Watercooler: Year-end tips for your flexible spending account

The Kansas City Star

Published: December 22, 2012 10:42PM
Updated: December 22, 2012 10:40PM

As the year winds down, do you have funds remaining in your flexible spending account for health care? Or have you spent more than you put into the account?

Either way, you have company. Only 16 percent of flexible spending account users contribute the right amount, according to the “2012 Aflac WorkForces Report” released this month.

If you overestimated your health-care spending and still have pre-tax FSA funds remaining, here are some tips from Audrey Boone Tillman, executive vice president of corporate services at Aflac:

Schedule an annual checkup • If you haven’t seen them this year, visit your primary-care physician, optometrist, dentist, dermatologist, gynecologist or other health-care provider.

Buy, buy, buy • Get another pair of eyeglasses, prescription sunglasses, contact lenses or other eligible medical aids or devices.

Don’t forget eligible health-care items • These include first aid kits; contact lens solution; a thermometer; neck, wrist or joint braces; and pain relievers.

If you’ve already spent more on health-care expenses than you allocated to your account, Tillman has these suggestions:

Keep your receipts • Your tax adviser might recommend that you can take some 2012 tax deductions for expenses that weren’t covered by your FSA.

Track your out-of-pocket costs • Knowing what they actually were this year can help you do a better job estimating what those expenses might be next year.