As the end of the year approaches, it's crucial to be mindful of your benefit account balances like your Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) and Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs). Many benefit plans operate on a calendar-year basis, which means open enrollment is just around the corner. You could risk losing some of your hard-earned funds if you're not careful. Here are some things to keep in mind:
1. Use It or Lose It: For many, the phrase "use it or lose it" is often associated with the end of the plan year. If your plan doesn't offer a grace period or allow you to roll over unused funds, the money you've set aside throughout the year could vanish if you don't spend it on eligible expenses.
2. Grace Periods and Rollovers: You're in luck if your plan offers a grace period or rollover option, which gives you some flexibility in utilizing your funds. During a grace period, you'll usually have a few months after the plan year ends to spend your funds. Rollovers allow you to carry over a certain amount of unused funds to the next plan year. Take advantage of these features to make the most of your benefits.
3. Be Aware of Your Balances: Even with grace periods and rollovers, it's important to stay aware of your account balances. High balances could still result in forfeited funds if you're not careful. As the year-end approaches, take a moment to review your account balances and consider any expenses you might have coming up. Don't wait until the last minute to spend your funds.
4. Plan Your Expenses: To maximize your benefits, plan your eligible expenses accordingly. Schedule any remaining medical appointments, buy necessary over-the-counter medications, or invest in prescription eyewear before the end of the plan year. By strategically using your funds for eligible items, you'll ensure that your money serves its intended purpose.
5. Review Eligible Expenses: Make sure you're familiar with the list of eligible expenses. This knowledge can help you identify opportunities to spend your funds wisely. Keep receipts and records for all your eligible expenses, as you may need to submit them for reimbursement.
For a complete list of FSA-eligible expenses, visit https://fsastore.com/fsa-eligibility-list. For HRAs and other accounts, please refer to your summary plan document or contact your HR team.
Take the time to assess your situation and make smart choices, ensuring that your health and financial well-being go hand in hand.