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Use Your FSA/NSA Health Dollars Before You Lose Them in 2014

September 10, 2013

Make the most out of your Flexible Spending Account dollars before they expire.

There are over 20.5 million people aged 40 and over in the United States who are living with Cataracts―one of the most common age related vision problems in the world and also one of the leading causes of blindness. However, while the success rate for cataract surgery is around 98%, still only 3 million of these people undergo this beneficial procedure each year.

In fact, cataract surgery is not the only valuable vision procedure that millions of Americans are skipping out on. Even popular procedures such as LASIK eye surgery are passed over by those in need, usually because they do not have the money to pay for the procedure themselves. However, opting out of procedures like cataract surgery and LASIK surgery can have a serious impact on your vision health, your work performance and your overall quality of life.

Luckily, to help encourage more people to undergo these vital, life-changing vision procedures, many employers offer Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) or Health Savings Accounts (HSA) to employees who are looking for a convenient, affordable way to take advantage of eligible medical expenses and cut down on their out of pocket costs. However, the time to use these FSA dollars is slowly running out for 2013.

 FSA Dollars

What Are Flexible Spending Accounts?

A Flexible Spending Account is an employer-sponsored flex spending benefit program that allows employees to set aside a certain percentage of their paycheck to go towards eligible medical expenses on a pre-tax basis. Nearly 85% of employees work for a company (either large or small) that offer these medical and health care spending programs, and it is a great option for employees who would otherwise not be reimbursed for their important medical expenses.

FSAs also allow employees to set aside their own pre-tax money to cover co-pays, deductibles and other medical expenses that are not normally covered by medical insurance.

When Can You Use FSA Dollars?

The enrollment periods for FSAs are very brief, so it is important to contact your employer as soon as possible to learn if this beneficial flex spending program is available to you. However, once you are approved for a Flexible Spending Account, you have until the start of the next year to use all of your dollars. (This is why the fall season is such a popular time for FSA usage, as many people are trying to use all of their savings before the new year.)

Unfortunately, FSA dollars do have an expiration date of sorts, and this is one of the biggest downfalls to this helpful procedure. Essentially, FSAs use the “use it or lose it” provision, in that if any money that you set aside is not used by the end of the year, it is gone for good. FSA dollars are not rolled over to the next year.

If you are eligible for a FSA and are curious about what vision procedures and medical costs are covered under the guidelines, be sure to contact OCLI. We can help you use your FSA dollars wisely before the year is up, or even properly plan how much you want to set aside in the upcoming year for a specific procedure.

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