One of the biggest financial challenges people in the US are facing is whether or not they’re able to afford healthcare. People are already struggling to pay for the insurance premiums but on top of that, they’re afraid deductibles, prescriptions, and co-insurance might push them into the red. It’s no wonder that they’re struggling. Healthcare costs have risen faster than inflation.
In 2023, having some money set aside to cover these out-of-pocket costs is critical for most employees. A Flexible Spending Account at its core is a tool that allows an individual to set aside money to pay these out of pocket expenses with pre-tax dollars allocated for the year. For 2023, the FSA limit has increased to $3,050 for an individual and $5,000 for a family. This is money that employees can set aside to pay for out of pocket health care costs and they won’t be taxed on it.
Here are five things to be aware of when considering putting money into an FSA:
1. Over-the-counter medicine.
So the CARES Act, which was passed a year ago, expanded the FSA limits and it allowed you to use your FSA to buy things like flu cold, cough medicine, antacids, heartburn medication and all sorts of skin creams and sleep aids. Most FSAs have smart cards like a debit card. So if you go to Rite Aid and you buy toilet paper and cough medicine, it’s going to know which one can be deducted from your FSA and pay for it on that card.
2. Long-term care expenses.
Did you know that you can use your FSA funds to pay premiums for long term care and even Medicare premiums up to certain limits? Contact us at email@example.com if you’d like to learn more.
3. Use it or lose it.
Traditionally, FSA plans ran from January to December 31st. You only had that calendar year to use the funds you elected for the plan. Now plans have evolved and often allow you to roll-over unused funds. Every plan is a little bit different so be sure you know the rules that your employer has set up. Typically, employees are given two and a half months after the plan year to use any excess funds. But some employers will even let you roll over and use it all the way through the next year.
4. Double dipping.
Is it allowed and what are the rules? Double dipping refers to people that have HSAs and FSAs. You cannot have a full HSA and full FSA because you could extract the funds out of both accounts to pay for one expense, which would be double dipping. There is a tool available called a limited FSA for employees who also have an HSA and this allows them to get the benefits of both without double dipping.
5. Ignorance can be costly.
Take the time to truly understand how valuable an FSA can be. If you have access to one and you’re not using it, you’re literally wasting your own money. Every person has expenses that are not covered by health insurance every year. So if you have access to an FSA, we think it’s a no brainer to take advantage of it.
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out. We’re here to help. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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