By Dr. Kirsten Albrecht
As 2018 begins, now is the perfect time for individuals to reflect on their overall health and ensure they are maximizing the benefits in their health care plans. By understanding the benefits available through their current plan, patients are prepared when making their next appointment.
Since it’s my job to keep your eyes healthy, I have answered some of the most frequently asked insurance questions, so you are prepared in advance of your next eye exam:
- What’s the difference between a Flexible Spending Account and a Health Savings Account?
Both a FSA and a HSA are accounts that people opt-in to contribute a portion of their salary pre-tax to pay for certain out-of-pocket health care costs. Some employers match contributions.
Contribution limits are different for each account. FSA participants can contribute up to a maximum of $2,600, while HSA participants are allowed a contribution maximum of $3,400 for individuals and $6,750 for families.
The main difference between the two accounts is that the funds incurred in an HSA roll over at the end of the year. That is not the case with a FSA. While some plans offered by employers may grant a limited carryover extension of $500 into the new year, many FSA accounts are subject to the use it or lose it provision, meaning participating employees must incur eligible expenses by the end of the plan year, or forfeit any unspent amounts.
If you’re unsure whether you have an FSA or HSA, please check with your employer or insurance company.
- How can I maximize my FSA or HSA benefits?
There are numerous benefits available to those looking to use their FSA and HSA dollars. In fact, this is where many patients may be surprised. Apart from everyday glasses and contacts, individuals can use funds available in their FSA and HSA for a second pair of glasses, prescription sunglasses, an extended supply of contacts and even an annual eye exam.
- Can I buy prescription sunglasses with my FSA or HSA?
Yes, this is a great way to use FSA or HSA dollars. Purchase a pair of stylish sunglasses so you can see clearly and protect your vision from harmful Ultraviolet (UV) light. Because the sun sits lower in the sky during the winter, it can actually cause more damage to eyes than the summer sun. Explore the style guide from MyEyeDr. to find the perfect look to fit your lifestyle and stop by your local office to browse the wide selection of brands and styles available.
- My prescription has expired. What now?
Schedule an annual eye exam as even when you think you see well, your vision and eye health should be checked yearly. You shouldn’t have to choose between exceptional eye care services and the eyewear you need. When you visit your local MyEyeDr., we make every effort to ensure your eyes are healthy and that you have the opportunity to take full advantage of your vision insurance and benefits.
- I don’t have vision insurance. How much is an eye exam?
A comprehensive eye exam at MyEyeDr. is $99. An annual eye exam is a great way for your optometrist to get a clear picture of your vision health and find ways to improve it – helping you see better and manage your overall wellness for the future. Diabetes, high blood pressure and many other systemic conditions may have an effect on your vision or health of your eyes. A comprehensive eye exam is the best way to manage these risks.
We make vision health attainable and uncomplicated for any individual by welcoming all vision insurance plans and providers. Eye care is the last thing you want taking up your budget or time. For specific questions about insurance benefits, call (866) 693-9336 today to speak to an expert at MyEyeDr. or visit one of our fifteen locations across the Charlotte metro area.
INFOBOX: About Dr. Kirsten Albrecht
Kirsten Albrecht serves as the director of professional services for acquisitions at MyEyeDr. and works out of the Kannapolis office. With more than 15 years of experience, Dr. Albrecht loves building relationships with residents by offering tips on proper eye health and supporting healthy vision with comprehensive eye exams. She obtained her Doctorate in Optometry from Illinois College of Optometry and previously owned a private practice before merging her two optometry offices with MyEyeDr. in 2013, a network of more than 350 local optometry practices located east of the Mississippi.