Imagine I told you that I could save you .35 cents on every $1 that you spent on something, would you be interested?
If your company is offering you a flex spending plan (FSA) and you are not taking advantage of it, you are leaving real money on the table. Please let me explain how it works.
You decide how much money you want to set aside from your paycheck for health care expenses. This money is taken from your check, pre-tax. If you are doing well, this could represent a ton of savings, easily over 35%
Take a look at how much money you have spent on healthcare related products in the last couple of years. Now take a look at what you plan on spending this year. Are braces in the cards, did your deductible go up, is there a surgery you know you need, are your eye glasses getting up there in age, do you want to see your favorite chiropractor a little more? (Hint, ME!!)
Once you have an idea of what you are going to spend, go to your HR department and ask to enroll in the FSA program. Most companies will offer this and make it very easy to use by giving you a debit card with your funds pre-loaded on it. Let me repeat that…PRE-LOADED!!! If you need your braces on January 10th, the money is there, how cool is that?
These funds can also be used for childcare.
Now there are two downsides, the first is every now and then you may need to fill out some paperwork. It won’t be much and it shouldn’t take up too much of your time. The second problem is a bit bigger…
Whatever money you do not use by the end of the year you lose! Now I am going to share a little secret with you, please don’t tell anyone…this money that you lose goes back to your employer! It is imperative that you use this money by the end of the year or you risk losing it.
Please consider using an FSA to save yourself a ton of money if you plan on using any sort of health care in the next calendar year.
A great article can be found here on some of the new rule changes that are coming forward for 2011.