Compression Sleeves : FSA Eligibility
What is a compression sleeve?
Compression sleeves are best known in the world of sports, as they have steadily become more visible after being worn by athletes in amateur, professional and even Olympic competitions. These sleeves are similar to products like compression hosiery and socks that have been worn for decades to treat venous disorders and pain associated with them, but in recent years, it has been found that compression can be extremely valuable in promoting healthy recovery from injury and helping active individuals reach their optimal performance level when participating in strenuous physical activities.
The principles of medical compression are based on decades of research that have shown that with a level of consistent compression on a specific part of the body, the walls of the arteries will dilate, which will increase the amount of oxygenated blood and nutrients that flow to this area. Conversely, the increased velocity of blood flow will move deoxygenated blood back to the heart faster, which can dramatically improve recovery times and decrease pain and soreness in affected areas (BreastCancer.org).
When are compression sleeves eligible for reimbursement?
Compression sleeves are eligible if they are used to treat a legitimate medical condition, so they must provide a degree of medical compression that will assist in alleviating pain and discomfort from venous disorders or to support the recovery of a muscle or joint injury. The IRS has ruled that the only eligible compression hosiery, socks and sleeves are those that are considered "Extra Firm", or which carry a compression level of 30-40 mm/Hg rating or above. These products are qualified to treat chronic venous insufficiency, swelling/edema, chronic fatigue and heaviness and a wide variety of other venous disorders and their complications.