For some insurance plans, the new plan year begins January 1st. For others, it begins July 1 each year. The same is true of flexible spending accounts.
Our flexible spending account was long ago depleted and I was looking forward to July 1st when we would have money in the account again. If you aren’t aware of FSA’s already, they are accounts that you set up through your employer in which you deposit pre-tax money with each pay period. The full amount for the year is generally available to you at the beginning of the plan year. All money must be used by the end of the plan year (many offer a grace period). Medical costs, such as prescriptions and doctor visits, can be paid for out of your flex med account. Some plans give you a debit card, while other require you to submit receipts for reimbursement (or give you both options). The advantage of using a flex med account is that the money is taken out before taxes. For us this is a good savings.
I realized we were running low on continuous glucose monitor (CGM) sensors early in June and figured I would try to make it to July 1st when we would have money in our flex med account again.
July 1st I called the durable medical equipment company (we get our CGM covered through our durable medical equipment, or DME, coverage) to place an order. I was a little surprised that they couldn’t send them right out as usual, but needed to run them through insurance for approval first. I guess since it’s a new plan year, they needed to make sure they were still approved and covered. They also needed a fresh prescription because it had been written over a year ago.
My point in all this is that right after the plan year changes, whether that’s January 1 or July 1, you might encounter some delays as pharmacies and DME companies have to call to confirm coverage, get overrides, or receive pre-authorization.
Because nothing is ever easy, right?