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Should I Spend My FSA/HSA On Vision Expenses?

Should I Spend My FSA/HSA On Vision Expenses?

The rising cost of healthcare is an issue for everyone, no matter if you are insured through work or pay out of pocket for needed healthcare. Many individuals and families can find themselves in a tight spot when it comes to paying for medical care, and some of the first areas that take a backseat can be dental and eye care.

However, it is vital to protect your eyes and preserve your vision. Neglecting eye health can lead to degenerating vision and other issues.

Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) And Health Savings Accounts Are Great Choices For Paying Vision Expenses

Many people do not have vision insurance through work or a more extensive general health insurance plan but do have a workplace-associated FSA/HSA.

FSAs are special accounts that you can choose to put money into specifically to pay for out-of-pocket health care costs. There are limits on how much can be deposited into the plan yearly, but using an FSA can go a long way to helping ensure health care. 

A lot of people may not be aware that vision and eye care costs typically qualify as FSA-eligible expenses. These styles of accounts will cover most, if not all, eye care medical costs they may run into during a typical year, including:

  • Prescription Corrective Lenses
  • Frames
  • Prescription Sunglasses
  • Eye Exams
  • Prescription Contact Lenses
  • Reading Glasses
  • Eye Drops (OTC)

If you require particular medications or have other eye health expenses, you should check whether they are FSA or HSA-eligible. Certain medications can fall under these accounts' general medication allowances so long as a letter of medical necessity is provided by your general physician or a specialist.

Just like traditional vision insurance, FSA accounts are generally limited when it comes to covering more expensive medical costs. Many chronic conditions begin to put our eyesight at ever greater risk as we age. Issues like cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy require costly and ongoing treatment and are thus placed under general health insurance coverage.

Why You Should Use FSA And HSA For Vision Expenses

These special spending accounts are unique in that the money you put into them isn’t taxed, so you save a little bit each time you put money into the plan and use it. Opting to use these accounts for vision-related needs is the smart choice to maximize your benefits

For most individuals, an FSA/HSA account in and of itself will cover all regular vision expenses for the year without the need for any other out-of-pocket expenses. From the annual vision check, contact lenses, and eye drops all the way to an entirely new set of frames and prescription lenses, all paid for without getting double-taxed. 

And since these accounts tend to expire at the end of every year, you should use them before you lose them. So, if it is getting toward the end of the year and you still have an outstanding balance in your account, take the time to stock up on eye care essentials so that when the time comes, you are ready.

Some good things to have backups for are:

  • A backup pair of prescription frames or sunglasses you love in case yours are lost or broken
  • Lens cleaning wipes and solutions
  • Eyeglass screwdriver and repair kits
  • Contact lens cases

In order to use your vision insurance benefits, you will need an up-to-date prescription (usually within 12 months) from your eye doctor. If your prescription has expired, you will not be able to get new glasses or contact lenses.

Regardless of your prescription, getting your eyes checked annually is very important for your overall health. Even if you have 20/20 vision, comprehensive eye exams can detect signs of many serious health issues, such as pre-diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

And using your account funds is as simple as swiping the provider-issued FSA card. Whether at the store counter or doctor's office, just save the receipt for bookkeeping purposes. But that is it, easy, right? So, as we get to the end of yet another year, make sure you have used up your FSA/HSA and get in for your annual checkup.

Asheville Vision And Wellness

For Buncombe and surrounding counties in North Carolina, Asheville Vision and Wellness has the expertise, respect, and technology you can trust with your vision. If you have any concerns or questions regarding insurance, coverage options, or eye care costs, our knowledgeable staff can help answer your questions.

Since 1989, our staff has served the area using the latest science and medical treatments to keep your vision healthy. Our optometrists are certified in diagnosing, treating, and managing ocular disease with examinations customized just for your unique eye-care needs. We accept a wide variety of insurance plans and payment options.

If you have concerns about your eyesight or are overdue for an annual checkup, schedule an appointment online or call us at (828) 747-9260.