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DW and I elected to contribute $2,500 to a flexible (healthcare) spending account, in anticipation of some medical expenses. Life being what it is, it turns out that we did not opt for the procedures and now have $2,500 sitting in the account. It is a use-it-or-lose-it situation, so we're looking for a way to spend it by the end of the year. We've got one of those debit cards that's set up specifically for this account.

Of course, we use our fair share of OTC meds, but there's NO way we can spend that much on Benadryl and Excedrin. Plus, hoarding of OTCs is specifically prohibited.

The thought occurs that we can buy certain pieces of medical equipment (e.g., home blood pressure cuffs, first aid kits) for friends and relatives. There's nothing saying the expenses have to be for you personally, is there? And for that matter, is there anything saying you have to actually keep what you buy? Buy blood pressure cuffs to resell on eBay?

The one item that jumped out at me as a way to wipe it out quickly is a home defibrillator. Those damn things are $1,400!

Any other suggestions? Any thoughts on how the FatWallet Legal Department feels about this stuff?

--cjspangler

PS-- Before you say it, of course we'll be getting FatCash on whatever we can!

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goto Drugstore.com and search for FSA, it will show you all kinds of stuff that is FSA eligible. Here are some ideas:

Odyssey Scooter Full Size 4 Wheel Red
Philips HeartStart Home Defibrillator

Do either of you need vision correction? Contact lenses (order a year-long supply), contact lens solution, prescription glasses and prescription sunglasses are all covered for FSA. If you're do for new dental X-rays soon and don't have insurance that would cover them, they can also cost a few hundred dollars.

The other question is whether you're still with that job and whether you're using the FSA next year. If so, depending on how it's set up, you may have until March 15 to use up the amount from this year.

cjspangler said: There's nothing saying the expenses have to be for you personally, is there?Items are supposed to be for those persons who are members of the insurance plan for that year.

If you buy 100 boxes of 160 count Zyrtec, that kind of claim could be audited and rejected b/c the maximum recommended dosage is 1 tablet every 24 hours, or whatever.

It would be unethical to buy equipment from Wal-Mart using your card and then return it with no receipt for store credit...but if you were no qualms with the ethics, it could be done.

Again, borderline with ethics....you could have your doc say that a gym or yoga is "medically needed" to try to get that reimbursed. I would also make sure that you put in for mileage when you go to a Dr. visit. If you use glasses, maybe go for the laser surgery? Does your plan let you have until March of 2011?

Lasix

OP, you can browse these archived topics to see if there are any helpful suggestions in there:
http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/781502/
http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/468271

Things like Sonicare (and I think the brush-head replacements) should count.

Fluoride treatments at the dentist usually aren't covered for adults under insurance but are a $10-ish dollar nice preventative.

If you have to pay anything extra for your healthcare (not just co-pays, but the money spent for upgraded or if your employer doesn't pay the full thing).

I can't remember if humidifiers are acceptable but winter with it's dry air is coming up fast.

I think those emergency car first aid kits usually qualify, you could get a couple of those.

Condoms/birth control are a way you could spend it as well, if your DW is interested you could see if an IUD qualifies, though your health insurance may cover it

I just bought a nice blood pressure monitor that is still sitting in the trunk of my car waiting for my next trip back to Rite-Aid. Also bought a bunch of Dr. Shoals inserts.

I'd photocopy all UPC codes though, because I've heard the many plans are getting tougher on reviews... they know they are going to take a hit next year, so probably trying to clawback as much as possible. I was going to buy a TENS electical muscle stim unit for my back, but I checked with my plan first and they said a Dx note would be necessary... that's the case with a lot of DME through many FSA plans. BP monitors should be fine, but I would guess they'd be suspicious if you buy more than one in a year.

lauren75 said: Again, borderline with ethics....you could have your doc say that a gym or yoga is "medically needed" to try to get that reimbursed. I would also make sure that you put in for mileage when you go to a Dr. visit. If you use glasses, maybe go for the laser surgery? Does your plan let you have until March of 2011?
Both the DW and I are healthy with no pressing health issues; it's DW's account, not mine, so the only doctor-related expenses that I could get reimbursed for are *her* office visits, *her* prescriptions, etc. But she doesn't have a doctor, doesn't plan on getting one (don't get me started...).

I do have extra time to *file*, but it appears that I do have to spend the funds by the end of the year.

DW had laser surgery about eight years ago. Her vision is still okay.

thefangedbard said: Things like Sonicare (and I think the brush-head replacements) should count.

I can't remember if humidifiers are acceptable but winter with it's dry air is coming up fast.

I think those emergency car first aid kits usually qualify, you could get a couple of those.

All good suggestions. The wife uses an electric toothbrush, and those replacement heads *are* expensive. And the first-aid kits are already on my list for pretty much everyone we know!

thefangedbard said: Condoms/birth control are a way you could spend it as well, if your DW is interested you could see if an IUD qualifies, though your health insurance may cover it
If you read between the lines of my first post, you'll find some irony in this suggestion... :-/

--cjspangler

Sonic toothbrush is not covered under FSA.

cjspangler said:
thefangedbard said: Condoms/birth control are a way you could spend it as well, if your DW is interested you could see if an IUD qualifies, though your health insurance may cover it
If you read between the lines of my first post, you'll find some irony in this suggestion... :-/


In that case you could use your FSA money to buy some home pregnancy tests

I would suggest the following:
Wheelchair, Walker, Eyeglasses/contacts, dental work/braces, health screening tests, pulse oximeter, podiatry work, fertility treatments, vasectomy and its reversal, other birth control related items, acupuncture treatments.

"Hoarding" of OTC medicine isn't really prohibited yet. It will be next year.

That said, it is illegal to buy with an FSA for resale or use by people not covered with the FSA plan.

Buying at WalMart and returning without receipt for store credit is a good idea, WalMart doesn't lose out [if anything, they gain because they'll credit you the lowest sale price in the last 90 or 180 days.]



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