Braces & Eyeglasses: My Flexible Spending Account Dollars Well Spent
By Yesha Callahan on December 27, 2010
I have $0.35 left on my Flexible Spending Account debit card. In January I started out with the max you can add, $3000.00. I just knew that by the end of the year, I'd have a lot more left, and would have to scramble trying to buy up all of the motrin & cold medicine I could, because after Dec 31st over-the-counter meds are no longer FSA eligible. That definitely was not the case.
In a quest to save money, last year, I enrolled in my company's Flexible Spending Account program. I knew it would be easier to use my FSA dollars towards braces and possible glasses, then coming out of pocket at the time of service. The money is pre-taxed, so that definitely was a plus. From the looks of my son's teeth, which he didn't get from my side of the family, I knew he was bound to pay a visit to the orthodontist after his last few baby teeth came out. After hearing horror stories on how much the cost of braces were running other friends, I knew to be on the safe side, I'd add the maximum amount to my FSA account. $3000, with $125 bi-weekly pay deductions would pretty much be my "out of sight, out of mind" money. Plus it was going towards a good cause. Straight teeth.
Eventually we made our way to the orthodontist, and thankfully the price for a 2 year treatment wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. My dental insurance was able to negotiate a price that turned out to be half of what the orthodontist initially quoted me. On the day of service I ended up paying only $1700 for braces and follow up appointments.
So braces were a done deal.
Let's also calculate the several emergency room visits, the 4 day stay at Johns Hopkins because of his asthma issues, as well as prescription costs. All of this was before I found out my son needed glasses.
If I hadn't set up my FSA, I truly don't know how much credit card debit I would have possibly ran up because of the bills and co-pays we amassed over the past year.
I spent my last $320 on two pairs of glasses and eye exams a few weeks ago. I informed him that he better guard these glasses as if his life depended on it. Yeah, that didn't work out too well, because the other day, one pair got stepped on at school during hallway commotion. That leaves me to today with $.35 left on my card. I guess that'll just have to go to waste because there's definitely nothing at CVS that's FSA approved for that amount of money.
Next year, I already have my FSA checklist ready to go. Minus the regular doctor visits, and routine asthma meds, it's all MINE!
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