If you have a Health Savings Account (HSA) or a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), you can use these to spend on healthcare costs, such as LASIK vision correction. A popular way to go about this is to see if your employer offers an HSA or FSA account. If they do, you can contribute to it by setting aside pre-tax dollars for any approved medical expenses. Here is what you need to know about using your 2021 HSA/FSA for LASIK surgery.

The Basics of Using an HSA Account for LASIK Surgery

A Health Savings Account (HSA) is similar to a personal savings account, but it can only be used for qualified healthcare expenses. To be eligible to open up an HSA, you must first be enrolled into a High-Deductible Health Plan (HDHP), which is a health insurance plan that has a sizable deductible for medical expenses [1]. If you are enrolled in an HDHP, and you do not have an HSA open yet, look to open one and make regular contributions to it in order to pay for medical expenses that your HDHP won’t cover.

How Does An HSA Work?

While anyone can contribute to your HSA, pre-tax contributions are typically made through payroll deductions via your employer. Any pre-tax contributions are not included in your gross income, and are not subject to federal income taxes. The maximum contribution limit for individuals in 2021 was $3,600 or $7,200 for families, plus an additional $1,000 for “catch-up” contributions for those 55 and older [2]. To use your HSA for LASIK surgery, simply use your HSA-issued debit card to pay for the eligible LASIK surgery expenses. Also, if you have any money remaining, don’t fret as this will carry over to the next year.

Using an FSA Account to Pay for LASIK Surgery

A Flexible Spending Account (FSA) is another type of savings account that allows employees to contribute a portion of their earnings to pay for healthcare costs such as LASIK surgery. The main difference between an FSA and an HSA is that it has a lower annual maximum contribution, and any unused funds typically expire at the end of the year and thus, do not rollover. The maximum contribution limit for individual employees in 2021 was $2,750; while married employees can have their spouse contribute an additional $2,750.

It is important to note that the main advantage of most FSA’s is that you can spend the total amount for the year at any point in time, even if you have not contributed the maximum amount yet. You also do not need to have a specific type of insurance plan to participate in an FSA if you are going through an employer that has an established Flexible Spending Account. As with an HSA, withdrawn funds from a Flexible Spending Account are not subject to income or payroll taxes.

What to Keep In Mind When Spending Your HSA/FSA for LASIK Surgery

If you plan to use a Flexible Spending Account to pay for your LASIK surgery, double-check with your employer that you can spend the maximum contribution amount before contributing the total amount. This is typically the case, but it’s always good to know what the enrollment specifics are. You may also be able to roll over a $550 maximum with an FSA by utilizing the grace period that some employers may offer due to the impact of COVID-19 [3].

Wrapping It Up

If you’ve been thinking about getting LASIK surgery, but weren’t quite sure about the costs associated with the treatment, the use of an HSA or FSA account can save you up to $3,600 for the year, which is about a 20-30% discount. With 2022 right around the corner, it’s a great time to book a free LASIK consultation.