From the pharmacist: Maximize your health care FSA
Find ways to best use your year-ending flexible spending account balance.
Many employers that provide health care coverage also provide access to a Flexible Spending Account (FSA). An FSA holds money that you set aside to pay for specific out-of-pocket health care costs.
One of the benefits is you do not pay taxes on this money and therefore you may choose to save an amount equal to the taxes you would have paid. Most plans provide an FSA card that functions like a credit card. Employee contributions for most FSAs are limited to $2,550 per plan year per employee.
The money can be used for you, your spouse and family.
There is a caveat: most plans require you to use the money within the plan year. However, your employer plan may choose to offer one of two options: a grace period of 2.5 extra months or a carry over up to $500 from the previous year. At the end of the year, you lose any money that is remaining in your account. If you have money remaining in your FSA account, it would be prudent to spend it on eligible expenses before the plan year expires. Your FSA can be used to pay for prescription medications, eyeglasses, contact lenses, co-payments and deductibles. There are also many over-the- counter (OTC) products that are FSA eligible. However, as of January 2011, certain OTC medicines and items require a doctor’s prescription.
It is not difficult to request a prescription for an OTC product or a letter of medical necessity in order to use your FSA card. Simply call your doctor’s office.
Examples of FSA eligible products
FSA eligible: blood glucose monitors and test strips, contact lens solution, denture cream and cleansers, first aid kits, glucose tablets, glucosamine, hearing aid batteries, incontinence products, reading glasses and magnifiers
FSA eligible with prescription: allergy medicine, antacids and acid controllers, aspirin, cold sore treatments, cough drops, eye drops, laxatives, pain relievers, sleep aids and stomach and digestive aids
FSA eligible with prescription and letter of medical necessity: vitamins, nutritional drinks and supplements, exercise equipment, herbal medications, infant formula, lactose intolerance
products and probiotics
Where you use your FSA is just as important as when you use it. Using your FSA at Sam’s Club may help maximize your health care benefit. We provide incredible savings on many FSA-eligible products. Sam’s Club Pharmacies consistently rank high in customer satisfaction surveys and can fill your prescriptions for FSA products. Our Optical Centers can also fill your prescriptions for name-brand contact lenses, prescription lenses and designer frames.
So do not wait until it is too late, bring your FSA card to Sam’s Club and discover all the ways you can save. If you don’t have a card, contact your employer to learn if they offer an FSA. For more information on FSAs, visit healthcare.gov.