Use it or lose. That’s what owners of Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) face as the year comes to a close. Fortunately, many eyecare services and products—including prescription sunglasses, readers and second-pair glasses—available from The Cleveland Eye Clinic are eligible for FSA and HSA spending.
Employees and the self-employed without health insurance, and/or who have high-deductible plans, use the HSA option to save money for medical, dental and vision expenses. The deposits they make are pre-tax and carried over from year to year. In 2018, up to $3,450 of tax-free deposits could be socked away in an individual HSA.
Many employers who provide health insurance coverage also offer the FSA option. Pre-tax dollars are deposited in the account throughout the year to bridge the gap between actual expenses and what their health care plan covers. These funds must be used by the end of the calendar year or they will be lost. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) permits up to $2,650 in pre-tax deposits to your FSA.
The Cleveland Eye Clinic urges all owners of these accounts to immediately check for any balance in their FSA account and use that money to take care of vision needs. Timing is critical, both in using the funds by the end of 2018 and getting an appointment at a Cleveland Eye Clinic location before the end of the calendar year.
Because these plans typically issue a debit card tied to the FSA or HSA account, spending your remaining dollars is easy and convenient at Cleveland Eye Clinic locations, which accept this form of payment. Typically, you will not need to complete claim forms in order to use YOUR money.
Even if you purchased new eyewear and/or optometry/ophthalmology services in 2018, there are numerous ways you can spend remaining HSA/FSA money to improve your vision. The Cleveland Eye Clinic suggests looking into these products that can make a big difference in your daily life:
- Prescription sunglasses. You don’t have to contend with clip-ons or compromise your vision when driving with your prescription glasses.
Glare resulting from the sun reflecting off snow and wet/icy roads makes driving miserable and compromises everybody’s safety. Chances are, you find yourself trying to shield your prescription lenses in these glare-producing environments, distracting you from driving or enjoying outdoor activities. Prescription sunglasses make you a master of your environment—glare and brightness are reduced while preserving the vision correction provided by prescription lenses. Many HSA and FSA owners are surprised to learn that both the frames and lenses of prescription sunglasses are allowed expenditures under the IRS regulations for these accounts.
The Cleveland Eye Clinic’s optical center staff can help you select a pair designed for your outdoor-vision challenges, whether its lounging on the beach, snowmobiling or a miserable early morning/evening commute. With a pair of prescription sunglasses in your glove compartment or bag, you’ll always be ready for whatever challenges old Sol throws your way!
- A second pair of prescription glasses. Want a new look that’s as easy as putting on your glasses? Consider using your remaining FSA/HSA dollars to invest in prescription glasses with frames that give you a completely different look from your 9-to-5 persona. Cleveland Eye Clinic optical centers have thousands of frame options to choose from. It’s amazing how a different pair of frames can change your look and make you feel better about yourself—especially when you’ve paid for them with pre-tax dollars!
- Insurance against lost/broken glasses. A second set of prescription glasses provides great peace of mind if your primary pair becomes broken or lost. Accidents happen; make sensible use of your healthcare dollars and purchase a backup pair from Cleveland Eye Clinic for both peace of mind and wise use of your FSA/HSA savings dollars. Contact lens users can likewise have peace of mind by having an extra set or two on hand.
- Reading and computer glasses. Give your eyes the full field of corrected vision when working on your computer, reading, building that model or spending extended time on your mobile device. The Cleveland Eye Clinic optical staff can suggest special lens coatings to provide optimized vision for these activities. FSA/HSA funds are a wise expenditure for this great lifestyle enhancement.
These are just a few of the ways you can use YOUR money as an investment in better vision. An end-of-year vision exam, contact lenses and Clear Choice Laser services are other options. For a comprehensive FSA healthcare checklist, visit the wageworks.com website, then call Cleveland Eye Clinic for an appointment.