The (hidden) value of a flexible spending account

October 12, 2021

​Eligible to elect a flexible spending account (FSA) during annual enrollment? Consider its usefulness for less commonly known expenses, too.

You may know healthcare FSAs as mostly beneficial for doctor and prescription expenses, and dependent care FSAs as primarily for daycare and eldercare expenses. But what you may not know is how FSAs are incredibly valuable, versatile tax-advantaged accounts for a variety of other purchases that can help with your budget.

If you're eligible for an FSA in 2022, you may want to consider now how electing an FSA during annual enrollment can help you take advantage of the full range of eligible expenses throughout the upcoming year. Here are just a few you may not have known about.

Healthcare FSA

  • Pearly whites that pay off: unreimbursed dental expenses like deductibles, dentures, denture adhesive, and denture care cleaning products
  • Clear out and clean up: earwax removal kits, hand sanitizer, and santizing wipes
  • No pain, you gain: aspirin, pain relievers, Orajel pain relief, oral wound treatments (cold sores)
  • Good help in the great outdoors: medicated lip balm/cream, insect bite/sting medication, sunscreen, sunburn treatments
  • Great expectations: pregnancy test kits, prenatal vitamins, prenatal/postnatal exams
  • Don't lose sleep over it: sleep aids and sedatives, sleep study

Dependent care FSA

While there are important eligibility requirements to consider, lesser-known eligible expenses include

  • Live and learn: preschool programs, after-school programs
  • Child's play: day camp expenses (if not educational in nature), babysitters (if the babysitting is to allow the parent to work, go to school, or look for work)

Remember, qualifying eligible expenses may change, so be sure to check the latest healthcare FSA eligible expenses and dependent care eligible expenses lists for more information.