If your employer offers a health flexible savings account (FSA) it could save you money on medical expenses such as laser vision correction, but you must enroll during your company’s open enrollment period before the 2020 plan year starts.

If you choose to enroll you can contribute up to $2750 through payroll deductions during the 2020 plan year. That is an increase of $50 from the 2019 maximum. Whatever amount you choose to contribute is not subject to federal income tax, Social Security tax, or Medicare tax.

Carry Over or Grace Period

Find out if your company’s FSA has a carryover option or a grace period option. If it doesn’t, then you will lose any amount left in your FSA at the end of the plan year. If your employer has a “use it or lose it” FSA plan, then make sure you don’t have more money deducted for your FSA than you will be able to spend on covered expenses during the year.

Covered FSA Expenses

This is a sample of a list of covered expenses. Your employer should have a similar list available. Items with a checkmark next to them are covered without any pre-approval. Items that have a checkmark along with the word LETTER signifies that the item is covered if your doctor gives you a letter of medical necessity (LMN), and items with a checkmark and RX mean that the item is covered if you have a prescription for it. Items without a checkmark are not eligible for FSA reimbursement.

For example, over-the-counter medications are covered if your doctor writes a prescription for them. Therapies and medical equipment and supplies are eligible if your doctor gives you a letter of medical necessity explaining why you need the therapies or medical equipment. Diabetic supplies, such as test strips and monitors do not require a prescription to be reimbursed by FSA plans. Walking aids such as canes, walkers, crutches, and related supplies also do not require a prescription. Bandages and wound care supplies are also covered without a prescription.

Save on LASIK

You can use your FSA for copayments, deductibles, dental, and vision care. You can use your FSA for LASIK eye surgery and any other eye surgery, and for other vision-related expenses such as glasses, contact lenses, and eye exams.

If your plan has a carryover option, you can carry over up to $500 of unused funds to the following plan year. If your plan has a grace period option, you have two and a half months after the plan year to use the funds—for example, until March 15 for a plan ending on December 31.  Employers can offer either option, but not both.