BASE® Statement Regarding Coronavirus: BASE® Committed to Service Amidst Coronavirus Social Distancing ‑ UPDATED 3.19.2020

7 Surprising Ways to Spend FSA Dollars

More than 33 Americans utilize a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) through their employer to pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses.   While funds are used for qualified expenses such as copays at the doctor office, prescription drugs, and over-the-counter medical supplies, many may be surprised that FSA dollars can be used for much more than that.

The BASE® Flexible Spending Account (FSA) provides employees with more options to pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses not covered by insurance.  Employees elect to have a set dollar amount up to the government established limit, $2,750 for 2020, deducted pre-tax from their paychecks.

There are many common, everyday medical expenses that FSA funds can be spent on, some eligible expenses may come as a surprise!  A few are listed below: 

  • Staple Medication. On average, Americans spend $338 per year on over-the-counter (OTC) products per year.  With a prescription, OTC medications are FSA-eligible.  For example, pain relievers, allergy medicine, heartburn relief, antacids, and other medicine cabinet staples. 
  • Allergy Testing. More than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies each year.  With help from a doctor, an allergy test can quickly pinpoint the cause.  Allergy sufferers can save by paying for this test with money from their FSA.   
  • Medication Accessories. About 55% of Americans regularly take medication with an average of 4 prescription drugs per day.  Pill boxes, clocks, organizers, sorters, and cutters can help manage medications.  Using FSA dollars can help keep medications straight and taken on time. 
  • Eye Care. More than 6 out of 10 Americans wear glasses or contact lenses.  For those who do not have perfect vision, with a current prescription, FSA dollars can be used to purchase prescription glasses, contacts, and sunglasses. 
  • Flu Shot. The flu vaccination reduces the risk of getting the flu by 40-60%.  The flu shot is FSA eligible and by getting it, the risk of getting the flu, and enduring flu-related hospitalizations, can be lowered. 
  • Travel Preparation. In 2018, 93 million Americans traveled outside of the country.  Even though FSA dollars cannot pay for the trip, travelers can stock up on travel essentials, such as, travel pillows, sunscreen, motion sickness bands, etc. beforehand. 
  • Baby Essentials. According to a USDA report, the average family will spend roughly $12,000 on child-related expenses in their baby’s first year of life.  Parents-to-be can save big on a variety of must-haves, as well as on pricey safety devices, such as a device that a baby wears that will track heart rate, oxygen levels, and how well they slept.

For a full list of eligible medical expenses, check out Publication 502.  If still unsure, check with the terms of the account.  Another resource to check out – Health Shopper – find all eligible needs in one place!

Both the employer and employees benefit from utilizing the Flexible Spending Account.  By sponsoring an FSA, employers provide another means for their employees to pay for medical expenses through an employee-funded benefit plan further enhancing their benefits package.  Employers save on FICA and FUTA taxes and save even more as more employees choose to participate.  Employees will see an increase in their take-home pay due to the funds being transferred on a pre-tax basis, and save federal, state, Social Security, and Medicare taxes.  Employees can enjoy easy access to pay for qualifying medical expenses with a swipe of a debit card, and the flexibility the account offers.

For more information on the BASE® Flexible Spending Account (FSA), call 888.386.9680. 

Check Out the Starting Lineup for Health Reimbursement Arrangements for 2020

Team HRA is looking good going into the 2020 season.  With 2 NEW additions to the lineup, small businesses will have the options to control their business’ budget while being able to offer a formal benefit to their employees.

A Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) is a tool for small business owners to increase their tax savings and to offer tax-free health benefits.  An HRA may reimburse for qualified medical expenses such as co-pays, deductibles, and health insurance premiums.

Health Reimbursement Arrangements have always been a great teammate for businesses that have struggled defending off the rising cost in health care, bringing into play group health insurance, and scoring the benefits package their employees deserve at a low cost.  As access to better benefit packages expands, more and more businesses can consider HRAs as a viable option.

After the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the HRAs have reentered the health care arena as a serious team player for small businesses.  At this point in the season, it is a great time to look forward to what’s in store for 2020.

Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) are available in 2020 -

  • The BASE® Section 105 HRA is available for small business owners to deduct up-to 100% of health care costs including individual insurance premiums and qualified out-of-pocket medical expenses. It was designed to assist with health care expenses and provide clients, on average, over $5,000 in savings. 
  • The BASE® Integrated HRA is available for employers with a group health insurance plan in place looking to reduce the overall cost of insurance coverage. It gives employers the flexibility to help their employees pay for medical expenses not covered by health insurance, further enhancing and expanding the benefit plan.  The Integrated HRA has been proven to reduce a client’s health insurance premium increases by 10-50%.        
  • The BASE® Qualified Small Employer HRA is available to help employers offer their employees a more attractive benefits package without providing a group health plan. Employees secure their own medical insurance on or off the Marketplace.  Employers help their employees pay for qualified medical coverage, tax-free, such as insurance premiums, co-pays, deductibles, eye care, dental care, or any other qualified health care expense.

Adding to the already great HRA lineup…

  • The BASE® Individual Coverage HRA is available to employers looking to provide an alternative when it comes to providing health benefits. It allows employers the opportunity to reimburse their employees for their individually purchased insurance.  This type of plan provides health benefits to better fit the needs of many businesses and can help to cut costs without reducing value when it comes to providing those health benefits to employees. 
  • The BASE® Excepted Benefit HRA is available to employers of all sizes to use tax-free dollars to reimburse employee out-of-pocket medical expenses and non-insured medical expenses, such as copays, deductibles, prescriptions, dental and vision insurance premiums, COBRA, and short-term limited duration insurance premiums. This tax-savings plan is available to employers who offer group health insurance, but employees do not have to be enrolled to participate.  The EBHRA expands the employer’s benefit package and gives employees an additional $1,800 tax-free to apply towards their qualifying elected benefits.

So what can we expect for 2020?  The HRA will still be a great option for businesses committed to providing health benefits to their employees while looking to control health care costs.  With 3 strong BASE® HRAs on the roster, and two NEW HRAs entering the lineup, 2020 is setting up to help thousands of businesses.  Call BASE® at 888.386.9680 to get started TODAY!