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How Flexible Spending Accounts Make Healthcare Affordable

Jan 05, 2015 03:55AM ● Published by Family Features

(Family Features) Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) help make healthcare more affordable and yet they have gotten a bad rap due to the common misconception that you forfeit what you don’t use. But did you know that the IRS modified the “Use It or Lose It” rule in 2013, and now allows up to $500 in unused funds to be rolled over to the following year? You can now experience the benefits of this great pre-tax benefit without risking the loss of any of your hard earned money.

FSAs are tax-advantaged benefit programs that allow employees to use pre-tax money to pay for eligible healthcare expenses not covered by their medical insurance, like co-pays, deductibles, dental, vision care, prescriptions and chiropractic care, among other qualified expenses. Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) are similar to FSAs except funds roll over and accumulate year to year if not spent. Having FSA/HSA funds help ensure you can offset expenses from unplanned medical treatments.

One example is treatment for back pain. According to the National Institutes of Health, back pain is one of the most common medical problems, affecting eight out of 10 people at some point during their lives. It is the second leading cause of absenteeism from work, after the common cold. In fact, employees with back pain are absent four more days per year than workers without back pain.

Yet accessing care such as chiropractic treatments for back pain can be challenging – and expensive.

“During the last couple of years, changes with insurance have made receiving good chiropractic care difficult, even unattainable for many people,” said John Richards, CEO of The Joint…the chiropractic place, a network of chiropractic clinics committed to making quality alternative healthcare affordable. “What many people don’t realize is that the cost of chiropractic care can actually be offset by some of the available tax programs, such as FSAs.”

How to take advantage of the FSA:

  • Talk with your employer to determine if they offer an FSA (at least 85 percent of large employers do). By using pre-tax dollars, you will save an average of 30% when you pay for office visits (including chiropractic), prescription drugs, contact lenses, and more with your FSA dollars.
  • Be sure to sign up for a standard FSA which covers all eligible medical expenses, including medical treatments such as chiropractor’s fees; limited purpose FSAs can only be used for vision and dental expenses.
  • Compare insurance co-pays versus cash-based care to make your FSA funds go farther. For example, The Joint…the chiropractic place has over 240 locations and its clinics are cash based, allowing consumers to receive quality chiropractic care without insurance. Several plans and packages are available, including a $49-per-month plan that includes up to four visits, which is significantly lower than the average insurance co-pay for a single visit.

For more information on how to use your Flexible Spending Account for chiropractic treatments, visit www.thejoint.com/FSA.

The information contained in this release provides a general summary regarding flexible spending accounts, is intended for informational purposes only, does not purport to be complete and does not constitute tax, legal or accounting advice. Neither The Joint nor any of its agents or employees is offering tax, legal or accounting advice. Anyone interested in the topics presented in this release should seek advice based on his or her particular circumstances from his or her own independent professional advisors. 

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