Did you know that you can use your Flexible Spending Account (FSA) to pay for weight loss surgery?
As you gear up for the new year, you might consider getting an FSA to pay for your inevitable out-of-pocket healthcare expenditures. By forecasting your anticipated healthcare needs now, you can take advantage of an FSA to get the healthcare you need while saving money.
Find out how to use your FSA to pay for weight loss surgery:
What are Flexible Spending Accounts?
Flexible Spending Accounts help you prepare for out-of-pocket medical, dental and vision expenses. FSAs are provided by some employers as part of a benefits package.
The advantage of using an FSA is that the amount you decide to contribute to your account is deducted from your income before taxes, reducing your taxable income and saving you money. Some employers also make contributions to their employees’ FSA.
The major drawback to an FSA is that you must “use or lose” the funds in your account by the end of the year. So you should be strategic about contributing enough to your FSA to cover your medical, dental and vision expenses without adding more.
Ask your employer if they provide an FSA plan.
How much should I set aside in my FSA?
Deciding the amount of funds to contribute to your FSA requires some planning and forecasting. Again, you only want to contribute as much as you expect to use over the course of the year, otherwise you will lose any unused funds.
While it is difficult, if not impossible, to hit upon the exact number figure of your out-of-pocket expenses for the year, you should nonetheless do your best to plan. Here is a helpful checklist to guide you:
- Make a list of your expected healthcare needs: Some items may include regular prescription drugs, doctor or specialist visits, and planned medical procedures such as childbirth. Also, account for two or three unexpected doctor visits due to illness.
- Assign an approximate dollar amount to each list item: Again, this will not be exact. But rely on your recent history and your insurance plan guide to approximate the dollar value for each item. For instance, depending on your insurance, you may be responsible for a co-pay when the visit the doctor for your annual checkup. Use that co-pay as a guide for the cost of your annual checkup.
- Plan for a surplus: No matter how well you plan, it is possible you will end up with excess funds in your account. Have an idea in mind of how you might use those surplus funds.
How can I spend my FSA funds?
There are a number of healthcare expenditures that are eligible for FSA spending. Among many others, these include:
- Prescription drugs
- Over-the-counter medicines
- Medical co-pays
- Labs (medical)
- Hospital fees
- Dental co-pays
- Vision co-pays
- Contact lenses and solution
- Certain procedures and surgery
Refer to this full list of eligible expenses.
Is weight loss surgery an FSA-eligible expense?
Yes. Weight loss programs, including weight loss surgery, are included in the list of FSA-eligible healthcare expenses. That means you can set aside funds at the beginning of 2017 for use in weight loss procedures.
As mentioned above, the amount you contribute to your FSA will be reduced from your taxable income, saving you money.
Do I qualify for FSA-eligible weight loss surgery?
To qualify for FSA-eligible weight loss program, the program must be a treatment for a specific disease diagnosed by a physician, such as obesity, hypertension or heart disease.
FSAs are a useful way to get the most healthcare bang for your buck. Plan now, and you can make good on your new year’s resolution to lose weight.