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8 ways to spend unused FSA dollars to boost your health in 2021

Dental exam
(Image credit: Getty)

Healthcare Flexible Spending Accounts have strict ‘use it or lose it’ rules, so if you have any leftover funds in your healthcare FSA for the 2019-2020 plan, the deadline for spending the money is 31 December 2020. All claims need to be filed by 15 February 2021. Most FSAs stick to this 31 December deadline, though a few have an extended cut-off date of 15 March 2021. Deadlines for the current plan year (ending June 30, 2021) are not affected.

FSAs are commonly offered as a benefit via your employer, and give you the option of putting tax-free money from your paycheck into an account used to pay for healthcare expenses throughout the year. 2020’s maximum contribution was $2,750 per person. Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), mostly used by people with high-deductible health insurance (opens in new tab) plans, are different, as with those you can rollover savings to another year. 

It isn’t unusual to have some leftover FSA dollars each year, but this year, when so many healthcare treatments have been put on hold due to the pandemic, you may have a higher amount than normal. If that’s the case, and you’re wondering how best to use them before the 31 December deadline hits, below are 8 products you could spend your leftover FSA dollars on to boost your health in 2021. 

Don’t forget, you can spend them directly at the FSA Store (opens in new tab), or at dedicated major retailer sites such as the Amazon FSA Store (opens in new tab), or Health Products For You (opens in new tab).

1. Dental procedures

It isn’t just vision that your FSA covers - you can use it on dental care too. The IRS has produced a detailed guide (opens in new tab) to using FSA for dental and medical treatments, explaining how FSA funds can be used to pay for services, including the co-pays or out of pocket costs, on dental cleaning sessions, as well as procedures such as fillings and root canals. Sadly, you can’t use FSA dollars to buy a new electric toothbrush (opens in new tab) or cosmetic products such as teeth whiteners (opens in new tab).

2. Eye care 

If you use prescription eyewear, you can spend your FSA funds on new frames and lenses. So whether you’re in need of the best eyeglasses online (opens in new tab) or contact lenses (opens in new tab), you could use leftover FSA dollars to buy one or both. You could even buy prescription sunglasses, and stock up on extras such as cleaning solution kits. 

FSA dollars can also be spent on eye exams and some procedures, though which vision companies you can spend funds with depends on your FSA provider, so check before you make plans. Procedures like laser eye surgery may only be partially covered (opens in new tab). If you don’t yet have coverage, take a look at our guide to the best vision insurance (opens in new tab).

3. Thermometers

As fever is a major coronavirus symptom (opens in new tab), this year we saw mass stockpiling of digital thermometers (opens in new tab) taking place, but thankfully stock levels and prices are now returning to normal. Even better, if you haven’t yet managed to snap up a thermometer, you could buy one using FSA dollars. The Amazon FSA Store has a dedicated section (opens in new tab), and all the top names are there, including Braun, Withings, and Vicks.

4. Hand sanitizer

Another COVID product that has seen a huge spike in sales this year. Regardless, if you have just a few remaining FSA dollars and aren’t sure what to spend them on, picking up a few bottles of hand sanitizer to see you through the next few months is a good idea. Just make sure that you purchase sanitizer that’s at least 60% alcohol, otherwise it won’t be as effective.

A woman wearing a green protective face mask dispenses hand sanitizer from a clear bottle into her hands

(Image credit: Getty)

5. Medical bracelets

If you have a medical issue, wearing one of the best medical alert bracelets (opens in new tab) gives first responders a quick overview of your medical requirements so that they can treat you correctly in the event of an emergency. FSA dollars can be spent on medical bracelets, as well as other forms of medical jewelry, including pendants. 

6. Air purifiers and conditioners

Everyone has a right to breathe clean air, but the air inside our homes is significantly more polluted than the air outside. If one of your 2021 wellness goals is to clean up the air inside your house, particularly in hotspots such as the kitchen and busy living areas, then consider spending your remaining FSA funds on one of the best air purifiers (opens in new tab). You could also use them to buy an air conditioner. (opens in new tab) 

7. Mobility aids and accessories

If you’re looking to boost your mobility and generally enjoy a greater sense of freedom in 2021, you could use your remaining FSA dollars to cover mobility accessories. Many of the best mobility scooters (opens in new tab) are eligible, making now a good time to consider investing in one that’s right for your budget and requirements. Other mobility accessories you can buy with FSA funds include walking canes, joint health supplements, and shower safety seats. 

8. Over the counter medication

The type of medicine we’re talking about here is very different to the prescription medicine you can secure coverage for with the best Medicare Part D plans (opens in new tab). So we’re looking at things such as painkillers, allergy relief tablets, digestion or heartburn pills, and similar over the counter medication. These are all eligible FSA purchases now, thanks to the CARES Act.

Claire is Health and Wellness Editor at Top Ten Reviews and covers all aspects of health, wellbeing and personal care. With over 17 years' experience as a qualified journalist, writer and editor, Claire has worked across some of Future's most prestigious, market-leading brands. Due to past struggles with insomnia, she is particularly passionate about the role quality sleep plays in our physical and mental health, and loves helping readers to sleep better. Claire is always keen to hear from brands regarding products and services that can help readers feel healthy, happy and empowered.