Flexible Spending Accounts, P&A Group

How to Use Your FSA Before the 3/15 Grace Period

March 15 Deadline

The 3/15 grace period deadline is approaching but don’t panic – whether you have a significant balance remaining or just a few dollars left, here are some ways to exhaust your Flexible Spending Account (FSA)!

3/15 Grace Period Review

First, let’s review what a grace period is. An optional provision, a grace period allows you additional time – 2.5 months – to incur expenses and spend your FSA money after the end of the plan year. For example, if your FSA plan is on a calendar plan year (January 1 – December 31) and offers the grace period, you have until March 15 to spend your FSA.  After March 15, unused money will be forfeited under IRS rules. Check with your employer to see if your plan offers the grace period. 

Tips for Spending Before the 3/15 Grace Period

  • Stock up on eligible healthcare items.
    P&A Group’s vendor partner, FSA Store, offers thousands of pre-approved discounted FSA eligible items that are ready for purchase online.  Earn points on items you purchase and get free shipping on orders $50+.  Sample items:  blood pressure monitors, pain relievers and travel essentials.  Browse eligible expenses.
  • Dental and vision expenses. Did you know that your Health FSA also covers dental and vision costs?  Use your FSA to purchase eligible items like glasses and contact lens solutions.  If you’re able to squeeze in an appointment to see your dentist or optician, use your FSA to pay for the cost of the visit.
  • Over-the-counter prescription medications.  OTC medications, like Tylenol and Benadryl, require a doctor’s prescription in order to be reimbursed from your FSA.  FSA Store has a built-in prescription process in place to make the process easier.  Simply provide your physician’s info and FSA Store handles the rest.  Learn more

To help you determine the right amount to contribute to your FSA annually, check out P&A Group’s interactive calculator.

Submitting Claims

Whether your plan has the 3/15 grace period or not, there is another deadline you should also keep in mind: the run-out period. This is your deadline to submit claims for expenses incurred during the plan year (and, grace period if your plan offers it). All FSA plans have a run-out period. For instance, if your plan has a January 1 – December 31 plan year with a 3/15 grace period, it’s common to have a 3/31 run-out period. However, run-out periods can vary by employer, so double check with your HR or Benefits Department to make sure you know this important date.

Whenever your FSA plan dates are, stay on top of your plan deadlines so you can use your entire Flex balance and maximize your savings.

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