By Dan Cook
Employers that offer a healthcare Flexible Spending Account
as a benefit to employees may want to give them a heads up that, if the plan year ended on Dec. 31, they have just a few days left to spend what’s left in the account.
With most calendar-year plans, those who’ve selected an FSA generally are given until Saturday (March 15) of the following year to spend down those dollars. If the plan does not permit employees to carry over the money, unused funds go the way of the dodo bird on that date.
The good news is that carryover will soon be available to more folks, said Joe Jackson, CEO of WageWorks, a consumer-directed benefits plan consultant. Beginning this year, he noted, employers that offer FSAs can let employees carry over up to $500 of unused funds at the end of the plan year.
“The carryover option provides employees with more flexibility and choice, so more people will take advantage of critical savings on their healthcare expenses,” Jackson said.
To help those with money to burn, WageWorks has posted a list of all the expenditures that are permissible for those with an FSA.
It’s a long list, with some surprising inclusions. You can spend the money on a Christian Science Practitioner, for instance, or a pair of over-the-counter sunglasses. You can buy condoms, contraceptives, corn and callous removers, and corneal keratotomy. You can throw down your dollars on a face lift, a flue shot or, if all else fails you, funeral expenses.
Hair treatments, hair transplants and unwanted hair removal are within your spending scope, too. Teeth bleaching and teeth whitening are on the list, as well as tubal ligation, toothache liberation and UV protective clothing. Not to mention dancing lessons and swim lessons (for medical condition treatment only).
Click here for the full list
Originally published on BenefitsPro.com