By Steven A. Nielsen
A Flexible Spending Account (FSA) helps pay for medical expenses not covered by insurance. With the costs of health insurance on the rise, this benefit offers great assistance to your financial bottom line.
A FSA is a voluntary benefit that enables individuals to have a predetermined, pre-tax dollar amount automatically withdrawn from their paychecks and put into a savings account. This account can be used to cover medical expenses such as co-pays, over-the-counter medicines and optional procedures, such as LASIK surgery. It can also be used to cover any portion of cataract or other eye surgeries not covered by insurance. The best way to know if your FSA can be used to cover these costs is by taking advantage of free consultations offered by many ophthalmologists and other eye care professionals.
During the consultation, not only will you learn whether or not you are a good candidate for the surgery in question, but you will also gain an understanding of what your insurance benefits will cover, and what you will be able to use the FSA for. With that valuable information, you can then make an informed financial decision regarding utilizing the FSA benefit.
Another important benefit of having a FSA is that you are saving as you go, a little at a time. Those savings build and before you know it, you have the funds necessary to cover the out-of-pocket expenses associated with an upcoming eye surgery. You have the peace of mind that comes from knowing that you have planned ahead. Typically by mid-December, employees must select their Flexible Spending Account benefits for the following year.
Enrolling in a Health Savings Account (HAS) is another option that may be offered by employers. A HAS is a tax-deferred, interest-bearing savings account used to pay for unreimbursed heath care expenses. Unlike an FSA, the funds in HSAs roll over from one year to the next and continue to accumulate year after year when not spent.
Just like FSAs, you may use your HSAs to cover all or part of the cost of LASIK or cataract procedures, and again, you have the peace of mind of knowing that you have planned ahead.
Dr. Steven A. Nielsen is the chief ophthalmologist at The Nielsen Eye Center. To schedule a consultation or examination with Dr. Nielsen, call 617-401-8542 daily between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Archives of articles from previous issues can be read at www.fiftyplusadvocate.com.