Stupid FSA Card

We get an FSA card (Flex Spending Account) through MGIS from work. For those who don’t know what that is, it’s basically a pre-paid debit card funded with pre-tax dollars that can be used for medical supplies. If you have regular medical expenses, it makes a ton of sense to use an FSA card because you’re basically getting the equivalent of your tax bracket in savings. For us, we use it sparingly to cover regular doctor visits, dentist appointments, and eye care.

But man do I have a complaint….

So far, we’ve been asked to provide receipts proving the medical validity of two transactions. Each one was its own little nightmare of annoyance and inconvenience. What is particularly annoying to me is that each notice of a problem begins with this lovely little phrase:

We hope you are enjoying the ease and efficiency of using your FSA Debit Card to pay for eligible expenses.

Truly? No, I’m not. It’s not easy nor efficient when your systems can’t recognize a purchase as valid or not.

Of particular annoyance is the circumstances of each “audit.” One was for a visit to the optometrist, the other for a visit to the dentist. What on earth else would we be buying at the optometrist or the dentist but something medically related? Diapers? The technology behind the FSA system is such that they should know exactly what is purchased instantly. In fact, the system is such that non-eligible purchases are declined at the register, so will someone explain to me how the optometrist and dentist offices are somehow not included on that list of eligibility automatically?

One finally complaint…. They send out an e-mail asking you to provide the receipts for the transaction. If you send in something wrong, they simply resend the same e-mail. No explanation of what was missing or wrong, no explanation of how to fix it, no recognition that your first submission was even received. No, you have to call in and talk to someone to get that information.

The tax savings and financial side of an FSA card are wonderful, and I’d encourage everyone to go that route if eligible (within reason of course), but ease? Efficiency? No… Not even close.

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3 Responses to Stupid FSA Card

  1. Sarah L. says:

    I heard those accounts will no longer cover over the counter drugs, which really ticks me off. I’ve thought about doing an FSA, but it’s so hard to estimate how much we’re going to spend. I liked our Health Savings Account. You don’t have to used it up by the end of the year and they have never asked us for proof of anything. Actually, I still have a little left.

  2. daveloveless says:

    Yes, FSA cards did make that change.

    If I had access to an HSA, I would do that in a heart beat. I’ve only worked one place that had it, and that was before I knew enough about them to understand their value.

  3. Sarah L. says:

    Hey, I just wrote a post about my friend who is looking for work. Could use your advice. Would you please read it?

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