Sunshine feels good. Puppies are fun. Flexible Spending and Health Savings Accounts are a smart way to pay for health care. These are simple truths of life. That’s why these money-saving accounts are more popular than ever.
One of the extra perks of these programs is that funds can be used for eye exams, eyeglasses and contact lenses. Normally, we’re all for anything that encourages more eye care. But FSAs and HSAs can’t replace vision benefits. Used in tandem with vision benefits, they can pack a powerful pocketbook punch; but only if they’re used correctly.
One of the advantages of managed care is that we negotiate better rates than the prices uninsured people pay. Also, the money employees save on an eye exam equals or betters the premium they pay for an entire year.
There’s also the issue of timing. Using FSA or HSA funds too quickly for vision care may cost your employees money. How is that possible? It’s all about which funds they use first. EyeMed members should make sure their vision benefits are applied before FSA or HSA funds are used to cover the difference, not the other way around.
Otherwise, members are leaving coverage money on the table. And here’s another truth of life: nobody likes leaving money on the table.
Here’s what every EyeMed member should know when paying for vision care:
- Vision benefits may cover items that aren't eligible for FSA or HSA. Even if you think something is covered and your account’s debit card works, you may find your expense isn’t covered – after you pay taxes and a 20% penalty.
- HSA money grows tax-deferred. The longer the money stays in, the more it can grow.
- Using vision benefits can trigger network discounts and special offers on eyeglasses, contacts and accessories; these discounts might not happen if you just use your savings account.
- HSA money can be kept all the way through retirement. Why use it sooner than you have to?
- With in-network vision benefits, there’s no hassle of dealing with receipts and reimbursements. The paperwork conversation stays between EyeMed and your provider.
- Only so much can be contributed each year to an FSA or HSA. Use it up and the account stays empty until next year. That doesn’t help anyone.
- Vision benefits do a great job of covering your eyes – and regular eye exams can spot health concerns in other parts of the body – but FSAs and HSAs are more flexible. By keeping more money in a savings account, you’ll have it available for myriad other health concerns.
- Once money in an HSA is used, it may take a while to build the balance back up. Your health may not have that kind of time to wait.
Make no mistake, FSAs and HSAs can still be a huge help when receiving eye care. They’re perfect for paying a deductible or copay. But when it comes to paying for eyewear and eye care, the simple truth is: Benefits are better.
Learn more about EyeMed’s benefits and what they can do for your employees.