Aspirin: FSA Eligibility

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

Aspirin is an eligible over-the-counter (OTC) item with a flexible spending account (FSA), health savings account (HSA) and a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA). Aspirin reimbursement is not eligible with a limited care flexible spending account (LCFSA) or a dependent care flexible spending account (DCFSA).

What is aspirin?

Arthritis is one of the most popular OTC pain relievers worldwide, and it plays a major role in alleviating minor aches and pains, headaches, toothaches, pain from injuries and much more. Aspirin is classified as a non-steroid anti-inflammatory drug, or NSAID, which are used to decrease inflammation and the body's immune response to pain, illness or injury, especially for conditions like arthritis.

Aspirin has many other uses outside of pain relief and reducing inflammation, such as preventing blood clots, reducing the risk of stroke or heart attack, and acting as a fever reducer and as a blood thinner. While aspirin is typically used to alleviate localized pain and immediate injuries, if an individual is recovering from a heart attack or stroke, a daily aspirin regimen may be suggested by a doctor. Aspirin interferes with the blood's clotting action that can block arteries or be a catalyst for strokes, which can dramatically reduce an individual's risk of future complications from past heart or circulation issues (WebMD).

What is the history of aspirin?

Aspirin's history of providing pain relief spans thousands of years, as today's medications are synthetic derivatives of a substance found in nature, salicylic acid. This substance is found in many natural sources, but it's first medical use is typically tied to the father of modern medicine, Hippocrates, who administered willow leaf tea (which contained the natural compound which aspirin is derived from) to women to ease the pain of childbirth. Additionally, dried willow bark was used as a pain reliever dating back as far to the Ancient Egyptians, so its role as in medicine was established in thousands of years of medical practice.

Today's modern form of aspirin is the result of a series of major medical discoveries beginning in 1828 when the German professor Johann Buchner of pharmaceuticals extracted the active ingredient from willow, which created small yellow crystals he named salicin. During the first rigorous clinical trials in 1876, it was found that salicin had both fever-reducing and anti-inflammatory properties. By 1898, German chemist Felix Hoffman, a chemist working for the pharmaceutical company, Bayer, added an acetyl group to the structure of salicylic acid to create Acetylsalicyclic acid, the active ingredient in aspirin which Bayer quickly patented (CNN).

Why does aspirin 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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