If you have never been to an FSA online store, it’s time to pay one a visit. For years, consumers have been shopping for everything from clothing and groceries to furniture and more through online retailers. In the process, shoppers have enjoyed the convenience and lower costs on most items previously bought through brick-and-mortar retail stores.
It took a while, but more and more people are looking online to buy healthcare products. Many retailers sell FSA-eligible products and supplies online, which allows Flexible Spending Account (FSA) participants to use their account-linked debit card as payment.
FSAs are special benefit accounts that allow workers to put aside pre-tax money to pay for out-of-pocket healthcare costs for themselves and their families. However, FSA funds can only be used to pay for “eligible” healthcare products and services – those approved by the IRS. If you have an FSA, your savings come from not paying taxes on the money you deposit into your account. The more you contribute to your FSA, the greater your savings. In 2019, individuals can contribute a maximum of $2,700. Here’s how you can maximize your healthcare savings through online FSA shopping.
What is an FSA eligible product?
The IRS has established certain regulations governing what is and is not an FSA-approve expense. Fortunately, there are hundreds of healthcare products and services that the IRS has approved. These include medicines and prescription drugs, a wide variety of over-the-counter medications and medical supplies, such as blood sugar test kits, bandages, and crutches. On the other hand, some over-the-counter medicines require a doctor’s prescription to be eligible. Or, you can use FSA funds to pay for healthcare deductibles and copayments, but not insurance premiums.
FSA Shopping for Eligible Items
Your FSA covers wide range of commonly used healthcare products. These include:
- First aid supplies (bandages, first aid kits, etc.)
- Contact solution and cases
- Shoe inserts
- Orthopedic braces
However, you may be surprised to learn what does and does not qualify as an FSA-eligible expense. In general, the IRS looks favorably on products and services that treat health problems. Specifically, those items and services used for “diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, and for the purpose of affecting any part or function of the body.”
The IRS looks less favorably on what are considered cosmetic or non-essential treatments. These include procedures like tummy tucks, liposuction, breast augmentation and teeth whitening. If a procedure isn’t medically necessary, it probably won’t qualify as an FSA-approved expense.
FSA Shopping Made Easy
You can increase your healthcare savings (and enjoy the convenience) by shopping at an FSA online store. If you have never engaged in online FSA shopping, a good place to start is by visiting FSAStore.com.
It is the only FSA store online that specializes in selling FSA-approved products and services and nothing else. Their website separates FSA-approved items into two categories – those that require a medical prescription and those that do not. You can find a complete alphabetized listing of all FSA-eligible products and procedures, as well as common medical procedures that don’t qualify. The site also lets you search by account and eligibility types, and includes useful descriptions of each product or service so that you know exactly what you’re getting.
Other large retailers – such as Walmart, Target, Walgreens, and CVS – also offer special sections on their websites for FSA shoppers. Even Amazon.com now has its own FSA shop. These companies (along with many others) also provide listings of the FSA-eligible items they carry to make your FSA online shopping easier.
It’s always a good idea to save all receipts in case the IRS or your benefits manager questions any of your FSA purchases.
Save Time with Your FSA Debit Card
Paying with a credit card or regular debit card when FSA shopping has several disadvantages. It requires you to pay out of pocket; then you have to submit a claim, which must be approved. Once that is complete, you have wait to get reimbursed for the expense.
In contrast, paying with an FSA card takes the money directly out of your FSA. You don’t pay out-of-pocket, which generally means you don’t have to submit a claim. And you don’t have to wait for reimbursement. Keep in mind, your benefits administrator may ask for receipts to verify your expenses.
FSA shopping online is an easy and convenient way to maximize your healthcare savings. All you need is a debit or credit card and an Internet connection and you’re ready to start saving.