“Flex spending” refers to Flexible Spending Accounts, or FSAs, which contain tax-free funds set aside to pay for medical procedures. At Tylock-George Laser Eye Care, we frequently get questions about whether FSAs can be used to pay for various eye procedures, and often, patients ask specifically about using flex spending to cover LASIK.
The good news is that yes, Flexible Spending Accounts can be used to pay for LASIK surgery. Because your insurance options are limited when it comes to LASIK, using an FSA for tax-free payment is an ideal financing option.
How Do Flexible Spending Accounts Work?
FSAs are available through employer health plans. Their primary benefit is that money placed in them is tax-free. With an FSA, you can set aside money for medical expenses, and simultaneously reduce your taxable income. In some cases, your employer may match some portion of the amount you load into your account at the beginning of the year. You’ll typically be given a Visa or Mastercard to use when spending money from the account.
FSAs have some limitations attached to them:
- There’s a limit to how much money they can hold
- You can only put funds into an FSA during insurance open enrollment: currently November 1st through December 15th of the previous year
- Because flexible spending is tied to your employer, you can lose those funds when you leave or change jobs
Most importantly, almost all FSA funds won’t roll over to the next year. This is the reason you’ll often be reminded to “use it or lose it” when it comes to your FSA: that money will go away, whether you spend it or not!
Differences Between an FSA and an HSA
HSAs, or Health Savings Accounts, are very similar to FSAs in that they’re tax-free medical accounts. HSAs have different requirements and benefits. The main barrier to accessing an HSA is that you need a high-deductible health plan to be eligible.
Otherwise, HSAs have a lot of advantages over FSAs. You can get them outside of your work, and don’t lose the funds if you lose or change jobs. You can also store more in them than FSAs, and have the ability to adjust how much is in the account at any time.
Perhaps most importantly, funds in an HSA roll over between years, which means you can hold on to your HSA funds until you’re ready to spend them.
What is LASIK eye surgery?
LASIK, or laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis, is a vision-correcting surgery for nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism caused by a misshapen cornea.
The cornea is responsible for focusing light into your eyes. When it is shaped incorrectly, light is not focused into your eyes properly, and your vision becomes unfocused as well.
During your LASIK surgery, the team at Tylock-George uses a laser to painlessly reshape your cornea. This allows your cornea to focus properly and corrects your vision. From walking in the door to walking out with corrected vision usually takes only 30 minutes, and you can have your new sight in just 24 hours.
Is LASIK Covered by Insurance?
LASIK is rarely covered by insurance, at least in its entirety. There are many benefits to getting LASIK surgery, including savings over time and years without worrying about your vision. Unfortunately, because these benefits aren’t considered as medical necessities, it’s generally classified as an “elective procedure” except in the very rare case that your vision depends on it.
Because LASIK eye surgery is considered elective, most insurance providers won’t help finance the procedure. That is why it’s so important to find other options to make this life-changing investment easier to pay for.
Can I Use My Flex Spending on LASIK?
Yes, flex spending accounts can be used for LASIK eye surgery. Most vision insurances will classify LASIK as an elective procedure, and use that reasoning to not cover the procedure. Because of this, flex spending is perfect to pay for your LASIK procedure, using untaxed funds to cover your laser vision correction.
When you pay for your LASIK eye surgery, you can utilize your flex spending in one of two ways. The first is simple: Just use your flex spending Visa or Mastercard to pay for the procedure. If you pay another way, ask your Tylock-George doctor for a receipt, which you can send to your FSA or HSA administrator for reimbursement through the IRS.
That said, if you have any questions, contact us at (972) 316-9851 to ask about your specific financial situation and find out if LASIK is right for you.
LASIK Eye Surgery at Tylock-George Laser Eye Care
At Tylock George, we want to give you access to clear vision and excellent eye care at an affordable cost. Our doctors will take the time to discuss your LASIK procedure and recovery during your consultation, as well as answer any questions you may have. On the day of your LASIK eye surgery, Dr. George will review your results and perform an additional examination for you.
To find out more about the cost of LASIK, especially in the Dallas-Fort Worth area where Tylock-George is based, please visit our website, call us at (972) 316-9851, or set up an appointment to learn more about LASIK.