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Top 5 Reasons You Need to Use Your Health Care Flexible Spending Account (surviving socialism)
Associated Content ^ | 10-23-08 | Sophie Stilwell

Posted on 11/10/2008 6:16:43 PM PST by RKBA Democrat

Many companies these days offer what are commonly called either health care or dependent care flexible spending accounts (FSA). Surprisingly, very few employees take advantage of this fantastic benefit. According to a survey published by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans in 2008, less than 40% of eligible employees who had the option available to them used a health care FSA, and less than 10% of eligible employees utilized a dependent care FSA if it was available.

(Excerpt) Read more at associatedcontent.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Extended News
KEYWORDS: bho2008; fsa; hsa; hsas; survivingsocialism
I suspect that most of you are already familiar with FSA's. However, for those of you who aren't, these are a great way to save on your taxes. For most plans, November and December is when you need to make your election for next year.
1 posted on 11/10/2008 6:16:44 PM PST by RKBA Democrat
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To: RKBA Democrat

I have been doing it for three years now, and I highly recommend it. It’s about the closest we can get to a true tax break for medical expenses.


2 posted on 11/10/2008 6:17:44 PM PST by SlowBoat407 (Do not read this tagline.)
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To: freespirited; oblomov; Jet Jaguar; wastedyears; nascarnation; Henry Belden; petercooper; ...
Surviving Socialism Pinglist
Stories and tips with a financial emphasis to help conservatives prosper during difficult times.

To be added or taken off this list, please send a FR mail to RKBA Democrat

3 posted on 11/10/2008 6:19:02 PM PST by RKBA Democrat (Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!)
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To: RKBA Democrat

Always, always, always take your income pre-tax....whenever possible!


4 posted on 11/10/2008 6:19:07 PM PST by anniegetyourgun
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To: RKBA Democrat

If the money rolled over into the next year, it might be a good idea. You forfeit whatever money (your own money) you have left in it at the end of the year. At least thats the case with my company’s plan.


5 posted on 11/10/2008 6:23:49 PM PST by tazman3
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To: RKBA Democrat

They just turn around and screwjay us with the Alternative Minimum. But we do it as a sort of insurance so that we don’t have to dip in to ready cash to cover our $7500 deductible if we have a big medical event.


6 posted on 11/10/2008 6:24:46 PM PST by Tidbit (What's black and white, and red all over? The new administration.)
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To: RKBA Democrat

We’ve used one for years...as soon as it became available. I do the record-keeping, etc. That’s one reason most don’t want to be bothered, I suppose....


7 posted on 11/10/2008 6:25:03 PM PST by Molly Pitcher (We are Americans...the sons and daughters of liberty...*.from FReeper the Real fifi*))
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To: tazman3

Are you sure? Ours changed a year or 2 ago...the rules relaxed. If it hasn’t changed, then of course, you have to be careful making the election amount, but it’s still worth it.


8 posted on 11/10/2008 6:27:25 PM PST by Molly Pitcher (We are Americans...the sons and daughters of liberty...*.from FReeper the Real fifi*))
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To: tazman3
If the money rolled over into the next year, it might be a good idea. You forfeit whatever money (your own money) you have left in it at the end of the year. At least thats the case with my company’s plan.

Congress refuses to amend the law to permit FSA funds to be carried over into the following year. The concern seems to be that people might eventually have enough money saved that --gasp-- they won't need health insurance. We can't have people just paying for their own medical expenses out of pocket. /sarc

9 posted on 11/10/2008 6:28:43 PM PST by JHL (Ps 118:8-9)
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To: RKBA Democrat

I have it too, and I find it very useful. I am wondering how long it is going to be legal to have it.


10 posted on 11/10/2008 6:36:43 PM PST by jmcenanly
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To: RKBA Democrat

We’ve used these accounts for years. They’ve gotten easier to use, with most of our co-pays being submitted electronically by the care provider for FSA reimbursement. With two sons in orthodontic treatment, this has been a great help. Their expenses are only partly covered by dental insurance, and the payment schedule is known well in advance.


11 posted on 11/10/2008 6:39:40 PM PST by Think free or die
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To: JHL

Our FSA (Flex plan) allows you to carry over into April of the next year. Excellent, excellent benefit.


12 posted on 11/10/2008 6:39:59 PM PST by babyfreep
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To: Molly Pitcher

Maybe. I’ll look at it again in a week or so.


13 posted on 11/10/2008 6:40:25 PM PST by tazman3
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To: RKBA Democrat

This is a really good deal and we’ve used ours for the births of both of our sons. We maxed out our contribution with our first son who had some medical issues due to prematurity.

I worked in HR for a few years and the problem with the flex spending account is that it’s confusing to employees. I tried to explain it as simply as I could but people would still not understand. They didn’t get the “use it or lose it”. I’m so glad I’m a stay at home mom now!


14 posted on 11/10/2008 6:42:01 PM PST by Evie Munchkin (Sarah in 2012!)
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To: RKBA Democrat

My favorite is you dont say SS payroll taxes on the money. That is rare.


15 posted on 11/10/2008 6:43:13 PM PST by sickoflibs ( Those who don't learn from (real big) mistakes are losers forever)
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To: tazman3
I'll try to remember to look up the rules I have tomorrow.

It's funny, but for years with our 2 children - 1 with a chronic serious condition - we used the max amount allowable.

Then they ceased to be dependents, and we were able to cut back a little...now, getting older and with more meds, etc...we're back to the limit!

16 posted on 11/10/2008 6:46:26 PM PST by Molly Pitcher (We are Americans...the sons and daughters of liberty...*.from FReeper the Real fifi*))
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To: RKBA Democrat

Is this used in place of traditional medical coverage, or in addition to it?


17 posted on 11/10/2008 6:49:31 PM PST by Washi (Support the country you live in, or go live in the country you support.)
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To: Washi

it’s in addition to it. rumor has it we’ll be able to put unused funds into our 401(k)s as well before long.

well, at least that was the case before the collective sh*t america took last week.


18 posted on 11/10/2008 6:54:42 PM PST by Libertarian4Bush (let's all afford "mr obama" the same respect the left afforded president bush)
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To: tazman3
That is true - FSAs do not roll over; however, they they do help in covering some or all of your deductible. Although, this year our deductible will quadruple.

I think what they're getting back to is the old style Major medical plan - utilizing HSAs.

19 posted on 11/10/2008 6:55:58 PM PST by Florida native
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To: babyfreep

FSA plans typically allow 15 1/2 months to expend funds before they are lost. What congress doesn’t allow is for you to continue to build up those funds in perpetuity. There doesn’t seem to be any good reason for them not to allow this, except that they don’t want people to have a large sum built up to use for a rainy day. People taking care of themselves is anathema to the statists.


20 posted on 11/10/2008 6:56:42 PM PST by JHL (Ps 118:8-9)
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To: RKBA Democrat

The real secret to FSA’s is child care. $5k a year for child care, tax free.

A shocking number of employees do not take advantage of these plans.

Lasik is big deal with this stuff on the medical side, as are lots of other optional, non-insured medical procedures.


21 posted on 11/10/2008 7:07:48 PM PST by Wiseghy ("You want to break this army? Then break your word to it.")
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To: Molly Pitcher

That was the case for me - the record keeping (and confusing demands, rules, and regulations) kept me from coming back for a second year.


22 posted on 11/10/2008 8:15:23 PM PST by Magic Fingers
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To: RKBA Democrat

Does all this apply if you buy your health insurance on your own?


23 posted on 11/10/2008 9:04:25 PM PST by ChocChipCookie (Homeschool like your kids' lives depend on it.)
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To: tazman3

I think we lose unspent monies as well, which is why I try to figure out what I’m going to spend and keep my contribution just a little under that. I’m on medications that I refill once a month, so I’m about 90% sure of what I’ll spend from year to year on co-pays. Anything extra, we’re allowed to spend on over the counter meds, etc., so it works out.


24 posted on 11/10/2008 10:08:34 PM PST by radiohead (Buy ammo, get your kids out of government schools, pray for the Republic.)
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To: ChocChipCookie

“Does all this apply if you buy your health insurance on your own?”

Yes, if your employer offers an FSA. It’s a win/win for the employer as the FSA deductions are taken before social security taxes are taken out of your pay. So they’re saving 7%+ on whatever you choose to contribute. Unfortunately, I don’t think your health care premiums can be applied against your account. But all your co-pays, deductibles, prescriptions, OTC drugs, etc. should be eligible. There are some different rules if you have one of those special policies with an HSA.

If you own your own business, you can go through a HR/payroll contractor to set one of these up.

(disclaimer: I’m not an accountant or HRO type. See your accountant or HRO professional if you need assistance)


25 posted on 11/11/2008 3:51:42 AM PST by RKBA Democrat (Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!)
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To: tazman3
If the money rolled over into the next year, it might be a good idea. You forfeit whatever money (your own money) you have left in it at the end of the year. At least thats the case with my company’s plan.

Those are IRS rules and apply to everyone, but since the government steals so much of our money post-tax, I figured we only have to use half of it to break even. We can do that just with our prescription co-payments.

26 posted on 11/11/2008 5:40:56 AM PST by nina0113 (Hugh Akston is my hero.)
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To: RKBA Democrat
If you have an FSA and are starting to wonder if you will be able to use it up before 15 March, then you should check out the FSA web site for all the things you can buy at the drug store that you can be reimbursed for and use the remaining funds to stock up (nothing is going to get cheaper from here on out!).

Reading glasses, wraps and braces for knees, elbows, etc, first aid supplies and many more things you should always have on hand are covered by FSA. It's your money and now's a good time to get ready for hard times ahead.

27 posted on 11/11/2008 8:25:56 AM PST by meowmeow (In Loving Memory of Our Dear Viking Kitty (1987-2006))
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To: Wiseghy

Unfortunately, the total is only 5K, whether you have 1 kid or 5.


28 posted on 11/11/2008 3:33:18 PM PST by tbw2 (Freeper sci-fi - "Sirat: Through the Fires of Hell" - on amazon.com)
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To: RKBA Democrat

The reason I went back to work full time while Husband got his business off the ground was that we needed affordable health insurance.

My company GIVES me $1,300.00 a year in a FSA, and I kick in $50 a month on top of that. Our health insurance is very affordable and very inclusive at $208.92 a month.

It’s November, and we’ve used up every dime of it, because my husband is on some expensive meds due to his two spinal fusions, and we both got glasses and contacts this year.

It really helps our budget.

And, in case anyone didn’t know, there’s quite a few over-the-counter things they’ll reimburse you for as well. If you shop at Walgreen’s, there will be a little “F” next to purchases that can be reimbursed through your FSA. Wal-Mart probably does that as well?

Sadly, I’m sure CONGRESS will eventually find a way to tax us on this and ruin one of the few perks we have left in the Free Market. *Rolleyes*


29 posted on 11/11/2008 4:23:54 PM PST by Diana in Wisconsin ('Taking the moderate path of appeasement leads to abysmal defeat.' - Rush on 11/05/08)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

“Wal-Mart probably does that as well?”

Yes they do, but I don’t remember what the code is.

“Sadly, I’m sure CONGRESS will eventually find a way to tax us on this and ruin one of the few perks we have left in the Free Market. *Rolleyes*”

I can’t say I’d be surprised if they tried. Part of the reason why it’s important to spread the word about these is to make sure that there are a whole lot of folks taking advantage of these FSA plans when they’re offered. It’s like the home mortgage interest deduction; it would be political suicide to target it because so many people take advantage of it.


30 posted on 11/11/2008 5:18:05 PM PST by RKBA Democrat (Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!)
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