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Prescription eyewear is covered by both HSA and FSA.
If you don’t have vision insurance, these types of accounts help save you money on health care.
In this article, we’ll cover:
HSA and FSA are untaxed accounts that allow you to pay for medical expenses. There are some key differences between the two that we’ll discuss below.
FSA stands for Flexible Spending Account.
To qualify for an FSA, you must have job-based health insurance. You can only open an FSA if your employer offers this option.
If an FSA is available to you, you’re able to add funds to the account that don’t get taxed. You’ll use these funds to pay for qualified medical expenses. Employers can also add contributions to your FSA, but it isn't required.
You’re allowed to contribute up to $2,750 per employer to your FSA. Your spouse can also contribute up to $2,750 to their own FSA.
FSA funds must be used within the year. Your employer may help with one of these two options:
If these options aren’t available to you, any leftover funds will be forfeited.
HSA stands for Health Savings Account. This is an untaxed account that you manage and can use to pay for eligible medical expenses.
To qualify for an HSA, you must be enrolled in a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP). These are insurance plans that have a lower monthly premium but a higher deductible.
A deductible is the amount you must pay before your insurance plan starts paying.
You can’t open an HSA if you qualify for Medicare.
In 2021, the definition of an HDHP is any plan with a deductible of at least $1,400 for an individual or $2,800 for a family.
An HDHP’s total annual out-of-pocket expenses (deductibles, copayments, coinsurance, etc.) can’t be more than $7,000 for an individual or $14,000 for a family. Marketplace plans are included in this definition.
If you enroll in an HSA-eligible HDHP, you need to open an HSA separately. You manage your own HSA account.
Once you open an HSA, you can contribute up to $3,600 for an individual or $7,200 for family coverage in 2021.
You’ll deduct the amount deposited into your HSA from the income you pay federal income tax on. Remember that your employer can contribute to your HSA, but they’re not required to.
You can only use your HSA funds to pay for eligible medical expenses. These rollover from year to year. You can build tax-free savings to pay for medical care later. Some HSAs earn interest, which isn’t taxed.
|Health Savings Account (HSA)||Flexible Savings Account (FSA)|
|Requirements||You must have a high-deductible health plan and can’t be eligible for Medicare||Must be offered by your employer|
|Managed by||You||Your employer|
|Annual contribution limit (2021)||$3,600 for an individual or $7,200 for a household||$2,750 per employer|
|Contribution schedule||You can change your contribution amount at any time||Contribution amount can only be changed during open enrollments or after a change of circumstances|
|Withdrawal penalty (for non-medical expenses)||20% before age 65; no penalty after you turn 65||Employers decide if you can withdraw funds|
You can use your HSA or FSA to pay for vision care, including:
In addition to vision care, common medical expenses covered by HSA and FSA include:
This is not a comprehensive list of eligible expenses. For a complete summary of eligible expenses, look at IRS Publication 502.
You HSA or FSA will not cover:
Other common medical expenses that are not covered by HSAs or FSAs include:
For a complete summary of ineligible expenses, look at IRS Publication 502.
You can use your HSA and FSA funds to pay for glasses or contacts at:
If you have never purchased prescription glasses or contacts before, you should see an eye doctor. They will perform a complete eye exam and if applicable, contact lens fitting.
Afterward, they will provide you with one prescription for your glasses and another for your contacts. Glasses and contact prescriptions are different.
You can then use your prescription to purchase glasses and contacts from your eye doctor or an online retailer.
If you already have a valid prescription, we suggest purchasing glasses and contact lenses online. They are usually cheaper than purchasing eyewear from a doctor’s office.
You don’t need to buy contacts/glasses from wherever you got the prescription.
Our number one choice for glasses is Warby Parker. They are an independent retailer that sells stylish glasses and sunglasses. They also sell contacts.
Warby Parker frames are stylish, durable, and comfortable. Their customer service is impeccable. They also let you try on 5 pairs of glasses at home, for free with their home try-on program.
You can use your HSA or FSA funds at Warby Parker.
Read our full review of Warby Parker.
Another great online retailer is Liingo Eyewear. They sell prescription eyewear at a slightly lower price point than Warby Parker.
Their frames are stylish and comfortable. They offer an identical home try-on program.
Read our full review of Liingo Eyewear.
Or read our article comparing Warby Parker vs Liingo Eyewear.
1-800 Contacts is our top choice for online contact lens retailers. They top the list because of their:
Read our full review of 1-800 Contacts.
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