Author Topic: FSA--I done messed up...  (Read 11427 times)

dodojojo

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FSA--I done messed up...
« on: November 19, 2013, 08:22:36 PM »
I allocated $600 to my FSA account this year. I could have sworn it was $300...in any case, I've only racked up about $125 in medical cost so far.

I know the official stance is there's no recourse as far as getting that money back.  Any Mustachian tips or tricks here?

I do not have a chronic condition, at least not one which requires prescribed medication or therapy.  I do wear glasses.  I had two pairs made last year so I don't really need another.  But if that my only option, I guess I would have another pair made rather than lose the money.

dadof4

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Re: FSA--I done messed up...
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2013, 08:37:13 PM »
I allocated $600 to my FSA account this year. I could have sworn it was $300...in any case, I've only racked up about $125 in medical cost so far.

I know the official stance is there's no recourse as far as getting that money back.  Any Mustachian tips or tricks here?

I do not have a chronic condition, at least not one which requires prescribed medication or therapy.  I do wear glasses.  I had two pairs made last year so I don't really need another.  But if that my only option, I guess I would have another pair made rather than lose the money.
Check with your plan. There is a new rule that allows $500 to roll over from year to year. Some plans have enacted it for 2013 as well.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/01/business/rollovers-for-flexible-spending-accounts.html?_r=0

dodojojo

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Re: FSA--I done messed up...
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2013, 08:43:01 PM »
Thank you.  I'll call tomorrow.  Crossing fingers!

Dulcimina

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Re: FSA--I done messed up...
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2013, 10:18:47 PM »
According to that NYT article, companies have the option for the rollover or a grace period.  My plan offers the grace period until March 15 of the following year. I use it for my 6 month dental checkups which I time for March and September.  If I have extra money in the FSA at the end of the year, I can use it to pay for the next March checkup. 

Are there any other expenses that you legitimately need and could use the money for? E.g., sticking with the dental theme, are you due for x-rays? Have you checked out the list of covered procedures that your FSA publishes: chiropractic care, condoms and contraceptives, mileage, vaccinations...

secondcor521

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Re: FSA--I done messed up...
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2013, 10:36:53 PM »
One thing I thought of a few years ago but never needed to do (I have kids, and they manage to Hoover my FSA money out by late summer usually -- I'm conservative in my deferral) - is to go buy a bunch of pain meds (Tylenol, Advil, etc.), vitamins, band-aids, etc., then submit for FSA reimbursement on those items.  Then, if I ended up not needing that stuff, I could always return it to the store after the first of the year.  Perhaps this is somewhat of a gray area ethically, but I'll leave that up to you.

IIRC OTC medical stuff is now either not FSA eligible, or there was talk about that, so I'd check into that before trying this idea.

Empire Business

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Re: FSA--I done messed up...
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2013, 12:11:34 AM »
Every time I get in that situation, I end up stockpiling spare glasses.  I can use mine for dental (have insurance, but there are unpaid overruns) so also make sure you had your dental checkups and don't need any work.  Other than that, hopefully you can roll it over but if not, might as well use it if you are going to lose it.  Get checked up for anything you can think of.  Cholesterol test while young, treadmill test while healthy, look into whether you can use it for other cool stuff like massage or acupuncture.  Why not?

msilenus

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ultros1234

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Re: FSA--I done messed up...
« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2013, 12:39:36 AM »
I was recently doing a little research on how to drain the last drops from my FSA this year. Here's a few categories that the wife and/or I could possibly wind up using, which don't require an "over-the-counter prescription":

Acupuncture
Chiropractic
Condoms/contraception
Bandages
Gauze pads
Hot and cold packs
Medical records charges (there's records from an old doctor that I'd have to pay $50 to get)
Transportation and mileage reimbursement for receiving medical/dental care

Of course, that's in addition to normal stuff like dental work, vision care, etc. Plus your program may have different coverages than mine.

Definitely check into whether you can roll over into next year, or whether you have a grace period until March 15 (I have the latter).

dodojojo

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Re: FSA--I done messed up...
« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2013, 08:11:39 AM »
Nope, I'm SOL apparently. I guess I'll be getting another pair of glasses.

I must have had a night long brain fart when I was doing my 2013 elections.  I also messed up my mass transit and dental health coverage elections too.  What a waste of money.  I'm feeling like a big fat zero at this point.

arebelspy

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Re: FSA--I done messed up...
« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2013, 08:14:09 AM »
Accept, learn, and move on.  In the grand scheme a few hundred bucks is a pretty minor fuckup.  You're fine.  :)
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auntbecky

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Re: FSA--I done messed up...
« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2013, 08:28:50 AM »
I don't know exactly where you are in life, but we had this happen 4 years ago, and used it for a costly longer term (5 year) contraception.  It even was my spouses left over, and we used it for me.  So just another thought.

ZiziPB

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Re: FSA--I done messed up...
« Reply #11 on: November 20, 2013, 08:29:20 AM »
Also, if you have any co-pays or co-insurance for your annual exams (general, eyes, etc.), why not get them this year and use FSA funds to cover the out-of-pocket costs?  Have basic bloodwork done as well (cholesterol, triglicerydes, etc.).

dodojojo

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Re: FSA--I done messed up...
« Reply #12 on: November 21, 2013, 02:07:55 PM »
Ok, I stewed a bit and now making plans to spend that money.  No, contraceptives isn't something I need to invest in...I already had my annual physical and that's 100% covered in my health plan.  I made an appointment to see a neurologist for a dizzy spell issue.  Not urgent but may as well investigate with the FSA money.

Election deadlines are coming up--my high deductible plan is good for another year and without an increase.  I'm leaning towards sticking with it.  My insurer does offer the similar plan but at $148 monthly compared to $120 with the HSA component.  Do you think it's worth the additional 28 monthly for the HSA?  I use a company outside of my employment plan as I do not want to pay for the high premium lower deductible plans they offer.  But the employment plans do offer HSA.

Right now I'm thinking it's not worth the extra $28 for the HSA.  Am I missing a trick here?

msilenus

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Re: FSA--I done messed up...
« Reply #13 on: November 21, 2013, 02:25:12 PM »
If you're already maxing your other pre-tax options, and are looking for more tax shelters, HSA's are great.  You can approximate the value by looking at your marginal tax rate, and/or considering the value of future tax-deferred earnings.  That can be compared to the cost you're looking at.

lauraredcloud

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Re: FSA--I done messed up...
« Reply #14 on: November 21, 2013, 02:27:08 PM »
And with the HSA, you'll never be in this situation again - the money rolls over indefinitely.

dodojojo

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Re: FSA--I done messed up...
« Reply #15 on: November 21, 2013, 03:02:06 PM »
Can you have both FSA and HSA accounts?  Or is one or the other?  I would have the HSA thru the health insurer and then my employment offers a FSA.  I would set a low, low amount for the FSA for care I know I will get for 2014 (hmmmm...where have we heard this one before).  That way, I can leave the HSA alone. 

Doing some quick math, I could save about $825 in federal taxes, and after deducting the additional monthly of $28, I would save a net of $489 if I went with the HSA.

dodojojo

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Re: FSA--I done messed up...
« Reply #16 on: November 21, 2013, 03:11:51 PM »
I found the following in a NYT article:

Quote
Can I use both an F.S.A. and a health savings account?

Yes — but if you have a health savings account, the flexible spending account must be a “limited purpose” version that allows reimbursement only for dental and vision expenses, said Roy Ramthun, an H.S.A. consultant.

dodojojo

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Re: FSA--I done messed up...
« Reply #17 on: November 21, 2013, 07:58:11 PM »

msilenus

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Re: FSA--I done messed up...
« Reply #18 on: November 21, 2013, 08:12:31 PM »
I think the way to think of this is to fold those fees into your cost analysis.  Ie: if you're a family of four and maxing the account, it should only take a couple months to break $1k, even if your employer doesn't contribute.

BTW, Mad FIentist has a good run-down on the awesomeness of HSAs:
http://www.madfientist.com/ultimate-retirement-account/

dodojojo

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Re: FSA--I done messed up...
« Reply #19 on: November 21, 2013, 08:17:34 PM »
Thanks.  I'm going to call The Bancorp Bank tomorrow.  They are the HSA institution for Carefirst.  Their website doesn't really give any information on the investment options.  I won't be doing it if there aren't low-cost index options.

msilenus

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Re: FSA--I done messed up...
« Reply #20 on: November 21, 2013, 09:01:18 PM »
NP.  Couldn't you switch providers if you didn't like their options?

Also: How high costs would have to be before they started being worse than keeping the money in a taxable account would depend on the exact holding and lifetime of the account, but it's something that's worth considering.  My envelope says that if you're paying 15% on dividends, an S&P 500 index fund in a taxable account costs about .28% in dividend taxes per year.

So: if your choices are between SPY in a taxable account (.11% costs + .28% div taxes) and CRAPX in an HSA (.39%) fees, the latter would win decisively overall because of capital gains taxes.

Iron Mike Sharpe

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Re: FSA--I done messed up...
« Reply #21 on: November 22, 2013, 07:25:46 AM »
I never understood the FSA.  Where does your money go at the end of the year if you don't use it?  Why don't you get to keep it?  It's your money.

dodojojo

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Re: FSA--I done messed up...
« Reply #22 on: November 22, 2013, 08:50:13 AM »
I hear ya Mike...

I checked with Carefirst--I can go with any bank/financial institution of my choice.  Yay. 

First thing I did was check Vanguard.  They don't offer HSA directly but recommended the following: http://www.hsaadministrators.info/

aglassman

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Re: FSA--I done messed up...
« Reply #23 on: November 22, 2013, 09:09:37 AM »
Can't you just spend it however you want, then just take the tax hit?

dodojojo

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Re: FSA--I done messed up...
« Reply #24 on: November 22, 2013, 09:28:10 AM »
Can't you just spend it however you want, then just take the tax hit?

Are you referring to the FSA?  Unfortunately the funds are taken directly from the paycheck and held by the designated company.  They reimburse you for submitted costs.  So if you submit for a non-approved item, the submission will just be rejected.

aglassman

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Re: FSA--I done messed up...
« Reply #25 on: November 22, 2013, 10:00:48 AM »
Ah ok, that is too bad.  I know you can do that with an HSA, FSA must be more strict.

Bruised_Pepper

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Re: FSA--I done messed up...
« Reply #26 on: November 22, 2013, 10:11:13 AM »
[...] FSA must be more strict.

Which is strange because it's called a FLEXIBLE spending account.