15 useful health products to buy so your FSA dollars don't go to waste

Noelle Ike, CNN Underscored
Wed December 26, 2018

If a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) is part of your benefits plan, you're going to want to make sure you're spending those pre-tax dollars before the new year. And with just a couple of days left in 2018, we've rounded up a quick and easy list of products available in the FSA Store, which offers the largest selection of guaranteed eligible products.

If you're not sure exactly what a FSA is and why it's important that you spend your pre-tax dollars before the end of the year, we've got you covered with a quick guide.

What is a FSA?

A health flexible spending account (FSA) is part of the benefits plan that certain employees receive. The plan lets you use pre-tax dollars on eligible health care expenses for you, your spouse and any eligible dependents.

How does it work?

With each paycheck you receive, a certain amount of money is put aside before taxes. This pre-tax money is your FSA spending, which is meant to be used on eligible health care expenses throughout the year. While the specific amount differs depending on your tax bracket, there are calculators available to help you estimate your savings amount. In a nutshell, a FSA helps you save money on out-of-pocket health expenses.

Why do I have to spend my FSA dollars before 2019?

While storing money in a FSA account can be a great way to save on necessary products, you'll have to spend it in order to reap the benefits. Most FSA participants are part of a "use it or lose it" plan, which states that all the money left in your account by the end of the year must be forfeited. The unused amount left in your account can't be paid out to you in any other way, and you can't transfer money to any other FSA account. Some plans provide grace periods or allow you to roll $500 into the next year, but be sure to check with your employer.

What can I purchase with my FSA dollars?

Common purchases include everyday health care products like Band-Aids, thermometers and glasses. Everything from medical expenses that aren't covered by a health plan (like deductibles, co-pays or dependent day care) to over-the-counter medication can also be eligible.

The downside is that the specifics of what you can spend your FSA dollars on depend on the plan your employer has in place. The upside? You can skip the extensive research by shopping at the FSA Store. The site guarantees all products are FSA eligible, or your money back. And if you have questions, they have representatives available 24/7 to chat with. With over 4,000 items, you can simply browse, add to cart and not worry about letting your FSA dollars go to waste.

And from now until the new year, you'll receive free shipping on all purchases over $50. Plus, you can save $25 on orders over $300 with the code: CNN25 or $40 on orders over $400 with the code: CNN40. So be sure to spend those dollars before the new year, and stock up on all the products you'll need for a healthy and happy 2019.

Note: The prices below reflect the listed retailers' prices at the time of publication.

An orthopedic neck pillow to keep you comfy during upcoming flights (fsastore.com; $32.99)

This vanilla peppermint scented, antioxidant-powered lip balm (fsastore.com; $12)

A light therapy kit that produces heat in order to stimulate blood circulation, relieve swelling and loosen muscles (fsastore.com; $199)

An assortment of Supergoop! sun care products that comes with a cute tote perfect for travel or a beach weekend (fsastore.com; $45)

A value pack of bandages so you're prepared for any scratch, cut or nick (fsastore.com; $12.99)

This light therapy acne mask that uses blue light to target acne-causing bacteria and red light to reduce inflammation (fsastore.com; $39.99)

Pain relief orthotics from Dr. Scholl's to make your shoes more comfortable (fsastore.com; $13.99)

A hand-held steam inhaler that aims to provide relief from a range of ailments, from allergies to colds, coughs, laryngitis and more (fsastore.com; $154.99)

This sleek, wireless blood pressure monitor (fsastore.com; $99.99)

A speed read thermometer that claims to provide an accurate reading in only eight seconds (fsastore.com; $12.99)

This freezer-safe reusable cold pack (fsastore.com; $14.99)

A nasal irrigator to keep your system clean and relieve congestion caused by anything from the flu to allergies (fsastore.com; $89.99)

A 35-piece first aid kit perfect for camping trips (fsastore.com; $9.99)

Compression socks to help ease swelling in your feet and ankles (fsastore.com; $42.95)

A light therapy system to help enhance gum health and reduce inflammation or sores in your mouth (fsastore.com; $99)