If you have a flexible spending account that operates on a calendar-year, then you need to make sure you’ve spent down the entire balance by December 31. Any funds left in the account will vanish on January 1. Here are some tips for spending down the balance in the last few weeks of the year.

Visit the Doctor, Dentist, Etc.
Co-pays and doctor fees qualify as flexible spending account expenses. If you’ll soon be due for a physical or need a dental check-up, eye exam, or anything else that involves seeing a medical professional, schedule those appointments to occur before December 31. School breaks are very popular times to take the kids to the doctor, so call to make your appointment now.

Buy Medical Supplies
Check your stock of contacts and order more, even if you won’t need them for a few months. This is also a good time to replace your glasses. You can also spend FSA funds on things like contact solution, bandages, OTC medications for allergies and other defined conditions. If you visit CVS, they print the total of eligible expenses at the bottom of the receipt. Use your CVS card so you can log-on to check the amount of eligible purchases.

See a Psychiatrist or Psychologist
The holidays can be stressful. If you’re feeling the need for therapy, squeeze in a couple of appointments before the end of the year.

Quit Smoking
If you’ve been wanting to quit, this is two ways to save money. Not only can you use FSA funds to pay for the program, but you’ll save money on future cigarette purchases. At $5-7 a pack, that adds up quickly.

Refill Prescriptions
Although most prescriptions can only be filled once every 30 days, you probably have time to fill each one at least one more time. Even if it’s a medication you don’t take frequently, refill it now to help draw down your balance.

Get Acupuncture or See a Chiropractor
Do you have allergies? Back pain? Stress? Many FSA programs cover acupuncture and chiropractic. See these specialists now to start treating your issues. I know from personal experience that both can be extremely effective for certain issues.

Thinking about LASIK?
If you have a lot of money left and have been thinking about LASIK, go for a consultation. If you qualify, and can fit in the appointment for the last week of the year, you’ll not only spend down the balance, but be able to receive treatment without missing a lot of work or taking additional vacation time.

Your plan may allow additional items, so review your limits carefully and then head to the nearest discount store to stock up medical supplies that qualify. Just make sure you don’t buy so much that it will expire before you can use it up.

If you have trouble spending down the balance, consider putting away less next year. Although it’s nice to be able to reduce your taxable by contributing to a flexible spending account, it doesn’t work in your favor if you lose the money at the end of the year.

Comments

One Response to “Spend Down Your Flexible Spending Account Before Year-End”

  1. Rob on December 12th, 2008 6:08 am

    Psychologist and psychiatrist expenses are not always eligible. Be sure to check with the plan administrator or your employer to be certain that it will be covered by your FSA.

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