As I’ve mentioned before, we opted to contribute the maximum $2500 to our FSA account this year because we initially expected to pay $2000-$4500 in coinsurance for my husband’s surgery. As it turned out, we paid $0 in coinsurance, which meant we have to scramble to spend down the $2500.
Half-Year FSA Check-In
We use our FSA frequently, so I frequently check the balance and process requests for additional information. On a side note, I don’t know why they say you can use the card to pay at the doctor’s office if we ALWAYS have to send backup information and receipts. That doesn’t make it any more streamlined!
If you don’t check your FSA regularly, mid-year is a good time to check and see how much you have left to spend. Then you can start scheduling doctor’s appointments now, rather than waiting until the last month to try to fit them all in.
By the end of this month, we’ll have managed to spend almost exactly half of the money. That’s about $500 in prescriptions, two emergency room co-pays, miscellaneous travel/parking expenses, some over-the-counter items, and physical therapy. My husband’s preferred physical therapy center is no longer in Anthem’s network, but we opted to pay the higher co-pay rather than find a new center because we knew we had the FSA to spend down. That’s about $150 a week. (It varies. Some visits are $50, some are $25.) I’m not sure how many visits he’ll have, but twenty sessions will get us pretty close to the cap.
Planning to Exceed the FSA Limit
Given the higher PT expense, we’ll probably actually spend more on medical costs than our FSA limit. I still need new contacts and new glasses, as does my husband. He takes a few prescriptions and we still pay co-pays for those. I also have to schedule a few doctor visits for myself, so that will push us over the edge.
At first I was annoyed that we might exceed the cap and have to spend our own money, but then I remembered that the FSA is our money. It’s simple to forget that it’s ours because we don’t pay the bill for it at the end of the money, but I also always remember that we have to spend it all by 12/31/2010 or forfeit it. So, I’d rather exceed the cap and have to go out-of-pocket than leave money on the table.
It seems impossible to spend $2500 on medical care in a year, and in a normal year it might be, but even in a normal year it wouldn’t be that hard to spend $1000. It’s amazing how quickly these things add up.