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Old 10-03-2012, 03:30 PM   #16
tar heel
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It's really a no-brainer unless you have absolutely no medical expenses. You save whatever your tax bracket is on the money, which is available January 1. You do have to spend it all or you lose it, but most plans give you several months after December 31 to do that. We've never had any left at the end of the year - if we did, we would buy new glasses, stock up on contacts or get dental work done.
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Old 10-03-2012, 04:27 PM   #17
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I loved having FSA accounts. It was nice to use the 'Benny card' for prescriptions and the Childcare plan was great. I paid for most of my Disney trip with the reimbursement check.
Ps - I'm not sure if someone mentioned this before, but to buy OTC products, you need a doctors note. I am also from NJ and I'm not sure if that's a state thing.
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Old 10-03-2012, 07:08 PM   #18
friend2Figment
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How do they work with ortho treatment? My dd's braces will be on more than a year so do they pay out when they are put on or do I need to submit something when they are taken off? I was hoping to find a way to save $ but was not clear on how it really worked.
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Old 10-04-2012, 12:37 AM   #19
dreamin_disney
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I love mine. It has come in very handy. I pay for serives then send in my recipets and get a $$ automatically desposited into my checking acct. It takes about a week to get reinbursed.

I've used ours for
-dd's glasses
-dd's contacts
-dd's braces
-dd's advil for pain after certain othro adjustments(RX is needed by Dr.)
-dd's /hubbys over the counter allergy meds(RX is needed by Dr.)

-my massage therapy for my back/shouldar pain(RX is needed by Dr.)
-reflexology plantar faciitiis-right side of body has issues(RX is needed by Dr.)
-chiropractor
-accupuncture( in the past)
-shoe inserts for arch/ball support(plantar faciitiis)
-dental mouth guards

We also use it for
-Dr. visit co pays
-RX meds
-mileage to Dr. visits, massage therapy, chiro etc


In the past my work limit was
$1200.00
$2200
$2500(this year )

Lets just say I max out within 5 months, so far this year Its $2500
I have $482 left and I have 9 more months to go before the plan starts over
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Old 10-04-2012, 10:36 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by friend2Figment View Post
How do they work with ortho treatment? My dd's braces will be on more than a year so do they pay out when they are put on or do I need to submit something when they are taken off? I was hoping to find a way to save $ but was not clear on how it really worked.
Watch out. Make sure you read over the rules for ortho. We paid our bill in full for DS8's treatment and I expected to get it all back at once. But what happens is they pay it out over the course of the treatment, so technically if treatment is supposed to last two years, they break down your payments over two years. Be careful how much you set aside for your ortho expenses.

Regarding OP's original post, not everyone gets a debit card to use for medical with their flex spending account. We don't. We have Aetna. For us, we go to the doctor, pay a co-pay if necessary, or we will be sent a bill after the doctors submits to insurance. Whatever our responsibility is (what's not covered) gets direct deposited into our checking account and then we pay our doctors. Whatever co-pays we have gets direct deposit also. It usual comes in about a week later.

We love our flex account because it's all pre-tax. Unfortunately, next year, we can only set aside 1/2 the amount because of new rules. We are still going through ortho treatments...

Good luck!
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Old 10-04-2012, 11:01 AM   #21
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We used ours this year for wife's lasik in January. The administrator of the plan has a phone app. I submitted the claim while waiting in the Dr's office and the reimbursement was in my account the next day.
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Old 10-04-2012, 11:10 AM   #22
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FSA is really great if expect some qualified healthcare (or daycare) expenses in the coming year. It is exempt from federal, state, social security and Medicare taxes.
Of course if you don't have any need, it would be a waste of money to make an election. Unfortunately, it is use-or-lose it. Some plans give you an extra 2.5 months to spend the money, so that would be good to find out if your plan has a grace period.


Link to FSA wiki
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Old 10-04-2012, 11:31 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by apnep View Post
Watch out. Make sure you read over the rules for ortho. We paid our bill in full for DS8's treatment and I expected to get it all back at once. But what happens is they pay it out over the course of the treatment, so technically if treatment is supposed to last two years, they break down your payments over two years. Be careful how much you set aside for your ortho expenses.

Regarding OP's original post, not everyone gets a debit card to use for medical with their flex spending account. We don't. We have Aetna. For us, we go to the doctor, pay a co-pay if necessary, or we will be sent a bill after the doctors submits to insurance. Whatever our responsibility is (what's not covered) gets direct deposited into our checking account and then we pay our doctors. Whatever co-pays we have gets direct deposit also. It usual comes in about a week later.

We love our flex account because it's all pre-tax. Unfortunately, next year, we can only set aside 1/2 the amount because of new rules. We are still going through ortho treatments...

Good luck!
I agree with this advice. You should check with your plan to see how they handle it. Maybe you can get your provider to invoice it to meet your FSA's requirements. I have found some FSAs work smoothly and some are very prickly when it comes to getting reimbursed for ortho. I have no idea why it is so difficult sometimes. But, maybe pre coordination would help smooth the way.
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Old 10-04-2012, 12:10 PM   #24
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Deadlines

Regarding deadlines, there are typically two end of year deadlines to be aware of;

1) Deadline to incur expenses for a calendar year. So if you have a plan for 2013, you must incur the expense by 12/31/2013 to be eligble for reimbursement. I have seen this extended to March 15 in recent years. If this is applicable, then you would have until 3/15/2014 to incur 2013 plan expenses.

2) Deadline to submit reimbursements. Typically, this has been March 31 of the year following the end of the plan year. So you would have until 3/31/2014 to submit for reimbursements for expenses incurred in the 2013 plan year (including expenses incurred between 1/1/2014 and 3/15/2014, which would qualify under #1 above).

When both of these deadlines apply, then you have 2.5 to 3 months after a plan year ends to finalize spending and request reimburesment before unused money is forfeited.

Of course, YMMV.
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Old 10-04-2012, 10:02 PM   #25
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Due to the new health care law enacted by our elected officials, I wont mention any names. Starting in 2013, by law, the maximum amount of healthcare FSA you can take is $2500. Prior to the new law, that limit was not in place. Fortunately, we are a healthy family and dont need the full limit. but I can see some families got shafted in a big way.
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Old 10-05-2012, 12:23 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by friend2Figment View Post
How do they work with ortho treatment? My dd's braces will be on more than a year so do they pay out when they are put on or do I need to submit something when they are taken off? I was hoping to find a way to save $ but was not clear on how it really worked.
For our dd's treatment here's how we did ours.

my flex plan is from July-June

DD got her braces April2011 so we couldnt claim for that year
we calculated the ortho plan for July2011-June2012 & July 2012-June2013
So our payments Were broken down to $100 a month

we calculated $1200 for the July2011-June2012
and
$888 for the July 2012-June2013

I believe on ours we would only get paid the $100 a month unless we paid off the full amount example $1200 but i think it depends on the contract or if i paid $150 a month then i can claim the extra $50 so double check.

In my case I had to submit a copy of the contract. Every month i dont need to send in a recipet for ortho . I just add it into the paper work form and I also stick a post it note that has dd's name, ortho for "Month" and the amount $.
I make copies of all my reciepts just incase. I also keep all my cost in an excel document date, service/item, cost, mileage/cost of mileage

Like i submited a for a week ago, well they denied me $107 , I look on my records and see they didnt credit me for ortho. The $7 i have no idea what that is because it's not on my paper copies or excel records. I will call tomorrow and fix error.

Last time they forgot to credit me for my mileage. They are usually pretty good so I'm guessing it might be a new worker on my case.

Tip... start keeping track of copays, meds etc for the next flex year.
example

calculate all the cost for all the appts, and meds you know you will have for sure like:
example
my cost that i know i will have
-well women exam (pap Smear)
-annual exam
-Allergy specialist -2 visits
- x 2for family Dr for highblood pressure i figure 2-3 visit a year
- Rx cost i need for highblood pressure, inhaler meds ea month so i calculate x 12months
-calculate over the counter meds for the year my shoe inserts, allergies
-I also calculate 1-2 urgentcare/aftercare visits per year

Dh hardly gets sick
-annual
-1 urgentcare/aftercare visits per year
-any dental specialist copays he will have to pay
-over the counter allergy meds

DD
-annual
-ortho only(our regular dental cleanings and xrays are covered by insurance )
-allergy specialist 1 visit per year
-ENT specialst 2 visits per year
-Eye exam
-glasses (figure out what insurance covers and low ball the price to be safe)
-contacts, solution

so the above listed items i know I will have so i calculate it and use it as my base

Then i know I qualify for massage therapy(need RX from Dr ) and chiropractor services so i add only a few visits ( low ball it), Then I add mileage for everything i know that qualifies. I usually add a few hundred dollars more but i make sure there are things I can list incase i dont use all the money(remember if you dont use it , you lose it).
extra things like, mouthguard, first aide kit, over the counter meds(must have rx from dr.) etc.
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Old 10-05-2012, 09:27 AM   #27
lisaross
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Ortho

I used mine for the Ortho this year for my son. I am on a payment plan and pay 100.00 per month so i knew for my FSA account that i would be spending atleast 1200 on visits. I have a debit card from the FSA and each month i use that to pay at the visit. The first few times i needed to send in the receipt but not anymore...

For 2013 i will find out how much i still owe and be sure to take out that much for the year plus other dr. visits medicine etc.
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Old 10-05-2012, 11:55 AM   #28
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An early poster hinted at this, but lets say you elect $1200 for the year, so $100 per month gets taken out of your paychecks. You can spend the entire $1200 on January 1st and get reimbursed before the money is actually held out. Also, if you were to quit or get laid off, you don't have to pay it back. Now if you get laid off before you have spent more than you have funded, they don't have to reimburse you past what you funded.

A medical FSA and a dependent care FSA are different accounts. The rules for them are also different, in that a dependent care one does NOT pay out in advance. You have to wait for it to fund.

Both have different rules for what the caps are by income too. We had both in 2012 and had spent our entire medical year in January, unexpectedly. Then DH only had that job through June.

Also worth noting- if you spend enough to get a tax deduction- you can't deduct the first (is it 10 now?) % of your expenses. But an FSA comes out before anything- that portion of DH's income didn't even show on his W2 at all! It was like it just wasn't there. We didn't spend enough to get a regular deduction but got to have a deduction by using the FSA accounts. The last couple years we haven't been able to deduct anything for child care, but the FSA let us do it that way.
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Old 10-05-2012, 01:14 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikehn View Post
Due to the new health care law enacted by our elected officials, I wont mention any names. Starting in 2013, by law, the maximum amount of healthcare FSA you can take is $2500. Prior to the new law, that limit was not in place. Fortunately, we are a healthy family and dont need the full limit. but I can see some families got shafted in a big way.
Yes, that would be us. We use up our maximum ($5000) every year due to ongoing illness in the family- which is not going to go away. Every year we pay our deductible and out of pocket maximum, but there is no maximum on medication copays- one of which is $100 a month. For a copay.

Dropping the amount to $2500 is a way to raise taxes to pay for the program, from what I understand.
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Old 10-05-2012, 01:47 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QueenElinor View Post
Yes, that would be us. We use up our maximum ($5000) every year due to ongoing illness in the family- which is not going to go away. Every year we pay our deductible and out of pocket maximum, but there is no maximum on medication copays- one of which is $100 a month. For a copay.

Dropping the amount to $2500 is a way to raise taxes to pay for the program, from what I understand.
That makes a lot of sense, must be why they dropped that max. Especially with the higher percentage of income spent required to be able to deduct medical that is going to raise tons of money. Even just your family, and if we assume a 15% tax bracket after adding SS that is $675 in taxes. Now do that a million times.
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