Today is National Sunglasses Day, in case you need a reason to throw a party or an excuse to wear your favorite shades. In honor of this very specific holiday, we’re scoping out all things eyewear—from frames and contact lenses to eye exams and vision correction surgeries. This includes a guide to how a health savings account (HSA) and flexible spending account (FSA) can help you pay for eligible vision care expenses.
Can I use my HSA for glasses? We get this question a lot. Read on to see how to save and spend wisely on prescription eyeglasses and more.
Keep your eyes open for ways to save on eligible vision services
You probably already know that HSAs and FSAs can be put toward things like hospital visits, prescription medications, and dental work. But did you know you can also use these accounts to pay for prescription sunglasses and other eligible eyewear? It’s true. You don’t even need vision insurance. As long as you have a vision prescription, you can use your HSA or FSA on the following eyecare expenses:
- Prescription glasses and sunglasses
- Contact lenses (not including non-prescription contacts)
- Reading glasses (over-the-counter, no prescription needed)
- Eye exams
- Vision correction surgeries
- Prescription monocles
(Prescription monocles? Yep, we were baffled too. You know what they say… fashion repeats.)
Most providers also provide reimbursement for blue light glasses, which are glasses designed to filter out the damaging light that emits from electronic devices. So, if you spend a lot of time on the computer but don’t need prescription eyewear, you can still benefit.
Take a look at what is not covered
There are a few vision care services that do not fall under approved eligible expenses. Check here for items that are typically not covered.
What's the benefit of using my HSA or FSA?
Because HSAs and FSAs are tax-exempt accounts used to offset the cost of healthcare, every penny you put into it can pay for eligible expenses, tax-free.1 And since some vision-related expenses are not covered by health insurance, you can save money by using your HSA or FSA to cover those costs.
Looking at our data, from spend made via card transactions, around 25 percent of dollars spent from HealthEquity HSAs and HRAs are for dental and vision expenses.
How to use my FSA and HSA on eyewear?
Turns out, it’s super easy.
- First, you’ll need to make an appointment with your vision care provider (if you haven’t already) to make sure your vision prescription is accurate.
- When you’re ready, place your order and use your HSA or FSA card like a credit card.2 If you don’t have a card, you’ll need to pay using a different method, then submit a reimbursement form to your health insurance provider along with a receipt.
- That’s all! You can get eyewear through any reputable store online or retail, just be sure that the item(s) you plan to get reimbursed are eligible.
What if I have an LPFSA?
Just like HSAs and FSAs, a Limited Purpose Flexible Spending Account (LPFSA) is a tax-advantaged account that you can use on eligible dental and vision expenses. But unlike HSAs which carryover, you typically only have one year to spend your LPFSA money before it goes away.
Getting the most with HSA and LPFSA
Often, you can participate in both an HSA and LPFSA in order to maximize your tax savings. A good practice in this case is to use your LPFSA to pay for current eligible vision expenses and save your HSA funds for later.
More money in your pocket
Whether you’re in need of prescription sunglasses, eyeglasses, or even a fancy monocle (hey, you never know), your HSA or FSA can make out-of-pocket costs more affordable. And if you have any questions along the way, we’re here to help.
1HSAs and FSAs are never taxed at a federal income tax level when used appropriately for qualified medical expenses. Also, most states recognize HSA funds as tax-deductible with very few exceptions. Please consult a tax advisor regarding your state’s specific rules.
2This card is issued by The Bancorp Bank; Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. Your card can be used everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted for qualified expenses. This card cannot be used at ATMs and you cannot get cash back, and cannot be used at gas stations, restaurants, or other establishments not health related. See Cardholder Agreement for complete usage restrictions.
HealthEquity does not provide legal, tax or financial advice. Always consult a professional when making life-changing decisions.