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Get Smart – Flexible Spending Account Grace Period Bearing Down

About 35 million Americans covered by a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) are up against the March 15 Grace Period deadline (for FSA plans that ended Dec. 31, 2016). 

For people with a Grace Period deadline, this is the final chance to spend down remaining FSA funds from 2016, or risk forfeiting those funds.

According to a recent survey, approximately 42% of employers offer a Grace Period, which gives individuals a two-and-a-half month extension to use FSA money that they contributed to their account in the prior plan year.

According to customer data, some of the most common—and not so common—expenses include:

Services from dentists, orthodontists, physicians, acupuncturists and chiropractors

Smartphone-enabled, wireless blood pressure monitors and wrist-worn monitors

Sunscreen and sunscreen lip balm (SPF 15+, broad spectrum)

Baby health care products (nasal mist, breast pumps and supplies, etc.)

First-Aid kits and products
Pregnancy tests and prenatal vitamins

Feminine hygiene products


Scented relaxation masks

Expenses that are NOT eligible:

Electronic toothbrushes

Toothpaste/dental floss

Weight-loss products/fitness trackers

Heart rate monitors

Gym memberships

Medical marijuana (Could be eligible when prescribed by a physician or when subject to medical necessity with appropriate documentation. If you are questioning a specific expense, first check with your FSA administrator on eligibility.)

Some FSA account holders may have a Carryover option that allows them to carry over up to $500 in FSA funds to the next plan year. An employer may offer an FSA Carryover or Grace Period option, but not both. Employers are not required to offer either option.


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