In the following sections, we explore some useful guidelines for using FSA Funds.
2022 healthcare flexible spending accounts were set to expire on March 15, 2023, although this could vary depending on whether your employer may allow you to roll funds over.
In many cases, FSA funds can’t be used after the deadline, so its important to explore spending options beforehand.
Fortunately, there are many ways to make use of FSA spending accounts that could also provide considerable health benefits, and you can always start chalking these up for next year if you missed this year's deadline.
Among the recommended options, home red light therapy panels are a qualified FSA expenditure that are effective at providing a wide variety of practical and holistic treatments.
First, we’ll take a deeper dive into what is an FSA. Skip down to learn more about the many medical spending options, including the many benefits of red light therapy.
What is an FSA?
Flexible spending accounts are non-taxable funds intended to cover healthcare costs above and beyond insurance coverage.
They can be included in employer-sponsored benefits as part of a compensation package or contributed to independently. In some cases, employers match individual FSA fund contributions. The details often vary, depending on company policy.
Flexible spending accounts can also be funded through payroll deductions. As non-taxable income, this can reduce the amount of taxes spent on money needed for healthcare costs.
FSAs are not part of health insurance coverage but are often rather intended to supplement it.
There is a huge list of qualified medical expenses that are eligible for FSA funds.
In the next section, let’s take a closer look at how FSA contribution limits work.
How Do FSAs Work?
In 2022, the IRS allowed FSA funds to grow as large as $2,850 total, in some cases, covered through payroll deductions.
FSA contributions are considered pre-tax, which makes it easier to save for unexpected and regular healthcare expenses.
This simply means that the earnings you designate to your FSA are non-taxable. If you can anticipate some medical expenses for the year, it may make sense to minimize your tax burden by shifting funds into your FSA.
You can use your FSA for medical bills and any health-care-related out-of-pocket expenses that are not covered by health insurance. These include co-pays, co-insurance, and deductibles.
In 2023, FSA spending the deadline was March 15, although in some cases, companies allow funds to be rolled over. At the start of the new year, most individuals with cash in their FSA accounts may only have a few months to coordinate their FSA spending.
Let’s take a closer look at some options for FSA spending. Undoubtedly, pretty much anyone with an FSA will be eager to use the money for medical expenditures, although some are wondering what may qualify and what does not.
Best Options for FSA Spending
Here are some of the most useful ways to spend your FSA dollars before the spending deadline sneaks up on you. There are quite a few things that qualify.
Preventive Screenings, Regular Checkups, and Routine Care
Keeping on top of your health can be as simple as regular medical care, dental cleanings, and refilling your medications.
Contact lenses and insulin pens qualify.
FSA dollars cover all parts of your regular medical care and prescription drugs.
Sometimes it’s best to save FSA dollars for medications that aren’t covered by your healthcare plan.
This may include co-pays, prescriptions or over-the-counter drugs, pregnancy tests, blood pressure monitors, baby monitors, non-prescription reading glasses, and massage devices.
Healthcare Travel Expenses
Not all of your medical appointments may be close to home.
If you need to travel out of the area specifically for medical reasons, you may be able to cover travel expenses with your FSA money whether you travel by car, bus, taxi, transit, or air.
Even hotels and medical facility parking can be covered by FSA funds as long as the trip is for medical reasons.
Red Light Therapy Panels
Red light therapy panels qualify for FSA spending.
They’re also an affordable and easy-to-use home treatment for a variety of ailments including anti-aging, skin treatment, hair loss, acne, rosacea, injury recovery, faster healing, blood circulation, and more.
COVID-19 home tests as well as in-facility tests are FSA-eligible.
Blood sugar test kits and insulin are regularly needed but, unfortunately, can also be expensive. You can use your FSA dollars for diabetes-related expenses.
For future reference, FSA funds don’t have to be spent all at once. Unless they expire, they can be used for expenditures throughout the year.
Many use them for month-by-month medical expenditures, including stocking up the medicine cabinet, sometimes to treat chronic pain.
Aside from prescription drugs, over-the-counter pain relief medication and anti-inflammatory medications qualify for FSA spending.
Cold and Allergy Medicine
The cost of over-the-counter drugs can be covered with FSA money.
FSA funds cover standard allergy medications, including conditions caused by pollen, dust, and dander.
Physical Therapy is directed towards improving functional mobility, stability and strength and pain management.
If you are recovering from an injury or working towards rehabilitation goals, physical therapy can help and is also a qualified FSA expenditure.
You can use FSA funds to pay for vision-related expenses. This includes prescription eyeglasses, contact lenses, prescription sunglasses, and eye drops.
If your optician or ophthalmologist recommends that you buy a specific product, you can apply your FSA funds to help cover the expense.
Many people spend their FSA funds on a second set of prescription glasses or extra contact lenses.
Your FSA money can also cover out-of-pocket expenses for necessary eye surgeries and procedures, including laser eye surgery.
Reproductive Care and Sexual Health
FSA funds can be used for reproductive care, covering anything from OB-GYN care to menstrual supplies, birth control, and pregnancy tests.
For those who are pregnant, health FSAs can be used to cover prenatal vitamins, breast pumps, baby breathing monitors, and anything related to female reproductive or sexual health.
Breastfeeding classes, lactation consultants, and infant formula are covered. You can also use your health FSAs on childbirth costs and postpartum mental health care costs.
Men, too, can benefit. Expenses related to a vasectomy or vasectomy reversal are considered FSA-eligible.
In-vitro fertilization is covered. However, infertility treatments are not eligible medical expenses.
Chiropractic care is considered FSA-eligible as long as the intent of the treatment is to treat a medical condition and is not just for ‘maintenance.’
Vitamins and Supplements
Millions of Americans supplement their diets with vitamins, minerals, and herbal remedies.
Most supplements are eligible FSA expenses, but not all.
To ensure that your natural supplements are eligible expenses, you may get a Letter of Medical Necessity (LMN) from your doctor saying that the supplement is medically necessary to help provide an argument that they should be covered.
Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine
Acupuncture qualifies for FSA spending, as does Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
You’ll need a LMN from your doctor for TCM-related expenses such as herbal remedies, although acupuncture treatments do not require an LMN.
Massage therapy is eligible for FSA reimbursement if you have a Letter of Medical Necessity from your doctor.
Hearing aids are considered FSA-eligible products. You can use any money left to get an extra pair or to upgrade to better hearing aids.
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Programs
Mental health spending including counseling, treatment for substance abuse, and prescription medications are eligible medical expenses covered by FSA funds.
Other Qualifying Medical Expenses
You may be able to use your flexible spending account to cover educational tools and simple life improvements as well. Some lesser-known FSA expenses could include a health-based DNA kit, first aid kit, and even daily and athletic insoles for your shoes. Sunscreen also qualifies.
If you have more questions, it may help to contact your company to verify that something is qualified.
FSA-Qualified Red Light Therapy Panels
You can even use your FSA money on a natural remedy that is exploding in popularity: red light therapy.
FSA-approved medical-grade red light therapy panels make at-home treatment and preventive care easy, and may even reduce healthcare costs in the long term.
What is Red Light Therapy?
Red light therapy is a natural, non-invasive treatment. You may have heard about low-level light therapy, LED light therapy, or photobiomodulation. These are different terms for a treatment that uses concentrated light to benefit your cells.
Our bodies respond to light much like how plants generate energy from sunlight. Red light therapy harnesses the red and near-infrared wavelengths that fall into a ‘therapeutic window’ of light therapy, with significant benefits.
Years of research show positive results as well as an almost complete absence of side effects or risks.
Red light therapy uses red and near-infrared wavelengths to produce health benefits. These can include skin rejuvenation, better circulation, pain relief, muscle recovery, reduced inflammation, faster wound healing, and improved sleep.
“With healthcare costs constantly on the rise, investing in your health is more important than ever. I recommend to all my patients to invest in a PlatinumLED therapy light for home use, especially during their rehabilitation plans of care for optimal healing results.”
Functional Medicine Doctor of Physical Therapy Dr. Alayna Newton, PT, DPT, FAFS
The BIOMAX Panels have increased benefits today due to the addition of a blue 480nm light, which supplements the red lights for increased synergistic benefits.
The PlatinumLED Learning Center has information on the many ways to use red light therapy to improve and maintain health.
Treatment works at the cellular level to boost the body’s own healing processes. It stimulates increased energy production within the cells.
One of the key effects of red light therapy is reducing chronic inflammation, which has been linked to every single major disease. Reducing inflammation not only relieves symptoms and helps keep chronic conditions in remission. It also helps prevent problems in the first place.
FSA-Qualified Red Light Therapy Panels
The BIOMAX Series panels qualify for FSA spending, in part because they are FDA cleared.
However, not all brands of RLT panels on the market do qualify. Typically excluded from funding are many of the handheld and area-specific devices. These tend to provide limited outcomes, given that optimal treatment comes from fuller body exposure to treatment.
The initial upfront cost of a light therapy panel is FSA-eligible. They’re an even better value because of the long lifespan of LED lights.
A daily red light therapy treatment is simple and pleasurable. Just 10-20 minutes a day can have dramatic positive effects on your health, especially with continued use. With the BIOMAX Series, users can also now have remote control to turn on and off specific wavelengths.
We also now offer the SaunaMAX Pro, RLT panels designed to be used in sauna interiors during home-sauna treatment.
Whether you use red light therapy as a preventative measure or to treat an existing condition, LED light therapy panels could be the single best investment you make using your FSA money.
Reach out to learn more about this powerful solution for health and wellbeing, and be sure to check with your company to make sure you are optimizing your FSA funds before they expire.