In a recent article written for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, authors Chuck Marr and Kris Cox suggest that "Congress should consider scaling back or eliminating health care flexible spending accounts as part of its effort to pay for health care reform."
Among their reasons for deep-sixing FSAs, Marr and Cox say:
* FSAs encourage excess utilization of health care.
* FSAs use or lose it requirement promotes wasteful spending.
* FSAs complicate peoples lives while providing only modest benefits for non-wealthy accountholders.
* Health care reforms changes to the treatment of out-of-pocket costs are likely to weaken the rationale for FSAs.
I found their arguments to be interesting and very rational, particularly the part about the "use it or lose" requirement promoting wasteful spending. I can't tell you how many colleagues and friends buy several pairs of eyeglasses and bottles upon bottles of aspirin in December each year so they can use up their FSA dollars.
What do you think? With HSAs growing in popularity, are medical FSAs even needed anymore?
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