Changes coming to the healthcare industry in 2013 mean individuals seeking LASIK treatment could have to change the way they are financing the surgery. The average cost of a LASIK procedure is $2,150 per eye. If a client wishes to have vision corrected in both of their eyes, the amount is doubled to around $4,300. For years, employees have had the option of using a flexible spending account (FSA) to finance procedures like LASIK, because the amount of the procedure often times falls into what employees have been allowed to be put into the program.
An FSA is a valuable tool for budget-conscious consumers, because it allows employees to have pre-taxed dollars set aside from their pay checks and sent to a separate account, where the money can be used to fund healthcare related items not covered by insurance. Employers are allowed to set a cap on FSA spending by its employees, but typically large corporations have allowed their employees to set aside more than $5,000 of their salary into their FSA accounts.
In 2013, the Federal Government is mandating a $2,500 limit on FSA spending by employees, which will affect the options consumers have when trying to finance a LASIK procedure. The $2,500 limit seems perfectly reasonable to individuals using an FSA for their daily prescription medications, but does not take into account the hundreds of thousands of Americans considering LASIK, or those trying to get braces for their children.
Just 20 percent of U.S. employees contributed to an FSA last year, and on average, those who did put aside $1,4441 in them, well below the 2013 limit. The reason why FSA accounts are not frequently used is because the government holds a “use it or lose it” policy when it comes to these accounts. Money set aside and not used is forfeited, although many companies have a grace period, allowing FSA funds to be used through March of the following year.
With these new limits looming on FSA spending, those looking to have LASIK procedures on both eyes will likely have to find alternate methods to finance the surgery, by similar means, such as a health savings account (HSA) come 2013.
For more information on FSA/LASIK savings, visit TLC Laser Eye Center’s Flex Spending Calculator.