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Under the COVID-related tax relief acts, FSA plans were given greater flexibility in 2020 and 2021, with the assumption that employees would have more unused health FSA and dependent care assistant amounts. 

Some of the new legislation changes included the carryover of unused amounts from 2020 and 2021 plan years, extended grace periods for incurring claims, and even mid-year election changes for certain health FSA and dependent care assistance programs.

Perhaps now you’re left wondering what to do with your leftover 2021 FSA dollars. If you've been given an extension to spend the money, or your employer plans allow for rollover, don’t lose your hard-earned money by accidentally leaving it behind in your FSA account. We'll be discussing some of the products and services you can use your FSA funds on before your extension ends.

What is a flexible spending account (FSA)?

A flexible spending account, also known as an FSA, is an account where you can put aside pre-tax dollars for certain out-of-pocket health care costs. An FSA is set up through an employer's health benefits election.

  • FSA funds are readily available the day you enroll.
  • FSA funds can reduce your taxable income.
  • FSA funds can be used on prescription medication, medical equipment, and blood sugar test kits. You can also spend it on related doctor visits, over-the-counter cold and allergy medications, and other supplies like bandages.
  • Medical expenses can include dental expenses.

You can also include medical expenses you paid for your spouse, as long as you were married at the time your spouse received medical services.

Downside:

  • An FSA can only be established with your employer, which means if you leave your job you will lose your FSA funds. Technically, your employer owns the FSA.
  • FSAs work on a “use it or lose it” basis – if the funds are not spent by the end of your plan year, it will be lost unless your plan offers a grace period or rollover.

What is the difference between an FSA and HSA?

A health savings account, or HSA, works with a high-deductible health plan (HDHP), and you cannot be claimed as a dependent by anyone else if you want to have an HSA.

  • You can start an HSA account through your employer or independently so long as your have a HDHP to qualify.
  • You can’t contribute to an HSA and a traditional FSA in the same year.
  • Money put into HSA accounts can be rolled over year after year.
  • HSA plans may offer the option of investing your money to earn tax-free profits.
  • HSA funds can be used for eligible medical, dental and vision expenses for you, your spouse and your dependents.
  • HSA funds can be used on over-the-counter medicines, baby care, allergy medicines and supplies.

Downside:

A high-deductible health plan could be right for you if you don’t expect to visit the doctor for more than just routine visits. 

For 2022, a HDHP is any health plan with at least $1,400 deductible for a single person or $2,800 deductible for a family. The yearly out-of-pocket expenses can’t be more than $7,050 for an individual and $14,100 for a family.

What are the 2022 FSA and HSA contribution limits?

The 2022 Health FSA contribution cap was increased to $2,850, up from $2,750 in 2021. Employer plans may permit the carryover of unused health FSA amounts up to $570 or offer an extension of your funds up to two and half months into the new year.

The 2022 HSA limits is increased up to $3,650 for individuals and $7,300 for a family, up $100 from 2021. For those 55 and older, HSA catch-up contributions stayed the same at $1,000.

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FSA-eligible products

We’ve pulled together a list of FSA eligible products covered by your flexible spending account. In some cases, you can use your FSA card to purchase the products directly, or you can simply submit a claim to be refunded for many over-the-counter medicines and products. 

Maven Media Brands, LLC and respective content providers to this website may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website.

CareTouch Lens Wipes ($9.99; fsastore.com)

CareTouch Lens Wipes

Biofreeze Pain Relieving Roll-On ($13.99; fsastore.com)

Biofreeze Pain Relieving Roll-On

Nexcare No Hurt Self-Adherent Wrap ($3.99; fsastore.com)

Nexcare No Hurt Self-Adherent Wrap

Visine Red Eye Total Comfort ($8.99; fsastore.com)

Visine Red Eye Total Comfort

Neosporin Antibiotic Ointment ($11.99; fsastore.com)

Neosporin Antibiotic Ointment

Isopropyl Alcohol First Aid Wipe ($4.99; fsastore.com)

Isopropyl Alcohol First Aid Wipe

The Great Outdoors Bundle ($74.96; fsastore.com)

The Great Outdoors Bundle

Banana Boat Sunscreen Lip Balm ($2.99; fsastore.com)

Banana Boat Sunscreen Lip Balm

Dr. Scholl’s Pain Relief Orthotics ($15.99; fsastore.com)

Dr. Scholl’s Pain Relief Orthotics

Airplus Plantar Fascia Sleeve ($12.99; fsastore.com)

Airplus Plantar Fascia Sleeve

Aveeno Clear Complexion Face Moisturizer ($19.99; fsastore.com)

Aveeno Clear Complexion Face Moisturizer

Icy Hot Medicated Patch ($8.29; fsastore.com)

Icy Hot Medicated patch

KT Tape, 20 strips ($11.99; fsastore.com)

KT Tape, 20 strips

Moist and Dry Heating Pad ($32.00; fsastore.com)

Moist and Dry Heating Pad

Microwave Heat Pack for Knee & Shoulder ($39.99; fsastore.com)

Microwave Heat Pack for Knee & Shoulder

Vicks Digital Thermometer ($16.99; fsastore.com)

Vicks Digital Thermometer

Diabetes Bundle ($103.97, save 15% with code DBUNDLE15; fsastore.com)

Diabetes Bundle

First aid kit ($62.99; fsastore.com)

First aid kit

Prices are accurate and items are in stock at the time of publishing.