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Use It Or Lose It: Top 3 Ways to Spend Your FSA Dollars Before December 31

By December 18, 2014August 24th, 2021Health Insurance
Customer looking at medication box

The end of 2014 is fast approaching, which means you may only have a few weeks left to use up any funds left in your medical flexible spending account (FSA). Remember, because of IRS regulations, you forfeit unused FSA balances at the end of your plan year.[1] If you don’t use the funds by December 31, you lose them![2]

Stumped about what qualifies for an eligible FSA purchase? Read on for our top 3 ways to use your FSA funds before 2014 is over:

Deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance for covered medical and dental services.

It’s time to schedule those doctors’ and dentist appointments that you’ve been neglecting all year. Get those preventive health visits or teeth cleanings in before the end of the year, and you can use your FSA funds to cover your copayments, coinsurance, or deductible.

Covered prescription drug and vision expenses.

Stock up on contact lenses or contact lens solution, get a new pair of eyeglasses, and schedule a vision exam. Many vision expenses are eligible for reimbursement, so now’s the time to take care of any vision services you’ve been putting off.

Prescription drugs are also eligible for reimbursement, so another way to use all your FSA funds is to make sure you fill all of your prescriptions before the year ends.

Over-the-counter medications with a prescription.

If you have a condition that requires over-the-counter medications, you may be eligible for reimbursement for these medications, as long as you have a prescription. This may include pain relievers, antacids, antihistamines, decongestants, and cold medicines. Dietary supplements or vitamins (e.g., fiber supplements or calcium) may also be eligible if prescribed by your doctor.[3]

For a full list of the FSA expenses that may be reimbursed, refer to IRS Publication 502, which is available online at


  • Generally you have time in early 2015 to submit FSA expenses incurred in 2014. This run-out period allows you some time to pull together all your receipts and submit them.
  • FSA rules vary by plan so you should confirm your plan’s specific FSA rules with your employer or plan sponsor.
  • You can use your medical flexible spending account to cover eligible expenses for you and your eligible dependents. Eligible dependents include any person you claim as a dependent for federal income tax purposes.

[1] Unless your FSA plan offers the 2 ½-month extension or the $500 rollover option.
[2] Depending upon plan design.
[3] Items used to maintain general health (e.g., Chapstick® or One-a-Day® vitamins) are not eligible.

Paula Sunshine

About Paula Sunshine

Paula Sunshine is senior vice president and chief marketing executive at Independence Blue Cross. She oversees all commercial and consumer marketing activities, including digital assets such as and the IBX mobile app. Ms. Sunshine earned a bachelor of arts degree in mathematics from Emory University and a master of business administration from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.