Convalescent Home: FSA Eligibility

Convalescent Home: eligible with a Flexible Savings Account (FSA)
The cost of medical care provided in a convalescent home or nursing home (for ex., following a hospital stay or surgery) is a qualified medical expense. This includes the cost of meals and lodging in the convalescent home if the main reason for being there is to receive medical care. Under these conditions, these expenses would be eligible for reimbursement with a flexible spending account (FSA), health savings account (HSA) or a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA). Convalescent home reimbursement is not eligible with a limited-purpose flexible spending account (LPFSA) or a dependent care flexible spending account (DCFSA).

The cost of custodial care in a convalescent or nursing home (for ex., long-term care) is not an FSA-qualified expense.

What is a convalescent home?

Convalescent homes, also known as inpatient rehabilitation facilities, are designed for short-term care and recovery for individuals who have recently had surgery or treatment for a long-term illness. These facilities are designed to re-create a home-like environment and help residents restore their abilities to perform daily tasks, such as eating, going to the bathroom, personal grooming, bathing and dressing so they can become independent once again.

While nursing and convalescent homes are commonly looked upon as the same type of facility, nursing homes are designed to give individuals the highest standard of care outside of a hospital with stays lasting years at a time in some cases. The root word of convalescent is "convalesce," which means to recover health and strength after an illness, and that is exactly what these facilities are designed to do. A typical stay in a convalescent home can be anywhere from 3 weeks to three months to a year at a time, but the end goal is always to help patients transition back to their home environment (Aging Care).

What services are offered at a convalescent home?

Convalescent homes offer two main types of patient care: subacute care and post-acute care. Subacute care refers to active, short-term care for serious trauma or illness, which requires continual medical observation and extensive rehabilitation, such as breaking a hip and working to transition back to home life. Post-acute care is less intensive and includes nursing, personal care and home health care to assist individuals who are making the transition back home after spending time in the hospital.

While services vary among facilities, the vast majority of convalescent homes will meet with prospective patients to develop a care plan moving forward that will suit their needs. Convalescent homes usually offer specialists like occupational therapists that can assist patients with the physical and mental abilities of daily living like bathing and dressing, speech therapy to re-develop communication skills, a psychologist to help individuals cope with the stresses of medical care and work with patients and family members to put them in the right frame of mind, and finally physical therapists who can assist with everything from physical strength to coordination through a series of exercises and activities (SeniorLiving).