For the tax year 2016, the amount the U.S. Internal Revenue Service indicates an individual can set aside up to $2,550 in a health Flexible Spending Arrangement (FSA) and up to $3,350 in a Health Savings Account. Individuals considering medical procedures – like LASIK – can rest assured that their FSAs or HSAs may be used to cover some or all of the cost. For those planning ahead in 2017, those amounts go up slightly, by $50 for each.
FSAs and HSAs are popular financing options for LASIK. “Every day I see patients who use their flexible spending or health savings accounts to pay for their LASIK surgery,” said Dr. Eric Donnenfeld, a member of the American Refractive Surgery Council. “By doing this, they are saving money on a lifetime of vision care costs using tax-free money. Essentially, they are investing in their health and vision.”
If you are thinking about using your FSA or HSA for LASIK, here are a few facts to consider:
- If you choose to have LASIK, you can use your FSA or HSA dollars to help pay for the procedure. BUT the entire cost of the procedure, particularly using the most advanced technologies, may not be covered by your FSA or HSA fund.
- If your specific program provides a “grace period,” you may have a small window – between one and a few months at the beginning of the year – to combine any remaining FSA or HSA funds from the previous year with the FSA or HSA funds from the current year. This may help you pay for healthcare expenses – such as LASIK – in excess of the annual cap using your combined FSA or HSA funds.
- Married couples and families have a higher contribution limit ($6,750 with an HSA). This family contribution should cover the cost of LASIK using the most advanced technologies.
Finally, don’t forget to check with your company’s benefit manager for advice on how to best use your Flexible Spending Arrangement or Health Savings Account plan.