A Flexible Spending Account (FSA) provides you with a debit card that gives you access to an account that is set up along with your health insurance. With this account, you can elect to have pre-tax dollars from your paycheck directly deposited into it. You can then use those dollars to purchase or pay for any qualifying medical costs.
First, there are a couple of significant benefits:
- Reduces how much you pay in taxes.
One of the benefits of using an FSA is that there is a reduction in how much taxes you pay. You don't pay taxes on any money that is deposited into your FSA account from your paycheck. What is especially important is to spend all the FSA money on any qualifying expenses within the required period. Otherwise, you will losing the money completely.
- You cover medical costs.
By using your FSA account to cover any medical expenses, you are reducing the amount of taxes you end up paying. Also, because the money is deposited in small increment amounts with each paycheck, it lightens the burden of health care costs you may run into throughout the year. So, whatever you save and deposit into your FSA savings account now, you will be able to use for any upcoming costs that come up later on this year
How does it work?
Most people obtain an FSA account through their employer's health plans. However, if you do not receive this benefit through your employer, you may also purchase this as an option through the health care marketplace when you get insurance. Even though this option is made available to you, you still must sign up for it. This program is not an automatic part of your medical insurance coverage.
After enrolling, you decide how much of your pre-tax income you will be contributing to your account. However, remember that the IRS limits you to $2,650 per year. Your spouse can also contribute this same amount to their FSA account.
Paying for Essential Medical Expenses
Once your FSA has funding, you can use it to pay for any eligible medical expenses or purchase products. You use your FSA card like a debit or credit card, whether in the store, doctor's office, or shopping online. Whatever you pay with your FSA card, it must be an eligible expense and keep all of your receipts. Any services that involve your doctor or health care provider qualify, but refer to the official IRS list. Some of the items that can be paid for with your FSA card include any payments to doctors or hospitals, medication that has been subscribed by a doctor, insulin, medical equipment, vision care, and more. You can purchase any CPAP equipment with your FSA account too.If you aren't sure how to start your FSA account, or how it works, reach out to your employer or insurance provider for more information.