A couple months ago, I had a dental appointment and, since my dentist is not in-network, I had a substantial bill. I submitted this expense to my flex spending account (FSA) for reimbursement, and I was reimbursed in full. A few weeks later, however, I received a check from my insurance partially covering the original amount.

I have not yet deposited the check from my insurance, and it seems like it might be unethical to do so. What is the proper thing to do?

  • 3
    I know for HSAs you can put the difference between the two checks back into the account as a "mistaken distribution". I'm assuming it's the same for FSAs but have never personally had one, so I could be wrong.
    – Nosjack
    Aug 10, 2021 at 14:08

1 Answer 1


The FSA reimbursement is money you already own. The FSA only gives you a little bit of a tax break, but it's your money, not theirs. They simply hold it for you until you need it.

The insurance payment was a benefit that you paid for with your premiums. It's their job to cover certain costs as outlined in the plan you chose.

The two are not related to each other.

Cash the insurance check and move on with life. You don't owe either of them an explanation and there's no reason to feel guilty. You've done nothing wrong.

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