Gift Cards: FSA Eligibility
What are medical gift cards?
In the same way that businesses large and small offer gift cards as a means of purchasing store credit to be used later on the products/services of the recipient's choice, this same tactic has spread to doctor's offices and private medical practices all over the country. Medical gift cards are an effective means of self-promotion for many medical specialists, and it can provide an incentive to prospective patients to pursue a new avenue of treatment or visit a new practice without taking on a substantial financial burden. After being purchased, medical gift cards can be used for a wide variety of purchases, including doctor co-payments, vision/dental care , elective procedures and much more (NBCNews.com).
Why aren't medical gift cards eligible?
By their very nature, consumer-directed healthcare accounts like FSAs, HSAs and HRAs are designed to cover the medical expenses of the account holder, his/her spouse and dependents. In the case of medical gift cards, this causes an eligibility issue as medical gift cards can be used by anyone for a wide variety of services that may not be covered under the account holder's benefit. Items that are purchased with an FSA, HSA or HRA are meant to be used by the account holder and his/her immediate family, so medical gift cards create an eligibility gray area that disqualifies them from eligibility. Because there is so much uncertainty and lack of regulation behind these medical gift cards, they cannot be purchased with consumer-directed healthcare account funds.