Wearing sunglasses is an easy way to make any outfit look cooler and more put together, but shades are more than just a fashion statement. They also have health benefits, such as shielding your eyes from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays and reducing the risk of developing eye problems later on in the future, such as cataracts.
However, quality sunglasses can cost some people a lot of money, especially if they are made with customized features. Given the health benefits shades offer, it’s natural to wonder how you if you can pay for them using vision insurance or, if you do not have a policy, a flexible spending account (FSA). Here, we’ll answer whether sunglasses are FSA-eligible and walk you through the requirements.
What Is an FSA?
Before discussing whether sunglasses are FSA eligible, it helps to define what an FSA is. FSA stands for Flexible Spending Account, an arrangement through your employer that allows you to pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses using tax-free dollars.
Anything that isn’t covered by your health plan can be purchased using an FSA. These include everyday health products such as thermometers, bandages, and glasses.
Can you purchase sunglasses using an FSA?
If you buy regular sunglasses, then your FSA will not cover them. This is because sunglasses are not considered a valid medical expense unless they have corrective lenses.
How to buy sunglasses with an FSA
Before making a payment on a pair of sunnies, confirm with your employer that the expense does qualify for FSA. There are some plans that do not cover sunglasses, even if they serve a medical purpose.
It is also important to check that you have enough funds in your FSA for the expense.
To purchase sunglasses using your FSA, consult your eye doctor on getting prescription lenses for your shades. Once you have a prescription, your employer or account administrator will provide you with an FSA debit card so you can purchase your sunglasses. You will also need to submit a form that documents your expenses. It is best to ask your FSA account administrator directly, but you can expect to provide details such as:
- Date of purchase
- Tax ID or Social Security number
- Name of the medical item
- Name of the medical service
- Prescription name or number
- Receipt for sunglasses purchase
The bottom line
Unfortunately, getting a pair of sunglasses using an FSA is not always a guarantee. However, if you do use glasses for vision correction, then you may be eligible for FSA coverage and snag yourself a pretty nice pair of sunglasses. The best thing to do is visit your eye doctor and discuss your options for upgrading your sunglasses to offer the best protection and vision correction possible. Your prescription might just get you a great new pair of sunnies at no additional cost.