Posted by Kara McGuire
Last update: March 11, 2011 – 4:54 PM
Add: “Deplete the flexible spending account” to your weekend “to-do” list. Tuesday is absolutely the last day to spend all of the pre-tax money you set aside from last year’s paycheck to lessen your out-of-pocket cost for some medical expenses.
Because any cash that’s not spent by then is forfeited, many consumers head to the drug store at this time of year to stock up the medicine cabinet. However, changes included in the health care legislation passed last year have increased restrictions on what you can and can’t buy with your flexible spending account cash.
You used to be able to buy cold medicines, pain relievers and a host of other over-the-counter products. But on January 1, many over-the-counter medicines became ineligible for purchase using flexible spending account dollars without a doctor’s prescription.
FSAStore.com has a complete list of products that do and don’t need a doctor’s note.The site estimates that $400 million will be lost in these use-it-or-lose-it accounts this year. Unspent money goes to your employer.
Savesmartspendhealthy.com is also chock full of ideas for using this cash, including stories from real people about how the accounts have saved them money.
If you don’t currently have an account and would like to better understand how much money you could save if you sign up for one during your company’s open enrollment period, check out this FSA calculator.