If you are thinking about getting LASIK eye surgery, paying for the procedure might be one of your top concerns. Many LASIK surgeons charge anywhere between $4,000 to $5,000 for both eyes. Of course, this is a significant expense you want to plan for.
Most health care plans do not cover LASIK since laser vision correction procedures are considered elective (not medically necessary). Some vision insurance plans do offer a discount on LASIK. These discounts are usually around:
However, if you do not have an insurance plan that offers a discount, an HSA (Health Savings Account) is an excellent way to save on LASIK costs. According to the IRS, you can apply HSA funds towards LASIK because it is an eligible expense.
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A Health Savings Account is a tax-exempt bank account you can use to pay for certain out-of-pocket medical expenses. To qualify for an HSA, you must enroll in a high-deductible health plan. You may be able to open an account through your employer if they offer the option. Otherwise, you can sign up on your own if you are eligible for an HSA.
Once you open an HSA, the IRS allows you to set aside a certain amount of money in your HSA per year. The contribution limits may fluctuate from year to year, so be sure to check with the IRS before funding your account.
For 2020, you can contribute up to $3,550 for individual coverage or $7,100 for family coverage in your HSA. These funds can be used for many medical procedures and services, including eyeglasses, contact lenses, cataract surgery, and laser eye surgeries such as LASIK and PRK.
A Flexible Spending Account (FSA) is a spending account that allows you to set aside pre-tax dollars towards healthcare expenses. You can open an FSA through your employer if they offer the option. You can open an FSA without a health insurance plan, unlike an HSA. You can also access FSA funds at the beginning of the year and pay them back with deductions from your paycheck throughout the year.
However, an HSA has a higher contribution limit and your funds roll over. The full amount of your FSA account funds need to be used by the end of the year, or within the grace period set up by your employer. Otherwise, they don't roll over to the next year.
An HSA has many benefits, including:
Any money you put into the account can be claimed as a tax deduction. This reduces your tax liability, so you pay fewer taxes when April comes around.
You do not have to pay taxes when you contribute or withdraw money from the account. If you have an HSA through your employer, you use pre-tax dollars to fund the HSA. If you opened an HSA on your own, any funds you add are tax-deductible. Also, any interest you earn is not taxed.
The money you set aside will roll over from year to year. Unlike a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), you do not have to use up the funds each year before they expire.
If you are not planning to use your HSA anytime soon, you can invest the balance and use the account to save money for retirement. Of course, it is a good idea to speak to your financial adviser about any investments you plan to make.
Using your HSA for LASIK is simple. When you open an HSA, you get a debit card or checks that are associated with the HSA account. You can then fund the account up to the yearly limit set by the IRS. Since the money rolls over, you do not have to worry about using up the funds by the end of the year.
Once you are ready to have your LASIK surgery, you can use the HSA-linked debit card or checks to pay for your procedure. Because you don’t need to pay taxes on these funds, you can save quite a bit of money on your LASIK eye surgery.
Fontinelle, Amy. “Retirement Uses for Your Health Savings Account (HSA).” Investopedia, 22 Nov. 2019, www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/091615/how-use-your-hsa-retirement.asp.
“How to Use Your FSA and HSA for LASIK Surgery: 2019 Update.” American Refractive Surgery Council, 16 Nov. 2018, americanrefractivesurgerycouncil.org/a-popular-financing-option-for-lasik-flexible-spending-accounts/.
Mengle, Rocky. “Health Savings Account Limits for 2020.” Kiplinger, 30 Sept. 2019, www.kiplinger.com/article/taxes/T027-C005-S001-2020-health-savings-account-limits.html.