Q I have a flexible spending account (FSA) at my job. If I don’t use all the money by the end of the year, I lose it. It is possible to roll over the money or extend the deadline?
An FSA is a health savings account that allows employees to contribute a portion of their earnings on a pre-tax basis to spend on certain medical expenses. You are correct in stating that the money you allocated at the beginning of the year for medical expenses must be used by the end of the year. However, there may be exceptions to that rule. Check with your human resources department or plan administrator to find out whether your plan has a grace period that allows you to submit claims after December 31.
If your company does not have a grace period, here are tips to help you put your hard-earned money to work before the year ends:
• If you haven’t already done so this year, book your routine annual physical.
• Schedule another teeth cleaning.
• Buy a new pair of prescription glasses, sunglasses or contact lenses.
• Speak with your physician about writing a letter of necessity for over-the-counter items previously reimbursable by FSAs, such as antacids, decongestants, cough medicine, aspirin and bandages.
• Stop procrastinating. If you’ve been putting off dental work or eye dilation, now is a perfect time to get those two things done.
• Search for unclaimed expenses. If you haven’t stashed your receipts away in one spot, then you may end up finding expenses that have gone unclaimed. Search your credit card and bank accounts to track your medical spending.