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FSA funds running out? Here's how you can spend those pre-tax dollars

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Posted at 10:53 AM, Dec 12, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-13 11:10:12-05

If you have a flexible spending account (FSA) through your work insurance, time is running out to use those pre-tax dollars because they're not all going to roll over into the new year.

Here are some of the items financial experts say you can spend that money on and a few on the list may surprise you.

FSA-eligible items:

Baby monitors

Breast pumps

Diabetes supplies

Fertility treatments (for both men and women)

Vasectomy

First aid kits

OTC medications

Medical, dental, and vision visits (including telehealth)

"These are things that people just don't think about. So, I'll see people actually paying for these things out of pocket or using insurance that has copays and deductibles when they can simply use their FSA account to pay for those expenses," said personal finance expert, Shavon Roman.

"The difference between a flexible spending account and a health savings account, the primary difference is the time limit. With the health savings account, you have that account forever. You do not have to use it within a certain timeframe. With an FSA, you absolutely have to use it within a certain timeframe, and that usually is gonna be within your plan year. So, think about it like this – F stands for 'Find something to spend it on.'''

IRS rules allow for up to about $600 to roll over into next year and experts say most insurance plan options allow for that.

"You also have up until two and a half months after your plan year ends. So, if that ends in December, you have two and a half months after December 31st to spend those funds in your FSA account, or they are returned to your employer to use however they please. It will not go back into your pocket."

"There are employees who have to use it by the 31st, but most plan options will give you the additional two and a half months. It's very rare that I see any that you have to actually use by December 31st."

Financial experts recommend having a spending strategy for these funds and if you're unsure if an item is FSA eligible, a quick internet search will help. You can also ask your company's human resources department for assistance.

But Roman warns against overfunding this account just in case you don't end up spending it all.