Advertisement
spending

Ways to Spend Your Flexible Spending Account Money by March 15 Deadline

Many workers will be hitting the drugstore in the next few days to use up leftover flexible spending account money from 2018 so they don’t lose it.

Question: I just realized that I have a few hundred dollars left over from my flexible spending account from last year that I must spend by March 15 or else I’ll lose it. What can I use it for on short notice?

Answer: You can use money from your flexible spending account for out-of-pocket medical expenses, such as your health insurance deductible, co-payments, prescription drugs, and vision and dental care. You probably won’t be able to schedule an appointment with your doctor or dentist on such short notice, but there are several things you can use your FSA money for in a hurry, including some drugstore items you may not have realized are eligible expenses.

For example, you can use your FSA money to stock up on contact lenses and contact lens solution, as well as eyeglasses and prescription sunglasses. Or tap the account to buy thermometers, blood pressure monitors, prenatal vitamins, breast pumps, sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher, hot/cold packs, first aid kits, bandages, orthopedic braces and even an acupressure neck pillow. “What most consumers don’t know is that the eligible FSA expenses extend beyond basic medical supplies to include items like batteries for a hearing aid, glucose test strips, acupuncture, and even wheelchairs and walking aids,” says Leslie Antunes, chief growth officer of Alegeus, which administers FSAs for employers.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

Many drugstore items don’t require a prescription, but some of them do. See FSAStore.com’s eligibility list for details. FSAStore.com specializes in selling items that are FSA-eligible. Some FSA plans provide a debit card that makes it easy to buy eligible items at the drugstore.

The FSA deadline to use-it-or-lose-it varies among employers. More than one-third of employers offer a grace period until March 15 to use the previous year’s FSA money, while nearly half let you roll over $500 from one year to the next, according to a study by the Society of Human Resource Management. And about 17% offer neither a rollover nor a grace period, requiring people to use up the money in their accounts by December 31. It’s not unusual for workers to miss the deadline, forfeiting a total of about $400 million annually, says Antunes.

Advertisement

Most Popular

12 Tax Deadlines for July 15 (It's Not Just the Due Date for Your Tax Return)
tax deadline

12 Tax Deadlines for July 15 (It's Not Just the Due Date for Your Tax Return)

Between due dates for IRA or HSA contributions, paying estimated taxes and other deadlines, there's more to do by July 15 than just filing your federa…
July 10, 2020
65 Best Dividend Stocks You Can Count On
stocks

65 Best Dividend Stocks You Can Count On

These 65 Dividend Aristocrats are an elite group of dividend stocks that have reliably increased their annual payouts every year for at least a quarte…
July 8, 2020
Know Why Your Credit Score Changes: 9 Money Moves to Consider
credit & debt

Know Why Your Credit Score Changes: 9 Money Moves to Consider

Your credit score is a key indicator of your financial well-being and of the risk you pose to lenders. How good is yours?
July 10, 2020

Recommended

Saver's Credit: A Retirement Tax Break for the Middle Class
Tax Breaks

Saver's Credit: A Retirement Tax Break for the Middle Class

Your retirement contributions could be the key to a lower tax bill.
July 9, 2020
8 Ways You Might Be Cheating on Your Taxes
taxes

8 Ways You Might Be Cheating on Your Taxes

Don't fall into these common traps that can get you in hot water with the IRS.
July 8, 2020
2020 Tax Deadline: When Are Tax Returns Due This Year?
tax deadline

2020 Tax Deadline: When Are Tax Returns Due This Year?

The April 15 deadline for filing your 2019 federal income tax return (and paying taxes) has been moved back...but the new due date is approaching fast…
July 8, 2020
How to Get an Extension for Filing Your Tax Return
tax deadline

How to Get an Extension for Filing Your Tax Return

If you can't wrap up your tax return by the July 15 deadline, it's easy to buy yourself more time.
July 7, 2020