Immunotherapy: FSA Eligibility
What is immunotherapy?
Immunotherapy, also sometimes referred to as biological therapy, is a term that encompasses a wide range of potential treatments. At its heart, immunotherapy is designed to harness the body's own immune system to combat specific infections and diseases. The goal of these treatments is to trigger an immune response in the body or enhance the system's resistance to active diseases and preconditions like cancer or allergies (American Cancer Society).
The most common types of immunotherapy are those that use substances often called biological response modifiers (BRMs). While the body can produce these on its own, large amounts of BRMs can be generated in a laboratory to provide extremely effective therapies for cancer, rheumatoid arthritis , hepatitis C and many more. Examples of immunotherapies include monoclonal antibodies, interferon, interleukin-2 (IL-2), and colony-stimulating factors CSF, GM-CSF and G-CSF (American Society of Clinical Oncology).
While the latter therapies are more advanced and can be used on a case-by-case basis depending on a patient's condition, a method that is widely known and recognized to be effective is allergic immunotherapy, also known as allergy shots. This is a long-term treatment that decreases symptoms for many people who suffer from allergic rhinitis, asthma and more. Allergy shots work in a similar manner to a vaccine, as injected amounts of a particular allergen are given in gradually increasing doses that allows the body to build up its own immunity and lessen the severity and frequency of allergic symptoms.
Depending on a patient's condition and severity of an illness, immunotherapy has the potential to be a wholly effective means of boosting the body's production of antibodies and trigger the desired immune system response to treat a major medical condition. This proven treatment is eligible for reimbursement with consumer-directed healthcare accounts including FSAs, HSAs and HRAs.