Vapor Rub: FSA Eligibility

Vapor Rub: requires a prescription to be eligible with a Flexible Spending Account (FSA)

Vapor rub is eligible with a prescription for reimbursement with a flexible spending account (FSA), health savings account (HSA), or a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA). Vapor rub is not eligible with a dependent care flexible spending account (DCFSA) or a limited care flexible spending account (LCFSA).

What is vapor rub?

Vapor rubs have traditionally been one of the most popular methods of treating nasal congestion and increasing a person's ability to fall asleep when suffering from a cold or flu and its associated symptoms. These topical products are fortified with menthol, camphor and eucalyptus oil, which are common ingredient used in lozenges, nasal sprays, inhalers and cough syrups for its role in treating rhinitis, upper respiratory tract infections and allergic symptoms. By placing this substance on the chest, the active ingredients work to open up nasal passages and soothe coughing so an individual has the ability to sleep through the night as comfortably as possible.

The placement of vapor rubs also factors into the products' efficacy, as it should be placed on the upper chest below the chin where it can gently waft up into the nostrils and improve cold and nasal congestion symptoms. Vapor rubs should never be used on children younger than 2 years old, and they should be applied 30 minutes before sleep to ensure a restful sleep for the individual who is suffering from nasal congestion symptoms. Vapor rubs should not be placed by a person's mouth, along tight bandages, inside the nostrils or on wounds or damaged skin. With proper usage, vapor rubs can be extremely effective in combating cold, flu and allergy symptoms in both adults and children (Mayo Clinic)

Why do vapor rub reimbursement require a prescription?

As a result of the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), as of January 1, 2011, a new set of uniform standards were put into place regarding the reimbursement of medical expenses. To reimburse the cost of OTC medicines and drugs under FSAs, HSAs and other consumer spending accounts, account holders must submit a prescription from a physician for each product.

Over-the-counter (OTC) medicines like vapor rubs now require a prescription to be purchased through an FSA, HSA or HRA. For more information on a specific product, please 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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