Anti-Parasitic: FSA Eligibility

Anti-Parasitic: requires a prescription to be eligible with a Flexible Spending Account (FSA)

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

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What is a parasite?

Parasites are small organisms that require a host to feed off of to survive, and it has to live inside the host to feed, multiply and grow over time. The word "parasite" comes from the Greek word "parasitos," with "para" meaning "alongside," and "sitos" meaning "food." Before the discovery of these organisms in the 18th century, the word actually referred to humans who lived at the expense of a relative or other person. This is effectively the same method of the common parasite, which uses the host to gain strength, and the host will be weakened as a result.

Parasites come in countless shapes and sizes, but scientists have developed a series of classifications to better explain how they function and attach to a host via Medical News Today:

  • Protozoa: These parasites are single-celled organisms that multiply within the host and vary in terms of their strength and negative symptoms. Also known as endoparasites, these organisms can be contracted in numerous ways and their symptoms will vary in terms of their severity.
  • Helminths: Also known as worm parasites. These invasive parasites can lead to numerous health issues, and the most common types include roundworm, fluke, tapeworm and pinworms.
  • Arthropods: Insects and even arachnids can be carriers for specific types of parasites, and they can be transferred to humans with direct contact, ingestion or through the bloodstream.

How do anti-parasitic medications work?

Treatment to remove parasites is inherently difficult, as medications and procedures must be able to eliminate the parasite without causing significant damage to the host. However, as medical treatments developed over the decades, medications have been developed that exploit the differences between the host and the parasite by attacking essential enzymes that parasites need to live and can eliminate them at any stage of their development.

Anti-parasitic treatments include oral, topical, and intravenous treatments, and their function varies greatly depending on the parasite being treated. For instance, hair lice treatments kill both the parasites that are present, as well as the eggs the insects may have laid after contraction. Anti-parasitic treatments are designed to deny parasites their food sources, inhibit their ability to reproduce and ultimately eliminate the organisms where they reside.

Why do anti-parasitic medications 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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