Use It or Lose It

Use It or Lose It

It’s that time of the year to start assessing your HSA and FSA accounts. You might be getting reminders from your healthcare providers like “use it or lose it.”

A HSA, or Health Savings Account, is an untaxed account you add money to. A FSA, or Flexible Savings Account, is another untaxed account you can add money to. Unlike a HSA, a FSA can be utilized for more than just healthcare applications. However, that money will also expire. It will not rollover into the new year. 

Here are some alternative ways to use your FSA, so you don’t lose out on that money you contributed:

Dental Care

  • Of course we have to mention this as number one! Dental treatments are absolutely coverable by FSA.

Acupuncture and Alternative Therapies:

  • Many alternative therapies, such as acupuncture, chiropractic services, and certain alternative medicine treatments, may be eligible for FSA reimbursement. Check your plan details for specific coverage.

Medical Travel Expenses:

  • If you need to travel for medical purposes, such as seeking specialized treatment or getting a second opinion, certain travel expenses may be eligible for reimbursement. This can include transportation, lodging, and meals.

Sunscreen and Sunblock:

  • Some FSAs cover the cost of sunscreen with a high SPF as a qualified expense. This is especially relevant if the sunscreen is prescribed by a healthcare provider for a specific medical condition.

Weight Loss Programs:

  • Certain weight loss programs may be eligible for reimbursement if they are recommended by a healthcare provider to treat a specific medical condition such as obesity or hypertension.

Medical Equipment for Special Needs:

  • Some specialized medical equipment or devices for individuals with special needs may be eligible for FSA reimbursement. This could include items like certain types of adaptive equipment.

Laser Eye Surgery:

  • Corrective eye surgery, such as LASIK, may be eligible for reimbursement from your FSA. Be sure to check with your FSA administrator for specific details.

Genetic Testing:

  • Some genetic testing or screening recommended by a healthcare provider may be considered an eligible expense. This could include tests for conditions with a strong family history.

Smoking Cessation Programs:

  • Expenses related to smoking cessation programs, such as prescribed medications or counseling, may be eligible for reimbursement from your FSA.

Breast Pump and Supplies:

  • The cost of a breast pump and certain breastfeeding supplies may be eligible for reimbursement. This is especially relevant for nursing mothers returning to work.

Braille Books and Magazines:

  • If you or a dependent are visually impaired, the cost of Braille books and magazines may be eligible for reimbursement.

Health-Related Apps:

  • Some health-related apps or programs designed to treat or alleviate medical conditions may be eligible for reimbursement. Check with your FSA administrator for specific details.

Medical Conferences:

  • If attending a medical conference is related to a specific medical condition or treatment, expenses such as registration fees and travel costs may be eligible for reimbursement.


  • If a doctor prescribes a wig due to hair loss from a medical condition, the cost may be eligible for reimbursement.


  • Some plans may allow daycare expenses to be paid for.

“Use it or lose it” can be a stressful time, but hopefully you are able to use these tips before the end of the year. If you have questions about starting or utilizing these options, you should speak with a trusted financial advisor. Also, be sure to book any appointments in advance, as other families are trying to use up their FSA aswell.



An FSA (Flexible Spending Account) and an HSA (Health Savings Account) are both types of tax-advantaged accounts in the United States that can be used to save money for qualified healthcare expenses. However, they have some key differences:

Eligibility and Ownership:

    • FSA: FSAs are typically offered by employers as an employee benefit. Employees can contribute to an FSA, and employers may also contribute, but the account is owned by the employer. Employees have access to the funds from day one of the plan year.
    • HSA: HSAs are available to individuals with a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) as their primary health insurance coverage. HSAs are owned by the individual, and both employers and employees can contribute to the account. The individual retains ownership of the HSA even if they change jobs or health plans.

Contribution Limits:

    • FSA: The IRS sets annual contribution limits for FSAs. The annual contribution limit was $3,850 for a Health FSA. Employers may also set their own contribution limits within this IRS limit.
    • HSA: The IRS sets annual contribution limits for HSAs. As of my last knowledge update in 2021, the annual contribution limit for an HSA was $4,150 for individuals and $8,300 for families. 

Rollover of Funds:

    • FSA: Generally, most of the funds in an FSA must be used within the plan year or a short grace period (usually 2.5 months) after the plan year ends. There may be a small rollover option (up to $500) or a grace period, but not both, depending on the employer’s plan design.
    • HSA: HSAs offer more flexibility in that funds can be rolled over from year to year, and there is no “use it or lose it” rule. This means that the money in your HSA can continue to grow tax-free over time and can be used for future healthcare expenses.

Account Portability:

    • FSA: If you change jobs or health plans, you generally cannot take your FSA funds with you. You may be eligible for COBRA continuation coverage, but this is limited.
    • HSA: HSAs are portable, and you can keep your HSA and its funds even if you change jobs or health plans.

Tax Treatment:

    • FSA: Contributions to an FSA are made with pre-tax dollars, reducing your taxable income. Withdrawals used for qualified healthcare expenses are tax-free.
    • HSA: Contributions to an HSA are also made with pre-tax dollars, reducing your taxable income. Additionally, withdrawals for qualified healthcare expenses are tax-free. HSA contributions may also be invested, and any earnings from investments are tax-free if used for qualified medical expenses.

It’s important to note that both FSAs and HSAs have specific rules and regulations, and these can change over time. Before opening or using one of these accounts, it’s a good idea to consult with a financial advisor or benefits specialist to understand the most up-to-date rules and how they apply to your specific situation.

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