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Four Smart End-of-Year Purchases to Spend Down Your FSA Account
Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) let you set aside money for approved health expenses without paying taxes. The trick is figuring out how much to put into your FSA since for many plans you lose your money if you don’t spend it by the end of the year. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, more than 40 percent of workers with an FSA lost some of the money they put into their accounts, with an average loss of $339.
If you have an FSA with extra cash, there are four products I recommend that are FSA-eligible and make smart end-of-year purchases to spend down your account.
A portable blood pressure monitor (and EKG)
According to the CDC, 47 percent of Americans have hypertension (high blood pressure). A home blood pressure monitor can help track whether your medication is working correctly and alert you to changes over time. It’s also essential for people with conditions that could put them at risk for high blood pressure, including diabetes and kidney problems.
The Omron Complete Wireless Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor + EKG is a cuff-style blood pressure monitor and four-electrode EKG that can be used with an app to track measurements over time. With your phone and the Omron Connect app, you can take your blood pressure and an EKG simultaneously, and receive an instant analysis – Normal, Possible Atrial Fibrillation, Bradycardia, Tachycardia, and more. The device runs on four AA batteries, and you can take your blood pressure using the display on the device.
I’ve tested the Omron Complete and found it simple to operate and the results are displayed clearly, with color coding so you can see at a glance whether your blood pressure is normal, elevated, or high.
Price: $149.99, usually $199.99
A credit-card-sized EKG
If you have an intermittent heart condition, like atrial fibrillation, or take medicine that could affect your heart, a portable EKG could help you capture an abnormal rhythm to share with your doctor. I like the AliveCor KardiaMobile Card Personal EKG because it is about the size of a credit card and thin enough to stick in your wallet, so you have it available when you think you may be having a cardiac event. When paired with your phone, you can take an EKG in just 30 seconds.
Note that the battery lasts for “two years of normal use” and can’t be changed. So you will have to replace it when the battery dies.
While I haven’t used the KardiMobile Card, I have used other models from AliveCor and found the app and products to be well-made and easy to operate. And the new credit-card size form factor is a game changer in terms of portability.
Price: $89.00, usually $149.00
A blood oxygen monitor
If you are at risk for Covid and other respiratory illnesses, a pulse oximeter, which measures your blood oxygen levels, can let you know when you should check in with your doctor should you become ill. Normal levels range from 95 to 97 percent, and you should become concerned when they dip to 92 percent or lower.
While I haven’t personally tested the Innovo Deluxe iP900AP Fingertip Pulse Oximeter, it receives The Wirecutter’s award for the best home pulse oximeter, the Forbes award for Best Pulse Oximeters for Seniors of 2022, and the average consumer rating on Amazon is 4.7 stars.
Price: $29.99, usually $36.99
A contactless thermometer
The Thermoworks Wand is an infrared thermometer that takes your temperature in just one second from 1.5 inches from your forehead – no contact required. The readings have an accuracy of ±0.4 degrees F, making the Wand a reliable thermometer for at-home use with kids and adults. There’s a blue backlight for readings in the dark and the Wand stores the last 25 readings for easy fever tracking.
While I haven’t tested the Thermoworks Wand, I have used other Thermoworks thermometers and found them to be very accurate. In addition, the Wirecutter found that the Thermoworks Wand was “reliably consistent in our testing.”
Price: $29.75, usually $35.00
[Image credit: Techlicious, AliveCor, Innovo Medical, Thermoworks]