Flexible Spending Accounts Can Be Used for Laser LASIK and Other Eye Care
With the year more than half complete, Abrams Eye Institute recommends that our patients begin planning for the rest of the year. This can include getting annual eye exams complete, getting back to school eye tests for kids done, or wrapping up the year with crystal clear vision from Laser LASIK. We also recommend our patients be mindful of taking care of these needs, and any others, with funds available through a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or a Cafeteria Plan.
For other patients, the second half of the year is time for open enrollment for employer benefits, with the opportunity to either stop or opt-into FSA or Cafeteria Plans. The team at Abrams shares a few insights about these plans, and their benefits, for those that need to use up available funds, or for those interested in adding them to their benefits packages for next year
What are Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or a Cafeteria Plan
A Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or a Cafeteria Plan is an employer-sponsored benefit that allows you to use pretax income on medical expenses. These expenses can include deductibles, co-payments and other charges not normally covered by medical insurance, such as Laser LASIK surgery. If you expect to incur medical expenses that will not be reimbursed by your health insurance plan, you should consider taking advantage of your employer’s FSA, if one is offered, as well as using available funds before the year concludes.
A Flexible Spending Account allows you to save money by reducing the amount of income tax you owe. The contributions made to the FSA are deducted from your paycheck before Federal, State, and Social Security taxes are calculated. The end result is that these contributions are never reported to the IRS as income, allowing you to save money. For example, if you put in $4,000 to cover the cost of LASIK, you could avoid paying up to $1,600 in taxes depending on your tax bracket. In other words, your LASIK treatment only costs $2,400, a huge savings.
How Does a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) Work?
At the beginning of the plan year (usually January 1st or July 1st), your employer will ask you how much you want to contribute for the year. Most employers set a maximum contribution level of around $5,000. You only have one opportunity to enroll, unless you have a change in your family status (marriage, divorce, birth of a child, or loss of a spouse’s insurance coverage). The yearly amount you designate is then deducted in equal installments from your paycheck each pay period and deposited into a special account. In order to receive reimbursement for eligible expenses, you are required to submit the provider’s receipt or a copy of the Explanation of Benefits from your insurance. The request for reimbursement must occur before the year-end deadline, otherwise you may actually lose the money.
What Types of Eye Care Expenses Are Eligible?
Any expense that is considered a medically related deductible expense by the IRS and is not reimbursable by your insurance plan can be reimbursed through a Flexible Spending Account. Costs that are typically included are laser vision correction, prescription drug co-payments and deductibles. Not all employers participate in FSA programs.
It is recommended that you check with your Human Resources Department to see if this type of plan is offered. You’ll need to do a little planning to decide how much you want to set aside from your paycheck to contribute for the year. If you put in more money than you need, it cannot be rolled over into the next year and you will lose it. For LASIK surgery, we recommend you that you have a consultation/screening with us to determine your candidacy, prior to setting aside any allocations to your FSA.
How Can Abrams Eye Institute Help?
Dr. Jack Abrams and the team at Abrams Eye Institute would be happy to help guide you through FSA and Cafeteria Plans, as related to your benefits. We can also help you with everything from simple eye exams to eye surgeries such as Laser LASIK and Laser Cataract Surgery. Find out how we can help today by calling 702-304-9494.