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Employee Benefits

Last-Minute Ways to Empty Your Flexible Spending Account

If you still have money in your account, consider some eligible expenses you might not have thought of.

Users of flexible spending accounts face a dilemma each year. FSAs let you spend tax-free dollars on eligible dependent-care expenses or medical and dental charges that aren’t covered by insurance. But you must use the funds by year-end or forfeit the money. Many employers allow a grace period up to March 15; others let you roll over up to $500 into the next plan year.

You can use money in your medical spending account for acupuncture, for example, or for massage to treat a medical condition, with a letter from your doc. Or you could use funds to pay health-club dues or for swim or dance lessons to treat a medical condition, with a letter. Consider nightguards (to stop teeth grinding) and sunscreen (SPF 15 or greater). Use your FSA to pay medical-records charges, or to get reimbursed for mileage to or from appointments.

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For busy parents, dependent-care plans will cover kids’ rides to select daily activities, such as summer camp, from a service such as HopSkipDrive, which qualifies as a care provider. It currently operates in southern and central California, but it is expanding. And don’t forget that dependent-care plans can cover elder-care expenses, too.

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