FSA eligible items you can spend your 2021 balance on

Is your flexible healthcare spending account balance burning a hole in your pocket? Don’t rush to spend it right away.

Accounts, called FSA, allow you to set aside pre-tax income to spend on qualifying medical purchases. This includes doctor’s bills, copayments and prescriptions, as well as many over-the-counter medications and other health-related products and equipment. (An FSA is different from a health savings account, or HSA. If you have one, the balance can be carried over to the following year.)

The maximum amount you could set aside for an FSA in 2021 was $ 2,750. In most years, you can only carry a portion of this balance over to the next year. (The current legal limit is $ 550, although your plan may have a lower limit.) If you haven’t had a lot of medical bills that year, December sometimes ends up being a fuss to spend the rest. Workers who forget the liquidation lose around $ 400 million a year collectively.

But this year things are different. Congress has changed the rules for 2020 and 2021 assuming some people may have skipped or delayed health care visits due to the pandemic. If your workplace has chosen to participate, you may be able to carry all of your remaining balance forward to 2022. Contact your benefits provider or human resources department and ask if your employer is participating.

If not, there are plenty of ways to use your FSA balance. Pharmacies like CVS and Rite-Aid allow you to use your FSA card as a debit card. First swipe your FSA card at checkout and payment for all qualifying items (see below for ideas on this) will be completed. You can also use your card to purchase qualifying items online. Many sites have a page dedicated to covered supplies, including Amazon, Target, Costco, CVS, Rite-Aid, Walgreens, and Wal-Mart. There’s also FSAStore.com, which – as you might have guessed from the name – only sells FSA qualifying items.

Here are some of the items that you might not have realized were FSA eligible, in case you need some shopping inspiration:

COVID Supplies: Masks, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, thermometers, pulse oximeters, home COVID tests – all are FSA eligible. Fill up on quick tests now and get ready for the holidays.

First aid kits: You should have one for your home and one in your car. (PS Did you sign up for our earthquake preparedness newsletter? There’s a whole section on what to have on hand in an emergency.) If you already have a kit you have given the opportunity to open, your FSA can cover things like bandages and first aid ointment to replenish it.

Prescription Glasses, Contact Lenses and Eye Care: If you need to have an eye exam, you can now do it online (and you can probably pay for it with your FSA as well). Once you have an up-to-date prescription, most sites should allow you to use your FSA to pay for your new contacts or specs, including hip spots like Warby Parker and See Eyewear. If you don’t need new glasses, you can use your FSA for things like contact solution, lens wipes, and eye rewet drops.

Menstrual supplies: Thanks to the CARES 2020 law, pads, tampons and other menstrual products are now eligible for FSA expenses. If you are feeling generous, you might consider purchasing and donating it to one of the many organizations that provide menstrual products to those in need.

Elements of family planning: Both condoms and emergency contraception are eligible.

Over-the-counter medications and monitoring equipment: Fill up on ibuprofen, acetaminophen, some vitamins and supplements, antacids, pain relieving gels and pads, and other over-the-counter treatments when you’re not that hot. You can also use your FSA for blood pressure monitors and many diabetes care supplies.

Baby, Pregnancy and Postpartum Supplies: Are you expecting a new health-dependent person in 2022? FSAs cover a plethora of breast pumps and nursing supplies, recommended postpartum care items, and even optional fancy baby supplies like the Owlet Monitoring System.

Sunscreen and Skin Care: Many acne treatments and eczema creams can be purchased with your FSA. And although it’s dark at 5pm right now, the sun will come back. Be ready.

Masseurs: If you’ve looked at a massage wand, device, or car seat, now is your chance.

Mobility aids: Canes, transport chairs and wheelchairs are all eligible.

Home drug tests and smoking cessation aids: If healthier living is your 2022 resolution, you can use this year’s FSA balance to get a head start.

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