Flexible Spending Accounts and Laser Vision Correction

If you have a flexible spending account and are considering laser vision correction, now is the time to take advantage of it!

A flexible spending account (FSA) allows an employee to set aside pre-tax dollars to cover qualified out-of-pocket healthcare expenses.  Qualified expenses include laser vision correction.  These contributions are not subject to payroll taxes, which can result in substantial savings.  Here’s how it works.  Employees are either given an FSA debit card which they can use to pay directly for services using their FSA funds, or they pay out of pocket and then submit a receipt to their employer for reimbursement from their FSA account.

Currently, there is no legal limit to what employees can contribute to their FSA and 78% of large employers set it at $5,000 or higher.[i]  Starting in 2013, when the Affordable Care Act kicks in, the maximum annual FSA contribution for each employee will be capped at $2,500.[ii]  This cap goes into effect based on the calendar year of your particular plan.  Here’s something else to think about:  An earlier version of the Affordable Care Act plan called for eliminating FSA’s altogether, and this could come up again.[iii]

There is also a deadline for making contributions to an FSA plan.  For most plans that deadline is between October and December for the following calendar year.  This means you would have to contribute in 2012 in order to have access to the funds in 2013. Be sure to ask your plan’s administrator, which would typically be your human resources director, what the deadline is for your particular plan.  Another important aspect of an FSA is the “use-it-or-lose-it” rule.  This means unused money left in the account at the end of the calendar year for the plan is forfeited.  This is especially important for those of you who are considering using flex spending dollars for laser vision correction.  If you deposit money into your FSA account for LASIK or PRK, and are not a suitable candidate, you will either lose that money or be forced to find creative ways to spend it on healthcare.  Therefore, it’s best to have a consultation to determine your candidacy for laser vision correction, or any elective procedure, before making a contribution to your FSA plan.

The good news is our consultations at Mandel Vision are FREE and extremely informative!  So, you have nothing to lose by scheduling your laser vision correction consultation with Dr. Mandel.  Better yet, you could save yourself a very costly mistake!  Call our office at 212-734-0111 today to schedule your free consultation.

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