FSA (Flexible Spending Account), HSA (Health Savings Account), and HRA (Health Reimbursement Arrangement) are all plans to help the consumer pay for out-of-pocket expenses such as deductibles, co-pays, and prescriptions. They are usually offered by an employer and set-up through a payroll service. These plans are like medical bank accounts that the consumer is in control of. You can choose the amount of money you want taken out of each paycheck throughout the year. This money can be used on you, your spouse, and your children. Many of these plans will rollover to the next year, but be careful, many of them don’t.
An FSA is unique in that the money is taken out of your paycheck before taxes and put into the account. The down side of the FSA is the “use it or lose it” stipulation. This means that if you sign-up for a certain amount of money for a given year, you must use it by the end of the year, or you are out that remaining money (your money). This is why it is important to try to figure out what you might spend out-of-pocket each year. It does get easier figuring out what you think you might need with each passing year. Most of these plans give you a credit card type of card that you can use to pay with when you are at the doctor, dentist, or pharmacy. You need to make sure you keep your receipts and/or printouts of the services you received. This will make things easier if you have to show proof to the plan for reimbursement or payment. These plans do have some guidelines and some rules, but they do make paying for these sometimes expected/unexpected bills a little easier.
These plans do cover dental procedures and co-pays. Most of them do have rules as far as covering cosmetic dentistry. Bleaching is usually not a covered expense. It is important to read through the things that are not covered before you sign up for a certain amount of money. This way you won’t be caught off guard with money that you thought you could use, but couldn’t and now you’re scrambling to figure out how to use it up at the end of the year.
Remember these plans are to help make your life easier. Do not be afraid to sign-up for one if your employer offers it. They usually have sign-up in the Fall months when it is time to choose or make changes to your medical and dental plans for the next year. Feel free to call us, we would be happy to help you figure out how much money you might need for the next year to help pay for your dental care.