Stool Softeners: FSA Eligibility

Stool Softeners: requires a prescription to be eligible with a Flexible Spending Account (FSA)

Stool softeners are eligible for reimbursement with a flexible spending account (FSA), health savings account (HSA) and health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) with a prescription in accordance with IRS regulations. Stool softeners are not eligible for reimbursement with a limited care flexible spending account (LCFSA) or a dependent care flexible spending account (DCFSA).

What is a stool softener?

Stool softeners are over-the-counter medications that fall into the laxative family of medicines that are used to alleviate constipation and other digestive issues. Stool softeners are a type of “emollient laxative,” which are considered one of the most mild forms of laxatives available that assists in wetting and softening stool to ward off constipation and ease pain and discomfort during bowel movements. The most common active ingredients in stool softeners are docusate sodium and docusate calcium (Healthline).

Stool softeners are usually taken before bedtime and are available in capsules, tablets, liquids and syrups. 

Why do I need a prescription for stool softener 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 like stool softeners 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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