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What You Need to Know About FSA Contribution Limit Increases for 2024

Flexible savings accounts (FSAs) offer covered individuals a tax-efficient way to manage a variety of healthcare costs, from routine appointments to unexpected medical events. These employer-sponsored plans allow employees to set aside a part of their pre-tax earnings specifically for medical costs. Unlike health savings accounts (HSAs), FSAs also have a use-it-or-lose-it provision, requiring participants to spend down their account balances each year. Some plans allow a carryover of unused funds, but the amount is limited.

The IRS recently announced an update to the FSA contribution limits for 2024, increasing the amount you can save tax-free in the coming year. Understanding these new limits can help you effectively plan your healthcare budget. Here’s a closer look at these changes and how they may impact your approach to managing your healthcare expenses.

2024 FSA Contribution Limits

Employees participating in an FSA can contribute up to $3,200 during the 2024 plan year, reflecting a $150 increase over the 2023 limits. For plans that allow a carryover of unused funds, the maximum amount of 2024 contributions that can roll over into 2025 is $640, a $30 increase over the 2023 rollover amount.

The Significance of the 2024 FSA Changes

The increase in FSA contribution limits is a reflection of the overall economic environment, including inflation and the rising cost of healthcare. Higher limits allow participants to offset increased expenses by setting aside more pre-tax dollars for healthcare needs.  

The contribution increase is particularly beneficial for employees who face regular medical expenses, as putting aside additional funds can help them better prepare for healthcare costs throughout the year.

Advantages of Funding an FSA

Participating in a flexible spending account creates several potentially significant benefits, including:

  • Tax efficiency: Contributions to an FSA are made with pre-tax dollars, reducing taxable income and potentially lowering your overall income tax bill. Compared to paying with post-tax funds, this provision effectively lowers the cost of healthcare expenses.
  • Broad coverage: FSAs can be used for a wide range of healthcare costs, including deductibles, copayments, prescriptions, medical equipment, and over-the-counter items. This broad coverage allows you to manage a variety of medical, dental, and vision expenses with your FSA.
  • Immediate access to savings: The full amount of your elected contribution to an FSA is available at the start of the plan year. This feature is particularly helpful for covering large medical expenses early in the year.
  • Family coverage: You can use your FSA balance to cover the costs of medical expenses for yourself, your spouse, and your dependents.
  • Optional employer contributions: Some employers may contribute to employees’ FSAs, increasing the total available funds. These contributions can enhance the value of the FSA for employees.

Key FSA Requirements

FSAs are employer-sponsored plans typically offered as part of an employee benefits package. They are not available to self-employed individuals or those who work for an employer that does not offer a plan.

To use FSA funds, you typically must pay your medical costs out of pocket and then submit a claim to the FSA. The claims process requires submitting receipts or other documentation to prove your medical expenses, along with a statement confirming that your insurance plan did not cover the expense. Following a review, the FSA provides reimbursement.

While you can use FSA funds for a wide range of healthcare expenses, you cannot use them to pay for insurance premiums. FSAs are also not available to those who are covered by an insurance plan purchased on the Healthcare Marketplace.

Using FSAs for Strategic Healthcare Financial Planning

Effectively managing healthcare expenses requires careful financial planning, particularly when using an FSA. The following steps can help you strategically plan your annual FSA contributions.

Estimate Your Healthcare Costs  

Accurately estimating your healthcare expenses for the upcoming year is a critical first step in determining your FSA contribution. This includes routine costs like doctor’s visits and prescriptions, as well as anticipated expenses such as scheduled surgeries, dental work, or ongoing treatments. Your estimates can help you determine how much to contribute to your FSA, so you can maximize the benefits without leaving funds unspent.

Leverage Tax Savings

Using an FSA allows you to reduce your taxable income. To maximize this benefit, consider your anticipated tax rate for the year. Placing more funds in your FSA can be particularly beneficial if you expect to be in a higher tax bracket. 

Adjust Contributions Annually

It’s common for healthcare needs and expenses to change from year to year. Reviewing your contributions annually allows you to adjust them as needed, ensuring your election aligns with your health status, family circumstances, and financial goals.

Tips for Maximizing Your FSA Benefits

Maximizing the benefits of your Flexible Spending Account involves strategic planning and smart usage. Here are some key tips to help you get the most out of your FSA.

Take Advantage of Eligible Expenses

Make sure you’re aware of all the expenses that qualify for FSA reimbursement. Do not forget about over-the-counter medications, dental treatments, and vision care. Using your FSA for a wide range of eligible expenses helps ensure full use of your allocated funds.

Carefully Plan Your Year-End Spending

As the end of the plan year approaches, review your FSA balance. If you have remaining funds, consider scheduling last-minute eligible healthcare services like dental cleanings or eye exams, restocking your medicine cabinet, or purchasing extra medical supplies. Also, check if your plan has a grace period or carry-over option that provides more time to use your funds.

Maintain Precise Records

Keep meticulous records of all healthcare expenses paid through your FSA. Save receipts, prescriptions, and other documentation for reimbursement claims. Good record-keeping not only simplifies the reimbursement process but also helps ensure you’re fully utilizing your FSA.

Optimize Your Healthcare Spending With FSAs

A flexible spending account is a valuable tool for tax-efficient management of healthcare expenses. The 2024 contribution increase creates an even greater potential for savings and financial planning, allowing participants to allocate additional pre-tax funds for medical expenses.

By carefully planning your contributions and understanding eligible expenses, you can maximize your 

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