Can I Use FSA or HSA for Glasses?
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Here's how (and where) to buy glasses with your FSA and HSA dollars.
If you’re not entirely sure how your Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) and Health Savings Accounts (HSA) work, you’re not alone. The key takeaway is that FSA and HSA are tax benefit federal government programs designed to assist the account holder (that’s you) with healthcare and medical costs that aren’t covered by insurance. Here’s how you’re damaging your eyeglasses without knowing it.
During annual open enrollment (or during a qualifying life event like getting married or having a baby), you have to decide how much money you want to earmark for a FSA or HSA. The caveat? FSA funds must be appropriately used on health care or health care–related products before a specific time frame, usually the beginning of a calendar year, or you lose the money. Gulp.
If you’re nearing the end of your FSA timeline (HSA dollars are related to high-deductible health plans to help with costs, and don’t expire) and still have cash to spend, new glasses are the way to go. Whether you want to update your glasses style, replace bent frames, or have an extra pair as backup, additional prescription glasses are covered.
Andy Bilinsky, CEO/Founder of Lensabl, recommends glasses as a good choice for FSA and HSA plans. Bilinsky says, “Vision plans normally offer only an ‘allowance’ on frames or contacts, not both. And then when you want to add prescription lenses, it becomes quite expensive out-of-pocket. For this reason, frames + lenses (glasses) are a great option to use FSA or HSA dollars on!” Find out what your glasses secretly reveal about your personality.
Contributions to your FSA are determined by how much money you choose to have withheld from your paycheck. As for how much to set aside each year for FSA, Bilinsky has some solid advice. “The easiest way to calculate how much you should contribute is by reviewing your out-of-pocket medical expenses from the previous year. This would include copays, deductibles, prescriptions, dental, and vision care. Then take into account any changes you see in that spending for the upcoming year.”
Still have HSA/FSA questions on buying glasses, sunglasses, contact lenses, and blue light glasses? We have answers.
Where can I use FSA or HSA to buy glasses online?
If you’re nearing the end of your FSA timeline, or want to spend HSA funds on glasses, we have you covered. We partnered up with Glasses USA and picked our favorite 33 pairs based on style, price, and brand. To save you serious cash, we have promo codes for purchases made starting December 1st. Use READER65 to get 65 percent off sunglasses and eyeglasses, and LENSES70 for 70 percent off frames for designer eyeglasses and sunglasses. Glasses USA offers a virtual mirror to try on glasses, so you can see how you’ll look in a pair before you add them to your cart. Not sure about your prescription? Glasses USA has a free smart scanner. All you need to do is scan your old pair of glasses, and voila: instant prescription information without an eye exam.
Reader’s Digest Glasses USA Picks
Can I use FSA or HSA to buy glasses?
Absolutely, yes. HSA and FSA funds can be used at online and brick-and-mortar retailers to buy glasses—basically anywhere that sells prescription eyeglasses, prescription sunglasses, and prescription contact lenses. Some retailers accept payment directly via HSA and FSA debit cards. If you don’t have your card at the time of purchase, you can apply for reimbursement with your provider.
Can I use FSA or HSA for reading glasses?
Yes, reading glasses are eligible for FSA and HSA expenses. The good news is you don’t need a prescription for reading glasses to qualify. It doesn’t matter if you are prescribed reading glasses by your optometrist, or if you decide to buy them independently. Reading glasses are available to buy with your account.
Can I use FSA or HSA for blue light blocking glasses?
Most providers will let you use your FSA or HSA accounts to buy blue light blocking glasses. Blue light blocking glasses filter out the blue light from televisions, phones, and computer screens that can negatively affect sleep and cause eye strain. Some wearers report less eye fatigue, especially when wearing blue light blocking glasses while looking at screens at night. In this case, it’s best to check with your provider to find out whether blue light blocking glasses are covered by your plan.
Can I use FSA or HSA for sunglasses?
Hoping to score a cool pair of new sunglasses with your FSA or HSA dollars? Not so fast. Sunglasses are only covered if they’re a prescription pair. Non-prescription sunglasses, even if they provide protection from sunlight, are not available for purchase with these types of plans. That doesn’t mean you can’t add prescription lenses to sunglasses and be good to go. Check out our favorite sunglass picks at Glasses USA, and the best sunglasses for UV protection.
Can I use FSA or HSA for contacts?
If you have a prescription for contact lenses, they’re definitely covered with an FSA or HSA plan. So are the associated contact lens care items, like saline and cleaning solution. Costume lenses or contact lenses designed to change your eye color won’t be covered, since they don’t correct your vision. Sorry.
Does FSA or HSA cover eye exams?
Yes, you can use your health savings or flexible spending account to pay for eye exams. If your vision plan already covers the cost of eye exams, then you’ll want to start there. But if you don’t have a vision plan, or there’s a copay for eye exams with your vision plan, then your FSA or HSA will cover those costs. It’s a smart way to use up your funds and keep your eyes healthy at the same time.
How do I redeem FSA or HSA funds?
If you have an FSA or HSA debit card (sometimes called a flex card), you can simply use it to buy eligible eyewear with an FSA-approved retailer, like Glasses USA, online or in person. If you don’t have a debit card, you’ll need to pay for the up-front costs. Then, print the receipt and submit it to your provider, along with any other documents required. Some plans require showing that the purchase was a qualifying expense, as well as a statement that explains that the expense was not covered by your health insurance plan. Once approved, you get reimbursed for the amount you spent on qualifying items. Don’t you look smart? Next, check out the best 11 places to buy glasses online.
*Contact your FSA or HSA plan administrator for complete deals about your plan.
- Andy Bilinsky, CEO/Founder of Lensabl