Making the Most of Your HSA or FSA Year-End Balance
As the end of the year approaches, you may be evaluating your healthcare options and looking for the best possible fit in coverage for the coming year. You may also have a balance left in your yearly HSA or FSA account that you’re looking to invest back in your overall health. We put together some information about FSA and HSA accounts: what they are, how they work, and how you can use them to access helpful tools like the Nima Sensor.
What’s an HSA or FSA?
A healthcare Flexible Spending Account, or FSA, is a benefit account that patients can use to pay for medical expenses that aren’t covered by their healthcare plan. It’s not a form of insurance; instead, it helps cover out-of-pocket health care costs that aren’t covered by your insurance, and it does so pre-tax.
Similar to an FSA, a Health Savings Account, or HSA, is a tax-advantaged account for people who have high-deductible health plans (HDHPs), or plans with higher deductibles and lower premiums than most plans. HSAs are designed to help patients save for medical expenses that their HDHPs don’t cover. When used strategically, HSAs and FSAs can help patients save a lot of money by allowing them to cover their healthcare costs tax-free or at a tax-advantaged rate.
There are plenty of resources on the web if you’re shopping for health coverage and deciding between an FSA or an HSA, or deciding whether either option is right for you. Zenefits compiled a wealth of information into a blog post about which type of account might be more advantageous depending on a person’s marital status, age, health history, and other important factors. You might also want to check out these posts by Forbes, Nerdwallet, or US News for more info.
Getting the most out of your HSA or FSA
With many of these accounts, there’s a year-end deadline to use funds in your account. The deadline is usually December 31st, but it varies from plan to plan. According to a CNBC article, companies can either offer a two-and-a-half months’ grace period to use your funds in the new year, or they can allow you to carry $500 over, but they can’t do both. As the year winds down, it’s the ideal time to take stock of your FSA or HSA balance and make sure you use any funds that you’ll lose in 2019.
While patients can’t pay for Nima with their HSA or FSA card directly, some patients with a Celiac Disease or Peanut Allergy diagnosis are able to get their purchase reimbursed from their account. Our Help article “Can I get reimbursed for my Nima purchase through my FSA or HSA account?” has step-by-step instructions for reimbursing your Nima purchase.
You’ll need to fill out a “Letter of Medical Necessity” form on your FSA plan’s website and send it to the doctor who diagnosed you. Once you’ve received your doctor’s approval, you can mail the form to you card plan’s administrator, at which point it can take up to two weeks for them to add the form to your file. Once the file is added, you can apply for a reimbursement on the company’s website. With the deadline for using the balance of your spending account fast approaching, it’s time to look into products and services that your account will cover that improve your overall health and wellness. Or, if you don’t currently have a FSA / HSA account, you may want to consider adding it on to your health plan in the new year.