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After consulting with an eye care specialist to determine your candidacy for LASIK, your immediate consideration may be about how you will pay for your procedure. Fortunately, even with changes made under the Affordable Care Act, LASIK is an eligible medical expense, which can be covered using dollars from your health savings account (HSA) or flexible spending account (FSA).

HSAs, FSAs & LASIK: Key Facts

Both HSAs and FSAs have rules that determine how you use your dollars from these accounts to pay for the procedure and possibly even when you schedule your procedure. The below chart contains key HSA and FSA facts to consider when planning LASIK.

HSA FSA
What is it? Consider it a longer-term savings plan for health care.Because money put into an HSA rolls over year-to-year, an HSA is a good option if you aren’t in a hurry to get LASIK, and you want to save for the procedure and other health-related expenses. Consider it a shorter-term savings plan for health care.Because money put into an FSA is available immediately, an FSA is a good option if you would like to get LASIK right away, and you know you won’t have many other health-related expenses.
Who can get it? HSAs are available to those covered by a qualified high deductible health plan. Employees with an HSA can also have a limited-purpose FSA, which covers eligible vision and dental expenses. The majority of employers offer FSAs. However, holders of general-purpose FSAs cannot contribute to an HSA. Those who have an HSA can participate in a limited-purpose FSA, which covers eligible vision and dental expenses.
What does it cover? Most funds cover medical, dental, orthodontia, pharmacy and vision expenses (including eyeglasses, contact lenses and vision correction procedures). Most funds cover medical, dental, orthodontia, pharmacy and vision expenses (including eyeglasses, contact lenses and vision correction procedures).
How much can I contribute? For 2014, HSA pretax contributions cannot exceed $3,300 for an individual, $6,550 for a family or the employer’s plan maximum.LASIK costs an average of $2,073 per eye. Because HSA funds roll over from year to year, patients could save enough to cover the entire procedure. For 2014, FSAs have an employee pretax contribution limit of $2,500 for medical care.LASIK costs an average of $2,073 per eye. Although FSA funds do not roll over from year to year, patients could use the funds to cover a portion of the procedure.
Can my employer make a contribution? HSA accounts often include an employer contribution. Employers may contribute to FSA accounts.
When can I use the money? Funds become available as they are deducted from the employee’s paycheck and deposited into her HSA account. The entire amount the employee elects to contribute is available immediately. The employee’s deductions are used to “pay back” the money.
Will I lose unused funds at year’s end? There is no “use-it-or-lose-it” policy with HSA accounts. HSA funds also accrue interest over time.HSAs allow greater flexibility for scheduling LASIK. Patients schedule their procedures when they are personally and financially prepared for it. Employers may offer a two-and-a-half month grace period for employees to use FSA funds after the end of the year.Alternatively, the Treasury Department will let employees carry over $500 in unused balances into the following year to avoid the “use-it-or-lose-it” rule. However, some employers won’t permit this due to administration costs.FSAs offer less flexibility when scheduling LASIK. Patients must schedule and undergo their procedures before their FSA funds expire.

Advantages of Using a Premium LASIK Provider

In addition to providing top-notch care, premium LASIK providers make it easy to pay for your procedure using HSA or FSA funds. All you have to do is give the provider your health care debit card one time. Provider staff members take care of paperwork and other insurance-company logistics, so you don’t have to deal with the hassle.

The above are general guidelines applicable to most plans. Your individual health insurance may vary. Consult your plan provider or human resources representative for information specific to your situation.

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