Thrifty Thursday Tip, 01/06/2011

The Flexible Spending Account. Enrollment is probably going on at your place of work right now. Don't be left out. Make a reasonable estimate of your anticipated medical expenses: Copayments for doctor visits, anticipated surgeries, and anticipated dental work; prescription medications, eyeglasses and contact lenses, and submit that figure to your payroll department. The funds will be deducted from your check on a pretax basis, and you will then be reimbursed for after making your claim (some employers offer automatic reimbursement of prescriptions).

I was just told by a friend on Facebook that non-prescription purchases no longer qualify, effective this year. That's really unfortunate. Those purchases really add up, and some stores, like Walgreen's, used to mark the receipts with FSA-eligible items, like over-the-counter medicines, bandages, saline solution, and more, to make it easy to determine if it could be submitted for reimbursement. Bummer.

Anyway, if you run out of funds (you'll want to use everything you put in, or you lose it), move up that colonoscopy/mammogram or other screening (these usually involve lab expenses as well), or having that troublesome cyst taken off. And if you go over, see if you can postpone the procedure to 2012. An eye exam can easily be put off a few months. A toothache, of course, can't.
Happy savings!