If you have a flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA) you probably already know that they can be put toward things like hospital visits, prescription medications, and dental work. But did you know you can also use these accounts to pay for prescription sunglasses and other eligible eyewear? Learn more about HSA and FSA benefits below.
What Is an FSA?
If you have health insurance through your place of employment, you can use an FSA to set aside money for certain out-of-pocket healthcare costs. In some cases, your employer may also contribute money to your FSA. Generally, FSAs have a use-it-or-lose-it policy, which means that you have to use up your dollars by your FSA deadline. Depending on your company’s policy, items such as prescription eyeglasses and contact lenses may be FSA eligible.
By using an FSA to pay for medical expenses, you effectively save money equal to the amount of tax you would have paid on the deposit if you had put that money aside in a standard savings account.
What Is an HSA?
An HSA is another type of savings’ account that lets you set aside money to pay for qualified medical expenses without being taxed. The biggest difference between an HSA and FSA is that HSAs are owned by you and not your employer. Money put into your HSA does not expire and can roll over to the following year.
In general, HSAs are more flexible than FSAs. Holders of an HSA can use an HSA debit card to pay for medical expenses, and do not need to submit receipts to prove what the money was spent on. This makes dealing with healthcare expenses a much simpler process.
As long as you have a vision prescription, you can use your HSA or FSA on the following eyecare expenses:
- Prescription eyeglasses, including reading glasses, progressive multifocals, and bifocals
- Prescription sunglasses
- Contact lenses and any related cleaning solutions
- Safety goggles or sports masks with prescription lens
- Eye exams
- Vision correction surgeries
While it’s always best to check your policy, a general rule of thumb is that an HSA or FSA can be used to pay for any form of prescription eyewear. If the item that you wish to purchase has been prescribed by an optician or optometrist with the aim of improving your vision, it will most likely qualify as an allowable FSA or HSA expense.
What are the benefits of using your FSA or HSA?
Because HSAs and FSAs are tax-exempt accounts used to offset the cost of healthcare, every dollar you put into them can pay for eligible expenses, tax-free. And since some vision-related expenses are not covered by health insurance, you can save money by using your HSA or FSA to cover those costs.
How to use your FSA or HSA funds on eyewear?
Schedule an appointment with your vision care provider to make sure your vision prescription is accurate. Then place your order and use your HSA or FSA card like a credit card to pay. If you don’t have a card, you’ll need to pay using a different method, and then submit a claim of reimbursement. Check with your FSA to find out what documentation will be needed to file the claim. You can expect reimbursement for your costs typically within 10-14 days.
In order to use your FSA or HSA for contact lenses or eyeglasses, you must obtain a prescription from an eye doctor stating that they are needed to correct a vision problem. If you don’t have a prescription or need to update your current one, schedule an eye exam at one of our eight CustomEyes stores in and around Chicago!
We are your local eye care company that has been operating in Chicago since 2003. Our goal is to always provide you with the best possible solution for your unique needs, and make you feel as comfortable as possible.
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