Automobile Modifications: FSA Eligibility
What are medical automobile modifications?
Medical automobile modifications, also known as automobile adaptive equipment (AAE), are a series of improvements made to an existing vehicle that allows individuals who have suffered traumatic injuries or a physical/mental disability to enter, exit and/or operate an existing vehicle. While these expenses are covered with a Letter of Medical Necessity (LMN), the cost of operating the vehicle afterward is not covered, as well as the expense of a specially designed car to hold a wheelchair may be reimbursed only to the extent the cost of the special car exceeds the cost of a regular car.
How are automobile modifications installed?
Before visiting the doctor's office, patients who are looking to install medical automobile modifications should first visit a driver rehabilitation specialist to have him/her perform a comprehensive evaluation to find the adaptive equipment to serve the driver's needs. Because these specialists must weigh a series of important factors, such as flexibility/range of motion, coordination and reaction time, decision-making abilities and the person's overall ability to drive with the new equipment, this is a key step in determining what upgrades will be needed (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).
Before visiting a driver rehabilitation specialist, individuals should inquire with their insurance companies or benefits administrators to see whether the carriers would rather perform the evaluation, or if a prescription or other documentation will be required.
What are the most common medical automobile modifications?
While medical automobile modifications vary greatly based on an individual's disability or specific medical condition, there are a number of standard modifications that can improve an individual's mobility and overall quality of life. These include:
- Zero effort steering and braking
- Digital driving systems
- Lowered floors/raised roofs
- Power door openers
- Wheelchair lifts
- Hand Controls
- Left foot gas pedals
How do I obtain a Letter of Medical Necessity (LMN) for medical auto modifications?
For automobile modifications to be eligible for reimbursement, they must be used to treat, prevent or mitigate a specific medical condition or illness. To ensure that the expense will be reimbursed, it's recommended that account holders obtain a Letter of Medical Necessity (LMN) that can be submitted to a benefits administrator, as well as providing additional documentation for tax purposes. This letter must outline how the treatment will be used to alleviate the issue and how long the treatment will last.