You have an HSA/FSA account. Were you aware it can be applied to buy prescription glasses and contact lenses? The end of the year—or the tax year—may be the ideal time to look at spending your HSA or FSA funds on “qualified expenses.” (Remember, you don’t want to spend the funds on non-qualified items because you could be responsible for a 20% penalty.)
What are HSA/FSA accounts?
Health Savings Accounts (HSA) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) share many similarities, such as:
- Contributions are pre-tax
- Contributions are tax deductible
- Available through employers
- Preset contribution limits
- Share the same list of “qualified expenses”
Much like a checking account, HSA/FSA funds are managed by a financial institution. You get a debit card, which can be used to pay for qualified medical expenses throughout the year.
HSA vs. FSA: What’s the difference?
Who is eligible?
The biggest difference between the two is the fact that not everyone qualifies for an HSA. Only those with a high deductible health plan are eligible. FSA, on the other hand, is available regardless of your deductible.
For 2019, the max contribution into an HSA is $3,500 for an individual and $7,000 for families. The IRS announced the 2019 FSA Health pre-tax deduction limit is $2,700 for the individual.
Perhaps the greatest advantage of an HSA is at the year-end any remaining balance rolls-over into the next year. Not so with an FSA. With most employers, FSA money is “use it or lose it,” but you may encounter some exceptions when your window closes in the form of one of two options:
- A “grace period” of 2 ½ months could be offered to allow a bit more time to use the previous year’s balance
- $500 rollover into the next year
An employer can offer one of these two options but they are not legally obligated to do so. In order to avoid any end of the year surprises, be sure to check with your HR department.
In the event that you change employers, you can take all HSA funds with you from one employer to another. With an FSA, you’ll lose the funds when you change employers.
Now that you know how the accounts work, let’s take a look at a few qualified expenses available through EZContacts:
When ordering glasses, remember to browse the upgrade options such as premium anti-reflective coatings, polarized filters (sunglasses), high-Index lens materials, and light-sensitive add-ons. With so many lens options, you’ll be sure to find the right package to fit your budget and needs.
You can even spend your HSA/FSA funds on qualified purchases for your spouse, children, or any other dependent you claim on your taxes. If your child is grown and they are no longer being claimed as dependents but are still on your health insurance, you can still use your HSA/FSA funds on them as long as they will be 26 by the end of the current year.
If you currently have a prescription for eyeglasses or contact lens you can start shopping today for yourself or one of your dependents. Teenagers are notorious for waiting until the last minute to tell you they are all out of contacts so be sure to check the current inventory.
If you don’t have a current prescription, make an appointment with your eye doctor today. (Yes, co-pays are also eligible expenses). Appointment slots fill up quickly so be sure to contact them as soon as possible. Once you’re done there, come back to EZContacts and we’ll make the rest of the process simple and stress-free.
*Updated to reflect 2019 guidelines.