Where Can I Use My FSA Card?
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Paying for healthcare expenses out of pocket can be a huge burden, especially if you are dealing with a chronic illness.
According to various studies, medical expenses are the leading cause of bankruptcy in the United States.
But if you have an FSA card, you can use it to help cover eligible health expenses.
What Is an FSA Card?
A flexible spending account (FSA) card is a special debit card that allows you to pay for approved healthcare expenses using the pre-tax money you’ve contributed to your FSA account.
Think of it as using a standard debit card, but rather than drawing from a bank account, the money is deducted from your FSA account balance.
With an FSA card, you can avoid having to manually file claims and wait for reimbursements. Instead, when you incur a qualified expense at a healthcare provider, pharmacy, or store, you simply swipe your FSA card to deduct the amount directly from your account balance.
How Do FSA Cards Work?
FSAs are employer-sponsored benefits that allow you to set aside a portion of your pay pre-tax to cover anticipated healthcare costs throughout the year
So when you sign up for an FSA card, your employer is the one who sets up the flexible spending account. You, on the other hand, decide how much you want to contribute to the FSA. Typically, FSAs allow you to contribute up to $3050 per year.
The amount you decide on is then deducted from your salary before income taxes, reducing your taxable income and saving you money on taxes.
If you don’t spend the money in your account by the end of the plan year, you may forfeit the remaining balance.
Some plans offer a grace period or allow a small amount to be carried over into the next year, but this varies by plan.
Remember, when you use your FSA card, make sure to keep all receipts for your FSA purchases, as your plan administrator may require proof that the expenses were eligible.
If you incur an expense that cannot be paid for directly with the card, you can submit a claim to your FSA administrator for reimbursement.
What Can I Pay For With My FSA Card?
Common eligible expenses include:
- Doctor visits and co-pays
- Prescription drugs and medications
- Dental work
- Vision care
- Chiropractic services
- Hearing aids and batteries
- Mental health services
- Insurance copayments and deductibles
- Breast pumps for nursing mothers
- Sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher)
- Menstrual care products
Be sure to check with your FSA provider for a full list of eligible expenses.
What Can’t I Pay For With My FSA Card?
Unfortunately, FSA cards have some limitations. Some key expenses you cannot pay with your FSA card include:
- Personal care items: cosmetic items and general grooming products like makeup, skin creams, and hair growth products.
- Non-prescribed vitamins and supplements: vitamins, protein powders, probiotics, and other supplements must be recommended by a doctor to qualify for FSA payment.
- Insurance premiums: health insurance premiums cannot be paid with an FSA card.
- Non-medical services: things like child care, home repairs, pet care, and financial services.
Where Can I Use My FSA Card?
Some of the most common places you can use your FSA card include:
Most doctor’s offices, clinics, and medical facilities accept FSA cards for co-pays, deductibles, and other eligible expenses during your visit. This includes general practitioners, pediatricians, specialists, urgent care clinics, and more.
Any hospital visits, procedures, medical services, or payments can be covered by your FSA card, including ER visits, surgery co-pays, and hospital stays.
FSA cards are accepted at dentist offices for exams, cleanings, fillings, x-rays, crowns, braces, and any other dental treatment.
Eye Doctors & Optometrists
You can pay for your eye exams, prescription eyeglasses, contact lenses, solutions, and other vision expenses with your FSA card at any optometry office or vision care retailer.
You can use your FSA card when filling prescriptions at any pharmacy, including major chains, grocery stores, big-box retailers, independent pharmacies, and mail-order pharmacies.
Many major retailers allow FSA cards to be used for eligible OTC health items like bandages, glucometers, reading glasses, menstrual care products, and more. Check your plan for qualified OTC expenses you can pay for with your FSA card.
Additional FSA Card Accepted Providers
In addition to the places mentioned earlier, you can use your FSA card at hearing care centers for hearing aids and assisted listening devices. Therapeutic centers for physical therapy, occupational therapy, or speech therapy also accept FSA cards.
With increasingly more mental healthcare and wellness centers accepting FSA cards, self-care has become more accessible. You can now pay for counseling, psychotherapy, and addiction treatment directly with your FSA card.
Alternative treatments such as acupuncture, homeopathy, and sometimes even nutritional counseling can also be eligible for FSA payment, subject to your provider’s policy.
Online medical and wellness retailers like FSA Store cater specifically to FSA users.
What Should I Do If My FSA Card Gets Lost or Stolen?
It’s imperative that you let your FSA provider know as soon as you realize your card is missing. You can do this online, or you can call them directly.
Once you report your card missing, the provider will deactivate it. At this point, depending on the provider, you might automatically get a new one, or you may need to request one.
While you’re waiting for your new card, take some time to check over your recent transactions. If you see any charges that don’t look right, notify your FSA provider immediately.
Once your new card arrives, make a habit of regularly checking your account. This way, you’ll notice right away if anything seems out of place in the future.
FSA Card Tips
If you want to use your FSA card to the fullest, follow these tips:
- Check your FSA account balance often. This allows you to track your spending and avoid overspending your FSA funds. Most FSA providers have online portals and mobile apps that make checking your balance easy.
- Save all of your FSA receipts and documentation. Even if a charge goes through, you may still need to submit supporting documentation later on. Having receipts readily available will make the process smoother.
- Note your FSA card’s expiration date and use it before then. Unspent FSA funds often can’t be carried over to the next year. But this depends on your employer. So make sure to maximize the use of your FSA card if this option is not available to you.
- For large or questionable purchases, consider paying out-of-pocket first. Get reimbursed from your FSA afterwards to avoid any chance of having your card declined. Reimbursement is easy with most FSA providers.
- Contact your FSA administrator with any FSA card issues right away. Don’t wait to report a lost or stolen card.
- Keep track of what expenses you’ve already paid with your FSA card. Avoid accidentally “double-dipping” on the same purchase with both your FSA card and another form of payment.
- Be aware that some merchants don’t accept FSA cards, so have a backup payment method handy. Common places like gas stations, discount retailers, and grocery stores are more likely to accept FSA cards.
Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) offer valuable tax advantages and hassle-free spending for a wide range of healthcare and wellness services. However, they come with specific rules and limitations. It’s essential to review your plan’s details and stay informed about what is eligible for FSA spending.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long After Depositing Funds onto My FSA Card Can I Start Using It?
Once your employer has deducted funds from your paycheck and deposited them into your FSA, those funds are typically available for use immediately. However, this may vary slightly based on your FSA provider’s policies. Always check with your provider to understand your specific plan details
Do I Need to Submit Receipts When I Use My FSA Card?
In most cases, yes. Your FSA administrator will likely require you to submit receipts as proof the expenses were eligible. Check your plan details, as some may not require receipts for recurring expenses like copays.
What If My FSA Card Is Declined at Checkout?
If your FSA card is declined, the expense may not be eligible, or you may have already exhausted your FSA balance for the year. You’ll need to pay out of pocket and then submit the receipt with a reimbursement claim.
What’s the Deadline for Using FSA Funds Each Year?
The deadline for using up your FSA funds is typically at the end of your plan year. Money left in your account after that date is forfeited, so be sure to use your FSA card for eligible expenses before the deadline.
Can I Add More Funds to My FSA Card Mid-Year?
Once your annual contribution is determined, it cannot be changed unless you experience a qualifying life event, such as marriage, birth of a child, or loss of other health coverage. Check with your FSA provider or HR department to understand what constitutes a qualifying life event under your specific plan.