Flexible spending accounts, also known as FSAs, are benefit plans that employers can offer to employees. The benefit allows participants to deduct a portion of their pre-tax income into an account that they can use to pay for qualified medical and dental expenses and childcare costs.
If you’re one of the estimated 14 million families across the U.S. that use an FSA account, then you may need to use the funds before a certain date. Depending on what your employer selected for an FSA limit, you generally must use the money in an FSA within the plan year.
If your plan year is closing in and you don’t want funds to go to waste, below are five dental extras you can use your FSA on:
You can use your FSA to cover costs for many over-the-counter items you can buy at your local drug store. This includes cold sore remedies, lip balm, Aspirin, and other pain relievers (great if you’re suffering from a toothache!). Some of these items will require a written prescription from your doctor, but there are quite a few that don’t.
Although you can’t use FSA money for teeth whitening, you can use it on preventive treatments and services from your dental hygienist or dentist. This includes teeth cleaning, X-rays, fillings, and fluoride treatments, just to name a few.
Established costs and fees, such as coinsurance, copays, and deductibles, are qualified expenses you may purchase with your FSA. These costs do vary depending on the coverage specifics of your plan. If you’re not sure what those costs are, log in to your account.
Crowns, Caps, and Dentures
Nearly 70% of adults between ages 25 to 44 have lost at least one permanent tooth to an accident, gum disease, a failed root canal, or tooth decay. If you find yourself having to pay for a crown, cap, or even dentures, these costs above what your dental insurance covers qualify for your FSA.
Whether it’s for a dependent or yourself, you can use your FSA to cover the costs of orthodontia services if they are deemed necessary and not for cosmetic purposes. If you’re unsure about whether or not you or a dependent needs braces, we suggest you visit a dentist near you and start the conversation about orthodontics.
Your FSA is not insurance, but it’s a support system that can help you pay for out-of-pocket health care costs. If you find yourself unsure of where to “use it before you lose it,” see the dentist for your bi-annual visit.
To learn more about FSAs and what dental services and producers are covered, visit healthcare.gov.