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This is a major one and very legit:

The IRS standard per mile deduction less 50% (so about 20 cents per mile, but this is a guess, might be more now with the price of gas)

check w/ your FSA provider on this--IT IS ALLOWABLE!:



Basically, once per quarter you submit on a piece of paper attached to a claim form with the total for ALL YOUR ROUND TRIP MILEAGE to and from:

Doctors Appointments
Drug Store Runs to pick up prescriptions
Dental Appointments
Any Lab, X-Ray, physical therapy
Hospital Visits for family issues (ER, stay in hospital, etc.)
Eye Care Appointments (exams, contact lens, glasses, etc.)
Hearing (audiologist, hearing aids, etc)
Surgical Supply
Any thing else that falls under FSA reimbursement like substance abuse, etc.

For example
Briefly itemize w/ date:

Nov 1 RT To family doctor 25 miles
Nov 1 RT to Drug Store 5 miles

Nov 2 RT To Dentist 10 miles
Nov 2 RT To Drug Store 5 miles

Total here is 45 miles x .20= $9 (strictly an example)

Obviously it's easier to submit once per quarter than after every visit just to make it a larger figure.

But certainly, over the course of a year you could do 1000 miles on your car running around for yourself, spouse, kids to appointments, etc.

Conservatively @ .20 a mile, this would be $200 against your FSA account and very legitimate as you would have a claim each time to verify it against (doctor visit, prescription filled, etc.)

Check it out!

UPDATE: This was the 2006 rules.

Is mileage in conjunction with a medical visit or appointment a covered FSA expense?

Yes. Mileage and parking incurred to obtain medical care are covered FSA expenses. For 2006 incurred claims, the mileage rate is 18 cents per mile. Claim filing must be manual; enter the total mileage charge (traveled round trip x .18) as a separate expense on the claim form. The dates of travel must match the corresponding dates of service.

2007 IRS Mileage Rules:

2007 Optional Standard Mileage Rates

The Internal Revenue Service issued the 2007 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes this week.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2007, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (including vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:

• 48.5 cents per mile for business miles driven;
• 20 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes; and
• 14 cents per mile driven in service to a charitable organization.

The new rate for business miles compares to a rate of 44.5 cents per mile for 2006. The new rate for medical and moving purposes compares to 18 cents in 2006. The primary reasons for the higher rates were higher prices for vehicles and fuel during the year ending in October.

HBSRA10 said: First attempt at the flexible spending account didn't go so well. I still have 45 days to spend about $800 in health care related items. Any suggestions or ideas on what to do with this money?

Anyone else in this situation?

You've got almost the perfect amount to spend on personal DNA sequencing. From what I understand, the report that comes out of personal genotyping can tell you which diseases you are genetically at higher or lower risk for, and that will help you optimize your life. I've already burned through my FSA this year, but I'm seriously going to research funding extra into my FSA next year to cover this procedure.
(I'm not certain that this is an allowable FSA expense, but it ought to be. I'm going to do more research.)

deCODE Genetics is offering deCODEme personal DNA sequencing for $985:
http://www.thegeneticgenealogist.com/2007/11/16/the-first-personal-genomic-sequencing-test-offered-for-985/

23andMe offers a similar service for $999:
https://www.23andme.com/ourservice/

I've heard that Navigenics.com will be offering a similar service, but with continual updates (as more research reveals the functioning of genes) for around $2500.

Note that this isn't complete genome sequencing. Another company, Knome.com, has plans to offer that, but the details aren't yet available.

Has anyone tried this?

the problem with lots of this sequencing- at what point do you do something?
If you are 10% higher at risk for colon cancer, you won't take your colon out...
If you are 4x you might... etc.
There are certainly known high risk genetic profiles (BRCA-1 for example), but if you find that you are somewhat higher risk for certain diseases, you have to ask yourself what will you do about it.
And what if this screening tells you you will get parkinsons/dementia when you are 40...what good does that do?
You should follow set screaning protocols anyway- I guess if it scares you into approved screening then thats good, but how much sleep will you lose?
Fall into the "be careful what you wish for, you just might get it(information)"
This is the similar reason scanning CT just to check up aren't considered such a great idea- what if you do find a little suspicious bump in you kidneys-will you get it resected?

joelmeu said: HBSRA10 said: First attempt at the flexible spending account didn't go so well. I still have 45 days to spend about $800 in health care related items. Any suggestions or ideas on what to do with this money?

Anyone else in this situation?

You've got almost the perfect amount to spend on personal DNA sequencing. From what I understand, the report that comes out of personal genotyping can tell you which diseases you are genetically at higher or lower risk for, and that will help you optimize your life. I've already burned through my FSA this year, but I'm seriously going to research funding extra into my FSA next year to cover this procedure.
(I'm not certain that this is an allowable FSA expense, but it ought to be. I'm going to do more research.)

deCODE Genetics is offering deCODEme personal DNA sequencing for $985:
http://www.thegeneticgenealogist.com/2007/11/16/the-first-personal-genomic-sequencing-test-offered-for-985/

23andMe offers a similar service for $999:
https://www.23andme.com/ourservice/

I've heard that Navigenics.com will be offering a similar service, but with continual updates (as more research reveals the functioning of genes) for around $2500.

Note that this isn't complete genome sequencing. Another company, Knome.com, has plans to offer that, but the details aren't yet available.

Has anyone tried this?
Take a family history instead. Cost: $0

Insurance companies would love to profile people; individuals should adopt healthy lifestyles regardless, and avoid profiling like the plague.

joelmeu said: HBSRA10 said: First attempt at the flexible spending account didn't go so well. I still have 45 days to spend about $800 in health care related items. Any suggestions or ideas on what to do with this money?

Anyone else in this situation?

You've got almost the perfect amount to spend on personal DNA sequencing. From what I understand, the report that comes out of personal genotyping can tell you which diseases you are genetically at higher or lower risk for, and that will help you optimize your life. I've already burned through my FSA this year, but I'm seriously going to research funding extra into my FSA next year to cover this procedure.
(I'm not certain that this is an allowable FSA expense, but it ought to be. I'm going to do more research.)

deCODE Genetics is offering deCODEme personal DNA sequencing for $985:
http://www.thegeneticgenealogist.com/2007/11/16/the-first-personal-genomic-sequencing-test-offered-for-985/

23andMe offers a similar service for $999:
https://www.23andme.com/ourservice/

I've heard that Navigenics.com will be offering a similar service, but with continual updates (as more research reveals the functioning of genes) for around $2500.

Note that this isn't complete genome sequencing. Another company, Knome.com, has plans to offer that, but the details aren't yet available.

Has anyone tried this?


Apparently, there are laws in some states that prevent you from seeing the genetic risk outputs from these services. So, if you live in the states mentioned below, that could make the personal genotyping service ineligible for FSA reimbursement. I still don't know for sure whether this is an eligible FSA expense according to Code Section 213.

This is quoted from the geneticgenealogist.com page linked-to above:

Also, some State laws prevent elements of the deCODEme process. After registering, the applicant must testify that:

“I am not a citizen of any of the following states: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Wyoming…As a resident of any of the above states, you will not be allowed to use the deCODEme.com genetic risk calculations part of this website, as mentioned in the Genetic Scan customer agreement.”

cowboyBill said: macosx said:
BTW, if I bought a couple of bottles of aspirin to treat some pain and got reimbursed. Then wound up using only one, returned it at the store, got a receipt and try to do a negative reimbursement, it would probably cause all sorts of problems. First off, they wouldn't have the necessary paperwork. Then they would have to research it and find several other steps to get the funds unreimbursed. I'd expect hours of wasted time over a $3 item. I've never come accross the proper method of doing so and if anyone can reference a FAQ on the situation, it would be very interesting to see.



According to Technologist, you are a "fraudster" and should be sent directly to jail
Do not pass Go, and do not collect $200.


You're pretty smart for a N00B... but I never mentioned jail!

If someone INTENTIONALLY plans to buy stuff and submit to FSA, then return it, then it is fraud. Fraud, theft, mis-filing any IRS documents gives 10% of all monies collected back to the person reporting it...

UNLIKE the one poster who said he bought something, filed, then TRIED to get it UN-reimbursed. He made best effort to follow the law / regulations.

And all of that is different from taking advantage of a store, or a rebate, or a deal... the stores make the rules and we find loopholes. The IRS makes rules and if we find a LEGAL (without fraud) loophole, we take advantage of it... an example of this is taxes on gambling:

You can offset winnings by losses... and I do it honestly. HOWEVER, I know of others that have won $$$$$, then walk around collecting losing race tickets, keno, lottery, etc... NOT THEIR losses! If they were to get caught they would have to pay the tax ,plus penalties, plus interest... and it is easy to get caught during an audit. All that needs to happen is for them to have 2 losing tickets from 2 racetracks on the same day and time... they couldn't be both places at once! Or 2 losing keno tickets, from stores MILES apart, for the same game... again, once they lose 1 point on an audit, EVERYTHING else is scrutinized.

It would suck for someone to have to pay back ALL their FSA, because one bottle of aspirin was bought and returned, after filing for reimbursement. I hope you don't try it using a credit card, or an affinity card (like at CVS)... the IRS would ask for those records, and find the transgression easily!

lunarscape said: Some suggestions.

Thanks for the link. I never thought about pool expenses. If I don't hit my max, the new heater is getting submitted!

I just attended a meeting at my company regarding our FSA plan.

Making deposits/payments in advance for future services is definitely not allowed. Services have to be rendered before reimbursement from an FSA is allowed. The lady also said that for this reason, if you're getting Lasik surgery, you will usually be required to pay in advance, but even if the service is rendered right away, during the proper period, you still should pay out of your pocket and then submit a reimbursement request, not use the debit card. (I suspect if you paid with the debit card and had the surgery before they found out, they'd tell you to not do that and let it slide, but I'm just reporting what I was told by our plan's representative.)

Another tip I got to reduce paperwork was to buy drugs or OTC stuff at a place like Walgreens that will auto-adjudicate at the point of purchase, so the plan knows your charge is legit. (If you go to Walgreens and to buy drugs and a candy bar and hand the cashier your FSA debit card, the register will only charge the drugs, and the cashier will ask for another form of payment for the rest.)

va1234 said: Buffet mentioned that he pays 15% income tax while his low paying assistant pays 35%...... Yeah so much for following the rules.

Just may be the new world order.


Life really isn't fair.

While 15% sounds a lot less than 35%, let's put some dollars to the equation. Assuming Buffet made $100,000,000 last year and his assistant made $100,000, then Buffet paid $15,000,000 in taxes while his "low paying assistant" pays $35,000. Who paid more taxes?

They both go watch a movie, each pays $10 for the ticket and they sit next to each other. Is that fair?

They both take an airplane ride, Buffet pays $5000 for first class while his assistant pays $1000 for coach. Is that fair? If the comparison matters at all, the assistant paid 1% her salary for the airplane ride while Buffet paid 0%. He could take a private jet (doesn't his company have something to do with execujet company?) and pay a bit more and it's still close to 0%.

Plus sure you can raise the tax on the "rich", but some may just take their jets and move to Monaco. Many Sweedish and French wealthy have found their way there. Here in the states, state tax is enough to get some moving and causing similar issues.

State Tax Officials Dispute Claim of Florida Residency by Jeter

In any case, from many standpoints, and especially from a fairness standpoint, FSA has been a big failure. Besides being a waste of money for many participants, it's also an incredible waste of time (this discussion included). Who really benefits from this and how much do they benefit in dollars? After one year, I concluded that between the time required to track everything, and the loses from unused funds, the program just wasn't worth it. Of course I only had a few hundred in qualifying expenses. Maybe and that's a big maybe, someone with big medical bills in the thousands a year might be the only folks who should use this. Besides wasting our time, the government and companies have to waste time and energy processing all these things. It's really not too different from $1 or $5 mail in rebate offers.

As long as we are going off-topic --

Does anybody see logical reason in allowing HSA to roll over funds till retirement, but force FSA accounts to use or forfeit the funds ?

We have had several customers that have had Prescription DNA drug reaction test covered by FSA's. More information is at http://www.healthanddna.com/flexible.html. Nutritional genetic testing qualifies as a medical expense according to IRS definitions as long as the test is physician recommended and the indication is to treat a diagnosed illness (e.g. obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension).

Hope that is helpful.

Porsche576 said: What if your FSA is on a debit card? Can you use it on aynthing?
no you cannot, i work for an insurance company. we will ask you for rcpts and if it's non-compliant, we will ask for the monies back. =)

HBSRA10 said: First attempt at the flexible spending account didn't go so well. I still have 45 days to spend about $800 in health care related items. Any suggestions or ideas on what to do with this money?

Anyone else in this situation?


If you need any special work done that requires out of pocket expenses, pull them into this year. example - getting a dental work like a crown. Otherwise, buy your approved medical supplies in bulk until you reach your total.

Dyson Vaccum Cleaner _ reason bad allergies
Humidifier
Air Purifier
Filters

Vaccum cleaner required Dr. signoff

get lasik surgery, if you don't need it - have it done on your cat/dog/horse

macosx said:
  • Get an Abortion.
  • Treat your Acne.
  • Treat your jock itch.
  • Take an Ambulance ride.
  • Get Circumcised.
  • Treat that diaper rash.
  • Treat that drug addition.
  • Donate an Organ.
  • Buy lots of Sunscreen with high SPF.
  • Get a Vasectomy
  • Buy Viagra
  • Join a Weight-loss programs
  • Buy weight loss drugs


Weight loss programs and weight loss drugs are only deductible if they are prescribed by a doctor.

Great thread. Got a quick question for you experts out there.

I had about $300 left in my FSA toward the end of 2007. Due to various things, I only got to place an order with FSA items at Drugstore.com on 12/31/2007. The order shipped on 01/02/2008 and I received it on 01/05. Will I be able to claim it for 2007? I don't really know what it means to be service rendered, because these are really products.

Thanks in advance.

i think it counts as long as (1) Drugstore.com is located in your same time zone OR to the west of your time zone (2) they actually charged your credit card that same day as well. did you look on your statement? does it say 12/31?

My problem is I don't think I put enough into my FSA! I think I would like to buy a new pair of glasses (wear rarely, but the ones I have are old) but I forgot that I need to buy another years worth of contacts!

There is no way to increase your amounts after the plan has gone into effect is there?

hamarabajaj said: I know a person (friend of my friend), he asked his doctor to recommend sun glasses for him to protect eyes from UV rays. He went to Costco and bought glasses worth $800 and returned the glasses after 3 months.

this may work only at COSTCO!... anyhow if caught, its a hassle -

silam said: My problem is I don't think I put enough into my FSA! I think I would like to buy a new pair of glasses (wear rarely, but the ones I have are old) but I forgot that I need to buy another years worth of contacts!

There is no way to increase your amounts after the plan has gone into effect is there?
Usually you can only make changes at the beginning of a new plan year or if you have a life event (birth, marriage, adoption, etc.).

FYI, I drained out my FSA last year by buying $50 dollars worth of condoms.

I am 10 bucks away from completing last years 1500 in expenses...Seems like I will try to overshoot by a bit what I think I need in the plan every other year with the 3 month grace period...

DNADiva said: We have had several customers that have had Prescription DNA drug reaction test covered by FSA's. More information is at http://www.healthanddna.com/flexible.html. Nutritional genetic testing qualifies as a medical expense according to IRS definitions as long as the test is physician recommended and the indication is to treat a diagnosed illness (e.g. obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension).

Hope that is helpful.


very helpful, although I don't think it has to be physician recommended or to treat a diagnosed illness. IRS Publication 502 says: "Medical expenses are the costs of diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or **prevention** of disease, and the costs for treatments affecting any part or function of the body. They include the costs of equipment, supplies, and diagnostic devices needed for these purposes."

and along those lines, biophysicalyou.com does complex blood tests (at 3,400 and 1,495) that screen for loads of stuff. It's recommended by that Dr. Oz guy and certainly better than losing the money.

Also many FSA plans take advantage of the recent change in the rules that allow for a grace period to use the FSA money by March 15 of the following year (and still submit expenses by March 31).

Has anybody tried running the cost of a gym membership through FSA?

Say my doctor told me I had to work out to reduce my chlosterol. (He really did say that to me) ... wouldn't that be medical instruction to excercise more? Of course, I didn't get a written script for this.

anybody?

hdpq said: Has anybody tried running the cost of a gym membership through FSA?

Say my doctor told me I had to work out to reduce my chlosterol. (He really did say that to me) ... wouldn't that be medical instruction to excercise more? Of course, I didn't get a written script for this.


I have been trying to figure out that same exact thing. Hopefully the experts here can give us some help with the answer.

HBSRA10 said: tazzy531 said: HBSRA10 said: First attempt at the flexible spending account didn't go so well. I still have 45 days to spend about $800 in health care related items. Any suggestions or ideas on what to do with this money?

Anyone else in this situation?


I thought you had until April 15th to use your FSA account?


No. You have to make the purchase before Dec 31st. You have until March 15th to send your reimbursement claims, though.


Not everywhere. For instance I have until March 15th 2008 as a grace period for using 2007 funds. It all depends on your employers program.

I wonder if you could deplete your FSA debit card at somewhere like WalMart,
then just exchange the merchandise later at your own convinience.
That way you would not have to keep the receipt because your purchase already meets the FSA requirements?

Anyone ever submit an AED (defibrillator)?

Philips Heartstart

at $1,200 per that would put a big dent in the FSA. (alas, Amazon says that it cannot be returned for those considering that strategy) -- although they make good stocking stuffers.

edit: Drugstore.com has it in their fsa store so it looks like it qualifies

My wife has problems with her feet. She can only wear a very expensive model of New Balance sneakers. Last year I emptied my FSA by buying 11 pairs (and got a hefty 25% discount for bulk purchase ). We had to submit a doctor's letter that the shoes were necessary to treat a medical condition.

Gedman

My buddy runs a business that will help you make fake purchases for FSA accounts. He'll hook you up. E-Mail him at Edited by Mods.

kevinkevinkevin said: My buddy runs a business that will help you make fake purchases for FSA accounts. He'll hook you up.
EDIT by Moderator: removed partial quote of deleted

Pesky Mods - fixed that for you . I'm quite happy with all my fake medical purchases, but since then I've been having a little trouble getting in touch with your friend about getting my money back. He told me there was some trouble with my bank account information but hopefully the extra cash I sent him to take care of some unforeseen expenses will see things through promptly.

Back to the gym question...has anybody been successful in getting these fees covered? I made an appointment with my primary care Dr. but I am not sure what angle to play to get yoga classes covered. Do I say I have been very stressed out lately? Or say I have back pain (when really I don't)? Or that I have to lose 5-10 pounds and think the exercise will help? Not sure which would work best with the insurance company.

lauren75 said: Back to the gym question...has anybody been successful in getting these fees covered? I made an appointment with my primary care Dr. but I am not sure what angle to play to get yoga classes covered. Do I say I have been very stressed out lately? Or say I have back pain (when really I don't)? Or that I have to lose 5-10 pounds and think the exercise will help? Not sure which would work best with the insurance company.

Not sure if this will work. You have some sort of knee problem that the only way for you to exercise is to swim. And you don't happen to have a swimming pool, or it is too small. Check www.runnersworld.com to see what kind of leg/foot injury that forces you to swim.

Before I quit my job, I used up my FSA by buying first aid kits, contact lens, new glasses, and OTCs.

The gym question:

if you have FSA, you need to look at your particular plan. There isn't 1 rule for everyone. Every FSA plan has a document on what's cover and what's not. Stop being lazy and get a hold of that document from your employer.

To give you an idea. My FSA does not cover gym membership fees and dues. However, with with a written documentation from a doctor that my this is treatment for my medical condition, I could have a personal trainer and I must pay per-session. Documentation from both the doctor and trainer is required.

vkl168 said: if you have FSA, you need to look at your particular plan. There isn't 1 rule for everyone.

Yes there is:

It's Internal Revenue Code Section 213(d).

Which is roughly explained in plain english at IRS Publication 502.

Using an FSA is the same thing as deducting a medical expense from your taxes except you don't have the rule of having to exceed 7.5% of adjusted gross income as you do for the normal medical expense deduction. So the normal definition of what is a "medical expenses" is the same for an FSA as it is for the old fashioned deduction of medical expesnes that are > 7.5% of AGI. (Also, money set aside in an FSA is exempt from FICA tax as well as income tax, although not relevant for those who exceed the FICA tax cap anyway).

But different FSA plan administrators may interpret the IRS authorities (which although pretty comprehensive, there are still many gray areas) slightly differently, and they may also have their own more comprehensive guidelines that apply those rules to actual reimbursement requests. And if you really want you can probably dispute their individual ruling they may make by appealing to the federal statute and any relevant regulations and case law.

silam said: My problem is I don't think I put enough into my FSA! I think I would like to buy a new pair of glasses (wear rarely, but the ones I have are old) but I forgot that I need to buy another years worth of contacts!

There is no way to increase your amounts after the plan has gone into effect is there?


Can only change if you have a life changing event - like Birth, Marriage, Death, Divorce in the family, where you need to add or delete members who are insured.

Don't buy an year's worth of contacts...buy as it comes. Another thing is those disposable contacts are such a sham. Their lifetime is not really a week as they say. With proper care you could extend the weeklys to monthlys. Try wearing glasses for longer time...cut the expense. And maybe next year get LASIK done. It's a beautiful world after you get it done!

Another way of using the unused FSA is : buy a chiropractic plan - something like a package for 12 visits. If you don't wanna use it, just ask a friend to buy the unused sittings from you.



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