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Flexible spending accounts (FSAs)

By opening an FSA, you are getting smart savings for your health and family’s care.

New to an FSA? Learn the basics

An FSA allows you to set aside pretax funds to cover health and care costs for you and your family. Since you don’t pay taxes on this money, you save on every dollar you put into your FSA.

Pay the smarter way

Fast-track your payments with your FSA card. From bandages to braces, and contacts to chiropractors, use your FSA card and know you’re saving time and money. Plus, you'll save an average of 30% because you’re using pretax dollars.*

Types of FSAs

Health care FSA

A health care FSA covers qualified health care expenses for you and your family. Eligible expenses can include medical, dental, vision, hearing and prescription expenses, plus copays, coinsurance and certain over-the-counter (OTC) items.

Dependent care FSA

Use a dependent care FSA to pay for the care of loved ones while you work, including childcare or care for dependent adults. Cover services like childcare, preschool, after-school care and senior care.

Limited purpose FSA

Pay for dental and vision expenses with this great companion to a health savings account (HSA).

What type of FSA is right for you?

Learn more about the 3 different types of FSAs and what types of eligible expenses they cover.

Health care flexible spending account (FSA)

Watch this video to learn more about the benefits of a health care FSA and how they work.

Watch video

Dependent care flexible spending account (FSA)

Watch this video to learn more about how you can usually use income-tax free money to pay for dependent care.

Watch video

Limited purpose flexible spending account

Watch this video to learn more about the benefits of pairing a limited purpose FSA with an HSA.

Watch video

Relax — you're saving with every card swipe

How do savings stack up when you use your FSA card? Let's look.

For a $100 pair of eyeglasses, you could pay using your own money, or pay with your HSA or FSA card.

When you use your HSA or FSA card, since the money comes out of your pretax account, that same pair of eyeglasses now costs you $70.

It’s like having a 30%* off coupon every time you use your card.

Shop the Optum Store for even more savings. Get an extra 7% off OTC products. Use code OPTFSA7 to save more.**


Qualified expenses

What can I buy?

An FSA can be used to cover hundreds of expenses. Shop using your FSA card to save up to 30%* since you’re using pretax dollars.


Online tools

FSA calculator

Confused about how much to contribute to your FSA? Use the calculator to see how much you can save on eligible health and day care expenses.

Related resources

Browse additional solutions to help you better understand your FSA.

Spend your FSA dollars

Browse tips about how to spend your FSA funds so you don't lose them.

Shop and save

Use your FSA card for extra convenience and save 30%.

Optum Financial mobile app

Save time, take control with our mobile app. Download the app today.

Frequently asked questions about your FSA

Funding. You will contribute a predetermined amount to your account. Your funds will be available for use on the first day of your plan year.

Accessing funds. When you have eligible health care expenses, pay for them with your payment card, or pay out of pocket and request reimbursement online. Remember to always keep your receipts.

Requesting reimbursement and providing proof of purchases. It’s quick and easy to request reimbursement for eligible expenses paid using personal funds or to submit documentation for card purchases. Our documentation upload features online and on the mobile app will save you time and make your life easier.

Please remember that credit card receipts, non-itemized cash register receipts and canceled checks are not acceptable forms of documentation. Always request an itemized receipt or EOB from your health care provider or merchant.

Claims processing. We will promptly process your request and reimburse you either by check or direct deposit, if you sign up for that feature.

Account management. Sign in to your online account or the mobile app to check your account balance, set up your family profile, add a bank account to enable faster reimbursements or request a debit card in a dependent’s name.

Beginning January 1, 2024, health care FSA (HCFSA) contributions are limited by the IRS to $3,200 each year. (This is a $150 increase from the 2023 limit of $3,050.) The limit is per person — each spouse in the household may contribute up to the limit.

Your employer may elect a lower contribution limit. Please see your plan documents or check with your Human Resources office for the specifics of your FSA Health Care Plan. The limit may be adjusted annually to account for inflation increases.

The health care FSA carryover is effective for the amount carrying over from a plan year beginning in 2024 to the following plan year. So, a plan ending December 31, 2023 would only allow for $610 to be carried over to the 2024 plan year. Any amount that rolls over into the 2024 plan year does not affect the maximum limit that employees can contribute.

There is no change to the dependent care FSA limit for 2024, which is $5,000 per year, if married and filing a joint return or a single parent, or $2,500 per year per parent if married and filing separately.

Paying with your health care FSA payment card is a convenient way to pay for qualified medical expenses without having to submit paper claim forms. It can be used at health care-related merchants, such as hospitals and vision, dental and doctor’s offices. It can also be used at 100s of local retailers like Walmart, Amazon and Optum Store.

The FSA payment card may also be used at childcare providers that accept Mastercard® or Visa® and have a valid merchant category code signifying they are a childcare provider. The payment card may not be used if you pre-pay childcare expenses, since the IRS requires the expense must be incurred before reimbursement can be made from your dependent care spending account.

As always, save itemized receipts, bills or statements anytime the payment card is utilized.

The “run-out period” is a specified period of time after the end of the plan year — or following your termination from the plan — in which you may continue to submit claims incurred during your period of coverage.

This is not a period when you can continue to incur new expenses, but rather it allows you time to gather and submit expenses before your funds are forfeited.

For example, if your plan has a 90-day run-out period, you will have 90 days from your date of termination to submit expenses incurred before the termination date.

As with most health plans, you’re likely to have out-of-pocket expenses each year. If you have children and have to pay for childcare, a dependent care account can help stretch your hard-earned dollars. There are 2 types of flexible spending accounts:

A health care FSA (HCFSA) can cover medical, prescriptions, hearing, dental or vision expenses that you would otherwise pay for out of pocket. Common qualified expenses that an FSA will usually cover include the deductible, coinsurance or copayment amounts for your health plan, eyeglasses or contact lenses, dental work and orthodontia, medical equipment, hearing aids and chiropractic care.

Many over-the-counter drugs, such as cold and allergy medicines, pain relievers and antacids can also be reimbursed through an FSA with a doctor’s note or letter of medical necessity.

Your employer may limit what expenses your plan reimburses, so please contact your Human Resources office for more information.

For a list of eligible expenses, please see IRS Publication 502.

Another great feature is that the funds are front-loaded to the account and are available at the start of your plan year.

A dependent care FSA (DCFSA) — also known as a dependent care assistance program (DCAP) — covers employment-related expenses for childcare. Qualified expenses must be for services that allow for you to be able to work.

Typical expenses under this account include charges for childcare, nursery school and eldercare (though not if it is for medical care) for your legal tax dependents.

The dependent care FSA is not front-loaded.

You are eligible for this benefit if you have a dependent (whose expenses are eligible) who requires care in order for you to be able to work. You must also meet one of the following eligibility criteria:

  • You are not married.
  • Your spouse works, is a full-time student, is actively seeking work or is disabled (cannot perform their own self care).
  • You are divorced or legally separated and have custody of your child, even though your former spouse may claim the child for income tax purposes. Your dependent care FSA can be used to pay for childcare services that are provided during the times when the child resides with you.

A service or expense must be incurred before it is eligible for reimbursement. An FSA expense is considered “incurred” when the service is performed, not when you pay for the service. The service also must be performed during your participation in the plan. Services or expenses incurred before or after your plan participation dates do not qualify for reimbursement.

Generally speaking, money remaining in your FSA at the end of the plan year will be forfeited. This is most often known as the “use-it-or-lose-it” rule. But some plans may allow you to continue submitting claims beyond the end of the plan period for any eligible expenses you incurred before the deadline.

Additionally, some plans may let you continue spending your FSA dollars through a defined grace period or carry over part of your remaining balance.

Be sure to check your specific plan rules in your summary plan description (SPD) by contacting your HR Department or requesting details from Optum Consumer Services.

*Savings compares using pre-tax income in your FSA to using after tax income for purchases and assumes a 30% combined tax rate from all applicable federal, state, and FICA taxes. Results and amount will vary depending on your circumstances.

**Check your plan for specific coverage details. The promotional codes OPTFSA7, OPTHSA5 and OPTHRA7 offered by the Optum Store are intended for the sole use by Optum Financial flexible spending arrangement (FSA) and health savings account (HSA) members when making a purchase with their FSA or HSA. Promotional codes cannot be applied to previously placed orders and cannot be combined with other promotional codes. Promotional codes are not transferable or redeemable for cash or credit. To apply a promotional code, you must enter it prior to completing the order. Failure to adhere to these terms of use may result in the transaction being voided. Free and expedited shipping offers do not apply to shipping outside the contiguous United States. Additional shipping restrictions may apply. The Optum Store is an affiliate of the UnitedHealth Group family of companies.