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If you still have some money left in your annual flexible spending account (FSA)—which allows people with workplace health insurance to put up to $2,650 in pretax dollars away and then spend them on certain medical expenses—the deadline for using or losing those dollars may be coming up at the end of this month.
But while most companies' FSA plans have a hard deadline of Dec. 31, others might allow you an additional two-and-a-half months to empty the account or let you carry over up to $500 to the following year. If you’re unsure of your plan’s rules, check with your employer.
If your plan does run out soon, be aware that you can use your FSA for more than copays, deductibles, out-of-network care payments, and prescriptions.
Various over-the-counter items may also qualify. While eyeglasses and contact lenses can typically be bought with FSA money, other permitted items may vary from plan to plan—so check the details of yours. (And, of course, remember to keep your receipts so that you can submit them for reimbursement from your FSA account.)
Here, five surprising types of products that are often FSA-eligible.
Blood Pressure Monitors
Consumer devices meant to diagnose disease are usually approved for FSA reimbursement, and that includes blood pressure monitors. If your doctor has recommended that you use a blood pressure monitor—to keep an eye on the effect of blood pressure medications, for example—consider using your FSA dollars to buy one. Here are a few of our top-rated blood pressure monitors.
The cost of hearing aids isn’t necessarily covered by insurance, including Medicare. But you may be able to use FSA dollars to help with at least some of the costs of aids if you need them. Members can check out our ratings to find the best hearing aid brands.
If you’re headed out on a tropical winter getaway, you may be able to use your FSA to buy the sunscreen that will protect you from the sun's rays. Opt for a product with at least 30 SPF, and see some of our top-rated picks, below.
Women’s Health Products
Several health-related items for women can usually be purchased using FSA dollars. These include pregnancy test kits, breast pumps, and other lactation accessories (though not the cost of extra bottles for storage). The account can also be used toward the cost of fertility treatments, for families trying to become pregnant.
First Aid Supplies
Take a look at the first aid kit you keep inside your home or car. Does it need to be restocked? You may be able to use your FSA to pay for bandages and other first aid items.
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