If you’re taking advantage of your company’s FSA (flexible spending account) or HSA (health savings account) as part of your health plan, your vision care is about to get a significant upgrade. FSA/HSA funds can go a long way in covering necessary optical expenses like eye exams, prescription frames, eye care supplies, and more. But before we dive into the many ways you can use FSA for vision, here’s a crash course on these added medical benefits.
Signing up for an FSA means you can choose an amount to be deducted from your paycheck over the year before taxes (up to $2,750 for individuals or $5,000 for dependent care). This money is designated to cover a variety of eligible medical expenses, including vision care, but must be used in full before the year is out or you lose the funds.
HSAs, on the other hand, don’t have the same use-it-or-lose-it rule and often earn interest over time. However, HSAs are only offered with high deductible insurance plans.
So why spend FSA/HSA money on vision care? Chances are you’ll probably get the most for your money in this particular category. Here’s why:
Most Vision Needs Are Covered
Perhaps one of the biggest reasons to use your HSA or FSA for vision care is that the majority of your optometric needs are eligible for FSA/HSA coverage. These include standard eye exams, prescription frames and lenses and sunglasses, contact lenses (including cleaning solution), eye drops, and even some corrective eye surgery (including LASIK).
Knowing that these pre-taxed dollars cover almost all of your basic eye care needs will help put you at ease when it comes to your yearly budgeting, and probably ensure you stay on top of your vision care throughout the year as well.
You Can Call in Backup
Unlike other medical costs covered by FSA/HSA accounts, vision care is an ideal area to stock up on supplies and additional support for the year without worrying about an added expense. For example, if you regularly find yourself arriving at the office only to discover you’ve left your one pair of glasses at home or running out of contact lenses while traveling, it’s time to put your FSA funds to work. Use FSA/HSA dollars to invest in an extra pair of frames to keep at your desk at work (or in the car), keep a well-stocked inventory of contact lenses at the ready, or purchase a pair of sunglasses. These proactive steps will help you support your vision needs around the clock.
You Won’t Leave Money on the Table
Do you still have an FSA balance to spend before the year is out? One of the downsides of FSAs is that, in most cases, you’re required to use your FSA funds before the end of the year. Rather than rush out to the drug store to restock your medicine cabinet, invest the extra cash in something more lasting like a durable backup pair of glasses. The purchase will last you for years to come.
Pro tip: you can reuse frames by simply updating the lenses, and you’ll likely use up your FSA dollars in the process instead of losing them.
You Can Expand Your Style Without Breaking the Bank
Sure, practical frames in the style you’re used to are always a safe bet when purchasing new prescription eyeglasses. But, what about those trendy, oversized glasses you’ve secretly been coveting? Who says you have to choose just one pair of frames? One of the benefits of using your HSA and FSA for vision is that you’re likely to have a little extra money to treat yourself to an additional set of frames. Use this opportunity to make a style statement and have fun with your look.
If you need a little help finding a selection of frames to fit your face shape, take this handy quiz.