If your flexible spending account from last year extends into the new year, you’ve still got time to spend the money left in it wisely.
Unlike the rollover, in which a set amount is available indefinitely, an extension means the entire amount is available to you until a certain date. This period frequently runs 75 days, or until March 15.
Here are some expert tips for getting the most out of your 2019 FSA dollars before they expire:
Book helpful appointments The first three months of the new year are a great opportunity to set yourself up for the rest of the year. This is a good time to get with your primary care doctor and schedule your visit. If you get in early, you can benefit from having the money to pay for procedures your insurance doesn’t handle.
Some preventive care might cover things like if you’re 50 and it’ll cover a colonoscopy, but if you need a polyp removed, it might not cover that. In January, with your New Years Resolutions, you are more likely to keep that appointment and follow up on any advice you got from that appointment.
Spending your leftover FSA dollars at the beginning of the year can set you up to save later. This is true whether you have the rollover or the extension. Not only does the extension period allow more time to spend last year’s FSA contributions on qualified expenses, those costs also count toward this year’s deductible.
Check out these FSA-eligible items Many seemingly unconventional items are available for you to buy using your FSA dollars. Look for items that are evergreen, so you don’t end up with a heap of expired products.
You might need a prescription or letter of medical necessity to use your FSA on certain items of services. This is true for items ranging from the quirkier products to the downright everyday products, such as aspirin.
Your FSA covers your overall health needs, including anything important to your medical care, your dental care, or your vision. There are a host of often-ignored FSA-covered items such as a 4-foot-long heating blanket, batteries for blood pressure monitor cuffs, a pocket-sized sensor for gluten or peanut sensitivity, and even microwavable stuffed animals designed to heat up so they can radiate a comforting warmth that helps children sleep.
With a few months left to spend, you can make the most of your account and benefit from the deduction on your taxable wages.