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Flexible Spending Accounts: Do You Know Where Your Receipts Are?

Compliance Attorney, HNI

If you’re like me, in the next couple of months you’ll be looking for that safe place where you swore you’d save all of your health care receipts this year! 

When I was enrolling in the health plan last year, I fully understood the value of making use of a flexible spending account.  Assuming I can accurately estimate how much I’ll spend out-of-pocket on copayments, medical expenses applied toward my deductible, and orthodontia expenses for the child that inherited my husband’s teeth – my flexible spending account will and does save me money! 

Last December when I realized I had set aside $200 too much into my flexible spending account (or rather couldn’t find all of my receipts), I simply went to Sam’s Club and purchased some Advil, Children’s Motrin, and cold medicine.  I submitted my receipt dated December 30, 2010 for $200 worth of over-the-counter drugs.  Problem solved — I successfully spent all of the money in my flexible spending account just in time.

As a result of health care reform, beginning January 1, 2011, flexible spending accounts, health reimbursement arrangements, and health savings accounts may no longer reimburse over-the-counter expenses without a prescription

Next time you’re estimating how much to set aside in your flexible spending account, adjust your calculations accordingly.  As for me, I’ll need to be more diligent about saving my receipts in one place because the last minute trip to Sam’s Club will not work in December 2011.

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