Understanding HSA/FSA Accounts
The end of the year is quickly approaching, your to-do list is longer than ever and in the chaos of trying to get everything done it’s easy to forget about your HSA/FSA funds. Depending on the amount you elected to set aside at the beginning of the year, you may have a few hundred dollars remaining in your account.
It would be fair to assume that spending, especially during the holiday season, is a simple thing, but the truth is there are specific “qualified expenses” for which you can use HSA/FSA funds. If you spend it on non-qualified items you could be responsible for a 20% penalty.
You don’t have to worry though, we’ve made it easy for you to understand how your account works and we’ll even leave you with some suggestions on how to use the funds.
What are HSA/FSA Accounts?
Health Savings Accounts (HSA) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) share many similarities, such as:
Contributions are pre-tax
Contributions are tax deductible
Available through employers
Preset contribution limits
Share the same list of “qualified expenses”
Much like a checking account, HSA/FSA funds are managed by a financial institution. You will be provided a debit card which can be used to pay for qualified medical expenses throughout the year.
HSA vs. FSA: What’s the difference?
Who is eligible?
The biggest difference between the two is the fact that not everyone qualifies for an HSA. Only those with a high deductible ($1,350 or more for an individual or $2,700 or more for a family in 2018) health plan are eligible. FSA, on the other hand, is available regardless of your deductible.
For 2018, the max contribution into a HSA is $3,450 for an individual and $6,900 for families. The max contribution into an FSA is $2,650.
Perhaps the greatest advantage of an HSA is that any remaining balance will rollover into the next year. With an FSA this isn’t the case. With most employers, FSA money is “use it or lose it” but you may encounter some exceptions to when your window closes in the form of one of two options:
A “grace period” of 2 ½ months could be offered to allow a bit more time to use up the previous year’s balance.
$500 rollover into the next year
An employer can offer one of these two options but they are not legally obligated to offer either. In order to avoid any end of the year surprises, be sure to check with your HR department.
In the event that you change employers, you can take all HSA funds with you from one employer to another. With an FSA, you’ll lose the funds when you change employers.
Now that you know the interworking’s of each account, let’s take a look at a few qualified expenses available through EZContacts:
When ordering glasses, remember to browse the upgrade options such as Premium Anti-Reflective coatings, Polarized filters (sunglasses), Hi-Index lens materials and Light Sensitive add-ons. With so many lens options you’ll be sure to find the right package to fit your budget and needs.
You can even spend your HSA/FSA funds on qualified purchases for your spouse, children or any other dependent that you claim on your taxes. If your child is grown and they are no longer being claimed as dependents but they are still on your health insurance, you can still use your HSA/FSA funds on them so long as they will be 26 by the end of the current year.
Hopefully this clears things up and makes the end of the year rush a little less stressful. If you have a current glasses or contact lens prescription you can start shopping today for yourself or for one of your dependents. Teenagers are notorious for waiting until the late minute to tell you they are all out of contacts so be sure to check the current inventory.
If you don’t have a current prescription, make an appointment with your eye doctor today (co-pays are eligible expenses). Appointment slots fill up quickly so be sure to contact them as soon as possible. Once you’re done there you can come back to EZContacts and we’ll make the rest of the process and simple and stress free as possible.