Do you still have money in your tax-saving medical flexible spending account (FSA)?
Don't waste it.
If your workplace benefits year ends on Dec. 31 and your employer doesn't offer you the Internal Revenue Service allowable grace period (until next March 15) or the new FSA rollover option, you need to spend all your medical account money or you'll lose it.
There are, of course, the perennial standbys:
- Doctor appointment and prescription co-pays;
- Vision treatments, such as a spare pair of glasses or Lasik to do away with the spectacles altogether; and
- Dental work like braces for your kiddos or, a la Tom Cruise, yourself.
Many medical, and FSA, costs: But there are lots of other medical costs that can be reimbursed from your medical spending account.
Record the miles you traveled to those doctor appoints or to pick up your prescriptions. Each mile for medical purposes in 2013 is, says the IRS, worth 24 cents.
Treat yourself to traditional medical alternatives, such as acupuncture or chiropractic sessions.
Get a dentist-fitted mouth guard to help ease the grinding of teeth you experience more as the holidays approach.
Stock up on over-the-counter medications as long as you get an Rx for them from your doctor. Ask your physician for scripts for pain killers to help alleviate holiday headaches, antacids that will make Aunt Mary's Christmas casserole edible and cold medications to fight off all the sniffles that are inevitable this time of year and after big family gatherings.
Get a flu shot in preparation for all the wonderful, but germy, nieces and nephews who'll be heading to your house.
Make sure you have hearing aid batteries so you don't have to yell at Uncle Harry unless you want to. Hey, no judging here. We all have at least one such relative.
Buy birth control and pregnancy tests in case the contraceptives don't work as planned.
Pick up a blood pressure monitor. Insert your own spouse, mother, father, in-laws, siblings, etc. reason here.
Find a good first aid kit because Christmas + kids + putting together toys + holiday adult libations + slicing turkeys and/or hams = greater than normal injury potential.
But wait, there's more: Those are just a few of the many FSA covered medical costs.
Ask your FSA administrator for a complete list of what your plan will reimburse. Most FSAs rely on the list of deductible medical expenses that begins on page 5 of IRS Publication 502.
Also check with your local pharmacy or its website. Retailers, both brick-and-mortar and online, usually tout FSA-eligible items this time of year and in many cases offer deals.
So add buying FSA items to your tax to-do-by-Dec.-31 list. Happy medical shopping!
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