What are FSA’s and HSA’s? How are they Different?
An FSA is a Flexible Spending Account and an HSA is a Health Savings Account. They are essentially accounts you place money into throughout the year that you can then use, tax free, for out of pocket medical expenses.
If you have never heard of them, they are worth looking into, as they can help offset medical costs, as well as be very convenient when you have a medical emergency. It is important to understand how they are different from each other. Below is a general, simplified list:
- FSA’s you submit receipts to for reimbursement. HSA’s usually provide a card similar to a debit card so the money comes out of your account directly.
- FSA’s generally must be used within the plan year (a.k.a. “use it or lose it”). HSA’s generally roll over. (Both have caps to how much you can set aside each year, but an HSA is called a “savings” account for a reason and should roll over to the next year)
- FSA’s you can sign up for by choice. HSA’s are only available to choose from if you select a high-deductible health plan (HDHP).
This is all just general – for more detailed information, you will want to read the fine print on your healthcare plan; many plans and employers have their own rules that may or may not specifically apply to each.
Why are we talking about this?
Primarily, we’re discussing this because FSA’s do have deadlines with their “use it or lose it” status – as the end of the year approaches, it is important to plan out your remaining funds and use them accordingly, if possible (Unless you like losing money. I don’t know, maybe you do, we’re not going to judge).
Very possibly the only thing worse than trying to do all your Christmas shopping at 10:00 pm on Christmas Eve is trying to use your last few hundred dollars or more of FSA funds when you remember them in the last week of December.
While true that many employers will allow a grace period into the next year, usually only a month or two, these sometimes have to be at least scheduled out before December 31st. Honestly, these grace periods were not made for those who forgot about their money, but for patients who’s procedures have to be scheduled a few months in advance or were delayed for medical purposes.
If you have an HSA and think this doesn’t apply to you, we politely offer a word of caution. HSA’s roll over, that is true, but we also include these into the list for a certain reason: medical insurance rules change frequently. Devout HSA users (such as a few of our Opie Staff members) may recall approximately five years ago while filing their taxes via a popular DIY tax program, there were specific questions regarding HSA’s. Despite being touted as a roll-over spending account that works as a savings account that did not have a deadline like FSA’s, some users were asked to “confirm” that they would use the remainder of their prior year’s HSA funds before the tax deadline. (This is entirely true – we cannot now confirm this via online research, but a few members of our staff who worked elsewhere at the time remember being outraged over this because they specifically chose the HSA over an FSA for the sake of trying to save over multiple years for medical expenses. Just saying.)
So, while HSA funds do not have a deadline AT THIS TIME, we all know that healthcare and taxes change; some folks may be more comfortable using what they set aside prior to the end of the year. If you are not one of those folks, feel free to disregard the rest of this post.
For everyone else and FSA users, we say be prepared for your December 31st deadline.
How Can Opie Chiropractic Help?
This is an easy answer: Prepay for Chiropractic Care with us!
Frankly, anyone is welcome to prepay at anytime. Technically, if you wanted to give someone a fantastic gift of health and wellness to last into the New Year, you absolutely could by paying your choice of a specific amount for a friend or loved one and have them schedule an appointment with us – we can even take payments over the phone, easy-peasy.
In terms of medical spending/saving accounts, you are more than welcome to come in and talk to our billing specialist. For HSA’s, we can run the card for whatever amount you have remaining and let that be a credit on your patient account to use at a later time. For FSA’s, as you will need to probably submit a receipt for reimbursement, our billing specialist can calculate your out of pocket expenses for however many visits and/or services will use up the funds you wish to pay, provide you with a receipt, and you would have that many visits already paid for to use at your convenience. Also pretty easy.
Disclaimer: For legal reasons (this should be obvious, but we’re just saying), we are not a bank, and not to be rude, but we will not “cash out” any FSA or HSA funds. That, dear friends, would not be ethical, and is probably under the umbrella of insurance fraud. So please don’t ask. We want to help you USE the funds for better HEALTH, not cheat the system for a new TV under the Christmas tree.
December 31st 2020 is closer than you think…
…And Dr. Ammon can only adjust so many people in a day. Quite a few people, yes, but we still wholeheartedly recommend that you schedule your appointments now so that you don’t run out of time. Also, while credits of funds and visits can be used at your convenience, we would like for you to use them so that you can take advantage of the health benefits and services that our office has to offer. That is our goal, after all – to help improve the health and wellness of our patients.
So give us a call! If you have never been in to see us before, remember that the first consultation is free, so you are welcome to come in and see the doctor to decide if Chiropractic is right for you. Its never been a better time to focus on your health! Call or email or send us an appointment request today!