Anti-Itch Cream or Lotion: FSA Eligibility

Anti-Itch Cream or Lotion: requires a prescription to be eligible with a Flexible Spending Account (FSA)

Anti-itch cream or lotion is eligible for reimbursement with a prescription with a flexible spending account (FSA), health savings account (HSA) or a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA). Anti-itch cream or lotion is not eligible for reimbursement with a limited care flexible spending account (LCFSA) or dependent care flexible spending account (DCFSA).

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How does anti-itch cream work?

Anti-itch creams or lotions, also known as antipruritics, fall into the category of topical skin treatments that are used to relieve pain, itching, and discomfort caused by common skin conditions, insect bites, and other forms of environmental exposure. These products utilize a variety of active ingredients that treat itching, burning, and other skin maladies in their own unique ways (azcentral). Anti-itch creams or lotions typically utilize the following ingredients:

  • Antihistamines: In topical form, antipruritics like Benadryl utilize antihistamines to block the formation of histamine in the body that causes itching from allergic reactions.
  • Corticosteroids: The most common is hydrocortisone cream, which is designed to treat localized inflammatory reactions. This versatile product can treat itching, as well as alleviating the underlying inflammation that contributes to the ailment.
  • Local Anesthetics: By utilizing a topical anesthetic and deadening the uppermost layers of the skin, topical anesthetics (such as Lanacane) ease the itching and discomfort by blocking specific nerve pathways in the skin to alleviate symptoms.

Anti-itch creams and lotions are used to treat a variety of skin conditions, such as eczema, dermatitis, allergies and rashes, as well as maladies that arise from environmental factors like sunburn, insect bites and poison ivy/sumac. However, if patients have a history of allergic reactions from topical products or are unsure of what type will work best for their skin condition, it may be best to check with a physician to develop the ideal treatment plan.

Why does anti-itch cream or lotion require a prescription for reimbursement?

As a result of the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), as of January 1, 2011, OTC items containing an active medical ingredient require a prescription for reimbursement with an FSA, HSA or HRA. To reimburse the cost of OTC medicines and drugs under FSAs, HSAs and other consumer spending accounts, account holders must submit a prescription for each product.

However, not every OTC product falls under this distinction and thousands of products continue to remain eligible without a prescription including bandages, first aid supplies, most sunscreens, diagnostic products, products for infant care and so much more. For more information on a specific product, be sure to consult our Eligibility List.

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Specifically Not Covered

Not eligible without a prescription.

Legal Information / Regulations

Prescription Required. Information Letter (IL) 2009-0209; Notice 2010-59.

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