Use It or Lose It: Maximize Your Benefits Before It's Too Late!

Employees can enjoy tax-free health care insurance plans set up by their employers through a flexible spending account (FSA). A portion of an employee's salary goes to the plan every month. Your employer has a choice whether they want to contribute to your FSA account. Contributions put into the FSA account regularly help cater for the medical expenses you are eligible for within the plan year.


Use It or Lose It 


Ensuring you maximize your FSA benefits is ideal for you to enjoy every penny of your contributions. Have your FSA card for every medical appointment you have. Habitually monitor your account to regulate your medical care spending. Also, know what your cover offers to maximize the services you can get. Understand your plan and its deadline.


Employer Choices


Below are some of the choices that an employer who offers flexible spending accounts has:


  • Employers can give a grace period to employees who have not used up their benefits by the end of the plan year. Employees can spend their remaining FSA contributions for at least two-and-a-half months from the set expiry date of the plan

  • Employers can allow employees who have not used up their contributions by the end of the plan year to roll over a fixed specified amount. The contributions forwarded can be used for eligible medical expenses

  • Employers can only permit one of the above alternatives to maximize benefits past the due date. A flexible spending account plan can only have one of the provisions and not both of them

  • Employers can decide to have none of the above provisions in the flexible spending account plan


Pros of a Flexible Spending Account


Employees can enjoy various benefits through having an FSA account as follows:


  • Funds are available at any time – You can use the amount you pledged as soon as you enroll for the plan

  • Taxable income gets lowered – The contribution you make to your flexible saving account is untaxed. As a result, the salary you get at the end of the month is more than it could have been without an FSA

  • FSA covers what is not in your health insurance – Medical care expenses like over-the-counter drugs, travel vaccines, or preventative testing that is not in your usual health insurance get covered by your FSA contributions


Cons of a Flexible Savings Account 


Contributing to a flexible spending account can have its risks. For example, you stand to lose if your employer does not give a provision for rolling over some money or a grace period to use up your benefits at the end of the plan year.


Your FSA account is dependent on your income. If you lose your job at any point, you will not be able to continue enjoying the benefit of the money you have been saving regularly. Your employer will retain your flexible spending account.


What You Need to Do


As an employee, it is crucial to read the enrollment documents carefully. Do not be quick to make hasty decisions. Ensure you fully use your benefits if you get convinced that a flexible savings account is the right choice. Do not wait until your plan gets close to expiring to start panicking. Know the healthcare benefits you are eligible for and make good use of them.


For more on maximizing your benefits, contact Eye Care Center at our offices in Fridley, Maple Grove, or Maplewood, Minnesota. You can also call (763) 308-8440, (763) 420-6981, or (651) 777-3555 to book an appointment today.

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