taxes

Last-Minute Ideas to Beat the Flexible Spending Account Deadline

If your employer gives you until March 15 to use last year’s funds, don’t leave money on the table.

I still have money in my flexible-spending account from 2012, and I need to spend it by March 15, 2013, or I’ll lose it. What are some last-minute ways to spend FSA money, other than on insurance co-payments and deductibles?

A number of employers give workers until March 15, 2013, to use up the money in their flexible-spending account left over from 2012. Here are a few ideas to clear out that money from the account in the next couple of weeks. You can use the FSA money for yourself, your spouse or any dependents (including adult children up to age 26, even if they aren’t included on your health insurance policy).

-- Schedule a last-minute dental or vision exam for you, your spouse or your kids. It could be a good time to get everyone’s teeth cleaned.

-- Order an extra pair of glasses, or new prescription sunglasses for the spring.

-- Stock up on contact lenses and contact lens solution for the next several months.

-- Order next month’s prescription medications now.

-- See whether your doctor will write a prescription for over-the-counter medications, such as allergy drugs, cold and flu medications, or aspirin or other pain relievers.

-- Buy a first-aid kit, Band-Aids and Ace bandages.

-- Visit a chiropractor or acupuncturist.

-- Buy a blood pressure monitor, thermometer or heart rate monitor.

For more ideas for eligible FSA expenses, visit the FSAstore.com, which sells items specifically approved for FSAs (and makes it clear which items are eligible with and without a doctor’s prescription). Also see SaveSmartSpendHealthy.com.

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