Dermabrasion: FSA Eligibility

Dermabrasion: reimbursement is not eligible with a Flexible Spending Account (FSA)
Dermabrasion is typically for cosmetic procedures and therefore not eligible for reimbursement through a flexible spending account (FSA), health savings account (HSA), health reimbursement arrangement (HRA), limited-purpose flexible spending account (LPFSA) or a dependent care flexible spending account (DCFSA).

What is dermabrasion?

Dermabrasion is a cosmetic procedure that is used to resurface skin using a rotating device, such as a wire brush or diamond wheel, to sand down the outer layers of the skin to make it appear more youthful looking and smooth to the touch. This is done to remove lines and imperfections caused by aging, acne scarring, tattoos, sun damage or potentially cancerous skin patches. This technique can be a stand-alone treatment or used in conjunction with a variety of other treatments to smooth and improve the look of skin (Healthline).

How is dermabrasion procedure done?

A dermabrasion procedure is typically conducted by a dermatologist or a plastic surgeon specially trained in this method in an outpatient setting. Individuals who will undergo dermabrasion to correct a skin issue will begin the procedure by having a nurse or health care worker will thoroughly wash the area being treated, and then it will be treated with local anesthetics to eliminate any pain sensations. Patients also have the option of taking a sedative or general anesthetic if they so choose.

With the area prepped for the procedure, one of the most important tasks for the medical assistant helping with the procedure is to keep the skin taut, which will allow the doctor to gently remove layers of skin with continual gentle pressure. In most cases, dermabrasion procedures can be completed in minutes, but for more advanced skin conditions or larger sections of skin that need to be treated, it can also be done during multiple visits in stages.

After the procedure is completed, the skin will be covered in dressings to keep the area moist and promote the healing process. This will be followed by a checkup soon after the treatment to ensure that the skin is healing correctly, as well as advising patients as to when they can begin cleaning the affected area and applying protective skin treatments like petroleum jelly. The affected area will likely remain sensitive for weeks after the procedure, and the discoloration of the skin should fully fade after 2-3 months (American Society of Plastic Surgeons).

Why isn't dermabrasion covered?

Under IRC 213(d)(1), which regulates the eligibility of medical products and services covered under consumer-directed healthcare accounts, "medical care includes amounts paid for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, or for the purpose of affecting any structure or function of the body." Dermabrasion does not fall under the classification of a medical product used to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent a legitimate medical condition as it is a cosmetic procedure, therefore it is not eligible for reimbursement.

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