gum surgery, root canals, sealants, and in most cases, orthodontia.

Your FSA cannot be used for anything considered cosmetic, including whitening and veneers.

Inquire about your balance

On the back of your FSA card is a telephone number.  You can call it to receive balance updates and learn what procedures are covered by your FSA. The person on the end of the line is there to help you, and is a very good resource to answer specific questions. Make use of them!

Ask if your employer allows a grace period or carryovers

In most cases, you forfeit any leftover dollars as soon as the new year begins. Sometimes, however, your employer will offer a grace period of 2-and-a-half months, or will allow you to carry over $500 (but no more) into the next year. If you aren’t sure if your company offers these, ask!

Your FSA doesn’t come with you after changing employers

Your FSA is company-specific. The only way you can still use your FSA is if you continue your health insurance under COBRA. Once you begin new health insurance with your new employer, you will no longer have access to your previous FSA.

Keep all receipts and documentation

For IRS purposes, just keep them all in a file somewhere. This will also help you plan your FSA contribution for next year. If you still have money left in your FSA account, now’s the time to schedule your appointments! Remember: Keeping up with regular dental cleanings and preventative care will save you big bucks in the long run. Prevention is always cheaper than treatment!

For more information on Flexible Spending Accounts, visit Zenefits and the FSA Store.

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