What is a Flexible Spending Account?
Given the current trend toward expensive healthcare, the physicians at Beach Eye Medical Group in Orange County feel it is important for patients to be aware of the flexible spending account payment option. The major benefit of having a flex spending account, or FSA, set aside to pay medical expenses is that the cost of out-of-pocket healthcare expenses is tax-free. This means that you will save the money you would have spent on taxes when paying for co-payments, deductibles, certain prescription drugs, and various other medical costs through your FSA. In some way it is like having a discount on your healthcare bill.
Why Consider an FSA?
Flexible spending accounts were introduced by the federal government in the 1970s in response to a major increase in health expenses when employers started charging annual deductibles and co-insurance in the 60s. Since then, medical bills have gotten increasingly expensive. At Beach Eye Medical Group your FSA can be used to buy prescription glasses, sunglasses or contacts, and can be used toward the cost of your eye exam in either our Huntington Beach or Irvine office.
How Do They Work?
According to information provided by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, which is published on fsafeds.com, an FSA saves individuals about 30% of the cost of medical expenses. The premise is that the separate account allows an individual to set aside a sum of money (up to $2,6000 a year) specifically for health related expenses. The money is deducted from the employee’s paycheck and deposited into the special account before taxes are taken out. This money can be used for healthcare expenses for both the individual and his or her dependent.
Logistics of Your FSA
When settling a health expense you can either pay directly through a debit card linked to your FSA or submit receipts to receive reimbursement for the expenses. Participation does not automatically renew, so patients must re-apply each calendar year. In addition, though your individual benefits depend on the provider’s calendar year, most benefits expire on either March 31 or December 31 of a given year. Any remaining funds are lost after this date.
FSA for Prescription Glasses and Sunglasses
At Beach Eye Medical Group you can pay for your prescription glasses and sunglasses through your FSA. Like prescription glasses, prescription sunglasses are considered a legitimate medical device that qualifies them for purchase through an FSA.
If you’ve been putting off buying a new pair of glasses, now is the time to consider using your FSA tax-free funds for your purchase. Even if you have vision insurance, your FSA can provide a discount as you can pay for any remaining expenses outside your coverage limit through your FSA.
FSA for Prescription Contact Lenses
Your FSA can be used to purchase daily, weekly, or monthly disposable contact lenses so long as you hold a valid prescription. Your FSA can also be used to pay for extra expenses such as contact lens cleaning and storage. Usually, you will be asked to pay the cost of your contacts up-front and will be reimbursed up to the maximum payment allowed.
FSA for Eye Exams
You can use your FSA funds toward deductibles and co-pays for an eye exam at either of our Orange County locations. If you have vision insurance and your exam is already covered you can direct the FSA funds toward your co-pay.
Have more questions? Let our friendly staff help you determine if an FSA is right for you. Call us today at (714) 965-9696.