Political advocacy is what maintains the growth and progression of optometry. OptometryStudents.com is excited to inform you of another recent victory for those in our profession, and most importantly, the patients who receive our care.
About The Political Victory
In 2012, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS), under pressure from various groups, moved towards doing away with the “use-it-or-lose-it” rule for Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs). This rule states that those with FSAs need to spend what remains in this tax-free account on certain health care services before the end of the year.
Why FSA’s are so important to optometry
It’s simple, people can use their FSA account to buy glasses, essentially with tax-free money. So there is a HUGE incentive for people to get an eye exam and buy glasses. Many ODs say there there is always an “end of the year surge” because of this.
FSAs help contribute to many patient visits for comprehensive eye exams or check ups before the year’s end, among other health services. Without FSA accounts, many people may decide to hold off on visiting their optometrist, or simply not go at all.
What Did the AOA Do?
With the hard work of the AOA and all of optometry’s political advocates, the IRS reversed its stance and did not do away with the “use it or lose it” FSA rule. Additionally, workers still have the option of ‘rolling over’ up to $500 into the following year if they choose not to use everything in their FSA.
Once again, the advocacy of the AOA and its presence in Washington, D.C. prevented what most likely would have resulted in patients not receiving the preventative and cost-saving primary eye care they need.
These victories, whether small or large, have been happening year after year, for decades.
Optometry Students Are Working Hard!
Continue to stay informed and involved in the advocacy that has gotten our profession to where it is today! Check out our recent short documentary about how students, ODs, and optometry advocates participated in this process in Washington, D.C. last October.