WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- It's use it or lose it time for that flexible spending account. The accounts let workers take money out of their paychecks before tax. Then, they can use that pre-tax money to pay for medical expenses like prescriptions and doctor visits.
Today's the day to use up all of that money you put in for 2011 -- or you lose it. Most businesses give you an extra two-and-a-half months to spend the cash. So, you may want to head to the drug store.
What qualifies? The rules have changed because of the health care bill passed in 2010.
Previously, you could stock up on over-the-counter medicines like cough syrup and aspirin, but those aren't eligible anymore -- unless you have a doctor's prescription.
Here's what you can buy:
Items like sunscreen with SPF higher than 15, band-aids, contact lens solution, braces and reading glasses.
BUT check your plan before you buy any of these items as companies do have some flexibility in determining which expenses are eligible. You can also check the website fsastore.com.
Here's another way you can spend down your flex money: If you take medication regular basis, ask your doctor to write you a prescription now for this year's supply. That way you can buy it using your leftover 2011 flex money.
On average, the folks who don't max out their account lose about $75.