spending

Flex-Plan Money: Use It or Lose It

Here are 24 ways to spend the cash in your FSA before March 15.

If your employer gives you until March 15 to use money in your health-care flexible spending account, you have just a few days left to spend the money or lose it. That's right -- your employer will keep what you don't use.

The money in an FSA can be used for most medical expenses that your health insurance doesn't cover. If you act before the March 15 deadline, you could have a large pot of money you can tap for big-ticket items, such as laser eye surgery or dental work. You can combine what's left from your 2009 FSA contributions with the amount you've earmarked for 2010. See Tax-Free Money for Big Medical Expenses to find out how this works.

Below you'll find a list of 24 expenses FSA money can be used to cover:

1. Dental work 2. Orthodontia 3. Medically necessary prescriptions 4. Over-the-counter drugs 5. Eyeglasses 6. Contact lenses 7. Prescription sunglasses 8. Laser eye surgery 9. Psychotherapy, psychiatry, psychology 10. Drug and alcohol treatment 11. Massage therapy to treat an injury 12. Physical therapy 13. Speech therapy 14. Out-of-pocket expenses for fertility treatments 15. Chiropractic care 16. Doctor-recommended weight-loss programs 17. Hearing aids and batteries 18. Medical equipment, such as wheelchairs, crutches or oxygen equipment 19. Assistance for the disabled, including guides, Braille books, seeing-eye or hearing-trained animals, note takers, etc. 20. Birth control pills, devices and procedures 21. Acupuncture or related procedures to treat a medical condition 22. Smoking cessation programs and prescriptions 23. Medically necessary cosmetic surgery 24. Vaccinations

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