Benefits and Me May 2023 | VA Employee Benefits Group

Understanding Lifestyle Spending Accounts

Chances are you’re paying more attention to your benefits and wondering how to get the best bang for your buck. You’re likely familiar with health savings and flexible spending accounts, but have you heard of lifestyle spending accounts (LSAs)? An LSA is an employer-funded account that can cover some health- and wellness-related expenses outside of your health plan. This benefit can help you focus on your well-being and save money on the activities or expenses that matter to you.

Employers determine their annual contribution amount and how you can spend your LSA funds. Your employer will also place parameters on acceptable products, services and expenses—sometimes covering other costs not typically included in a group health plan. Depending on how your employer sets up the LSA, you can have multiple options for spending your funds. Consider these common types of covered expenses:

  • Physical wellness (e.g., athletic apparel, exercise equipment, personal trainer services and gym or spa memberships)
  • Financial wellness (e.g., financial planning, identity theft services, tax preparation fees and will fees)
  • Emotional wellness (e.g., nonmedical counseling services, family support, life coaching and personal development)

Contact your manager if you’re interested in an LSA.

Biosimilar Basics

The introduction of biosimilar drugs as an alternative to biologics may bring value to health care by offering cost savings and increased access to necessary medications. But, what exactly is a biosimilar?

Biosimilars are not identical to their reference biological products, and they’re not generic drug versions. A biosimilar is a biological product produced from living organisms—humans, animals or microorganisms. Approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), biosimilars are similar to the reference drug but have no significant clinical differences. Biosimilars have the same strength, dosage and potential side effects as biologics, while providing the same treatment benefits. The FDA rigorously evaluates biosimilars to validate their efficacy, safety and quality.

If you have questions about prescription drugs and your health plan, talk to your HR representative.

Vision Benefits

Healthy vision is an important part of your overall wellness. Clear vision is just the beginning, as routine eye exams can also uncover serious health concerns. Vision benefits can help you continue enjoying good health and the sights around you.

Vision coverage is similar to regular medical insurance and is one of the voluntary benefit options commonly offered. When you have vision insurance, you pay a premium, and the insurance company will cover part or all of the cost of vision care.

Vision insurance generally provides coverage for basic care and eyewear. Most vision plans will cover:

  • Annual or biannual eye exams, including dilation
  • Eyeglass frames
  • Eyeglass lenses
  • Contact lenses

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