flexible savings account 2013One of the ways that you can get a tax break for your health care costs is with the help of a Flexible Savings Account (FSA). The FSA allows you to make tax deductible contributions to an account, and later in the year, you can use the money to pay for qualified health care costs.

There is a major catch with the FSA, though: The money is use it or lose it. Recent changes to the situation allow you to carry some of the money from your FSA into a new year, if your employer doesn’t offer you an extended grace period (usually until March 15) to use the money.

Find out what the policies are. In some cases, you might access your FSA account with a debit card. In other cases, you will need to save your receipts and then turn them in for reimbursement from your FSA. In any case, you need to make sure you complete your purchases prior to the end of the year if you want to be sure of using the money.

Chances are, though, that you stand to lose at least a portion of your FSA money if you don’t spend it on qualified health care services. Make the most of your tax deductible health contributions. Here are a few uses for your FSA money:

Eye Care

Now is a good time to get an eye exam, if you are due. Use the money from your FSA to pay for the exam, and to pay for contacts and glasses. It’s even possible to use the money for prescription sunglasses. You can even use FSA money to buy cleaning solutions for your contact lenses. If you have been meaning to take care of your vision now is a good time to do so.

You can even get lasik surgery with your FSA money. If you have wanted to have this surgery, and you have money piled up in your FSA, this a great way to draw down what you owe.

Dental Care

This is another health care category that sometimes is overlooked when it comes to heal plans. If you normally pay out of pocket for your dental care, now might be a good time to make an appointment. You can use your FSA money for dental cleanings, tooth extractions, and fillings, and other necessary work. Sorry, but teeth whitening is not something you can use your FSA money for.

Stock Up on Home Medical Needs

The money in your FSA can be used for items like crutches and asthma inhalers. You can also use the money to purchase ace bandages. If you have been meaning to refill the First Aid kit or if you want to have some medical supplies on hand, it can make sense to make those purchases now.

Chiropractic Help

If you have been meaning to see a chiropractor, now might be the time to do so. You can pay for your adjustment and other services with FSA money. Just make sure you are careful to choose a chiropractor who is respectable. Acupuncture is also an acceptable use for your FSA money.

Other Health Care

You can also use FSA money for diabetic supplies, infertility treatments, pregnancy test kits, co-pays at the doctor’s office, and even genetic testing for the breast cancer gene. Double-check with your HR department for more information about what is covered.