This is the first year that I’ve ever signed up for an FSA (Flexible Savings Account) through my employer. The FSA is a use it or lose it type of account, so at the beginning of the year I have to determine how much money to set aside for medical expenses and hope by the end of the year that I’ve used each and every penny.
This year I decided to take a stab in the dark and estimate a year’s worth of medical expenses. To be honest I still have no idea if I selected the right number, but I figured I should try it at least once.
I received my FSA debit card in December and used it for the first time in January. I am absolutely in love with it. I swipe the card at my doctor’s office and pharmacy and just like that my medical expenses are paid with tax free dollars.
I can log in at any time to see how much money I’ve spent and how much I have left in the account. The website for my FSA lists all of my transactions and lets me know exactly how my medical expenses are adding up.
Every once in awhile I pay for something with the FSA card that requires further documentation. Tonight I uploaded a series of receipts for medical transactions that required detailed receipts. All of this can be done online and once I’m finished I can also track the status of my submission.
Unfortunately, I have a lot of medical expenses that are not permitted through the FSA. I seek weekly treatments from a massage therapist, but I cannot pay with my FSA card without a doctor’s prescription stating that the massage is a medical necessity.
While it certainly is a medical necessity I got tired of waiting for hours in my primary care physician’s office for a note stating that fact. So now I pay those expenses directly out of pocket and they really add up. I pay over $300 a month just to my massage therapist.
I wish it was easier to pay for alternative medical treatment through the FSA. I hope that this changes over time. I also hope that the government changes it’s policies and permits the purchase of non-prescription drugs through the FSA program again.
I’m still concerned that I put aside too much money this year, but I won’t really know for sure until the year ends. I may have completely different feelings about my account if lose money at the end of the year.