Creative ways to spend my Medical flex account $

Long story short, my husband had $1000 withheld from his paycheck the last year for our medical flex spending account. I received notice the other day that we haven’t been reimbursed for anything and if we don’t use it by 3/31, we lose it. I’ve only been able to dig up $150 in receipts, though we spent far more on prescriptions this year. I didn’t save the receipts for reimbursement because I thought we’d depleted the account to pay for my daughter’s braces. Turns out that was last fiscal. (Who does a April-March fiscal??)

Aside from having my daughters visit the optometrist and get new prescription glasses, can anyone suggest some creative, yet legal, ways to spend $850 in the next 3 weeks?

FYI, both my husband and I have already gotten our eyes lasered.

Thanks for any advice.

Can you get a doctor to say you need a spa day for health reasons? :slight_smile:

In all seriousness, though, sometimes massages can count towards “medical expenses”, so maybe look into that?

OTC meds might be covered. We once bought $400 worth of Tylenol, Benadryl, electric ear thermometer w/covers, Prilosec OTC, and pretty much anything else we might use.

If you go to the drugstore & ask, they will likely be able to give you a list of every prescription you bought & how much you paid for it. It will be accepted by your FSA administrator. If you used your bonus card, they may also be able to give you a list of non prescription items you bought, many of which qualify for FSA reimbusement. has a whole FSA Section…anything you like there?

Ours covered dental visits, too. That’s certainly a good way to drop some cash.

If it covers this sort of thing:

OB/GYN visit
Colonoscopy (if you’re of age for that coverage)

Our insurance offers this flex spending account, too. I was under the impression that you get the best bang for your buck if you have some sort of chronic illness; people who don’t have medical issues that require frequent maintenance don’t really benefit. Any truth to that?

Are you sure you can buy stuff now and use last year’s money to pay for it?

The way my flexible spending account works is by calendar year - they give you until 3/31 of the following year to present receipts for eligible stuff you bought in the previous calendar year. If yours works like mine, then anything you buy now would not be eligible - only stuff you purchased from 1/1/2006 to 12/31/2006.

I’d do what ethelbert suggests - go to your drugstore and get a printout of all the Rxs you purchased in 2006 and submit that total for reimbursement.

Kalhoun, you’ve probably heard what you heard because you have to guesstimate how much money you are going to use for medical expenses over the year prior to the beginning of the year and then request that amount of money to be withheld in the flex account. It’s easier to do that if you have chronic medical needs, since you have an idea of how often you are going to need to visit the doctor and how much you are going to spend on meds for the issue. It’s harder if you are healthy and get no Rxs - you could spend almost nothing in a year or find out you have cancer and spend a boatload of money. Underestimating is not that big a deal (except in the fact that the money is taken out of your paycheck before taxes, thus giving you a bit of a ‘discount’ on your medical needs), but if you overestimate and then don’t use up the rest of the money in the flex account by the end of the calendar year, you lose the money.

Well, certainly if you have a Chronic condition, you benefit more than others, but things like dental visits (2 time per year, plus any dental work), eye exams, non-prescription meds (tylenol, nyquil), vitamins, band-aids, other first-aid type things.

Lots of stuff is FSA reimbursable that you probably don’t realize. Check out the links above to see some of the things.

I have a chronic condition and my wife is going to have a baby this year, so we put 1500 in ours, and probably will spend more than that. The baby alone will be a 500 co-pay for the hospital visit.

Looks like the OP’s plan year is the same as mine 4/1 - 3/31 instead of a calendar year. So we can keep spending till 3/31 and continue to submit expenses through 6/30 for items we purchased during the plan year. For us, it’s not “last year’s money” it’s still this year’s.

Go see your dermatologist? I bet he can think of all kinds of laser treatments for you, no matter who you are.

Okay…maybe you can expand on exactly why a person would want to do this. Do you get some kind of a discount if you put your med budget money in the account? Why wouldn’t I want to put my extra money in a 5% savings account and just pay my deductible and co-pay out of that? I don’t like the idea of possibly losing my money because I didn’t have time to do regular maintenance within the prescribed time period. I guess I really don’t understand what the benefit would be to giving them my money to use, interest-free.

You don’t pay income tax on the money in your FSA. The money comes out of your paycheck before taxes and isn’t counted as income. So, that saves you 25% (depending on your tax bracket) compared to paying for your medical expenses with post-tax money.

Aaaahhhh…that makes sense. We spend so little on medical care that it really wouldn’t be worth it. I bet we don’t spend $500 in a year. But it’s good to know we can defer if we need to!

You have a lot to use up, but I had to spend about $300 at the end of a year once. I bought a lot of over the counter stuff, plus stocked up on contacts and solution. Some kinds of vitamins and birth control are eligible. Dental work is an easy way to blow $800 but I don’t know if cosmetic work counts. Maybe whitening or something? Try to buy stuff that has a long shelf life - I have things in my medicine closet that are still left over from that year, it was kind of a nice way to stock up on supplies actually. I have a virtual pharmacy at the ready now, which is nice when you wake up at 2 am with whatever ailment.

If you had treatments or procedures done that were eligible but just didn’t save the receipts, you might still be able to get receipts from your Dr.'s office or maybe even pharmacy? It’s worth a call to ask.

Yes. The money is exempt from all taxes, - state, federal and FICA. So it’s sort of like getting a discount on your medical costs.

crazyjoe, that fiscal year is just … weird.


Very few perscription plans cover even part of the cost of Viagra (Damn you SPAM!!!). :smiley:

Look, its not like you’d be screwing the insurance company out of anything…

Buy $1000 worth of condoms on 3/30. Return them all unopened on 4/1.