Meals at a conference: FSA Eligibility
What are meals at a conference?
Meals at a conference, even if that conference is relevant to learning about necessary medical treatment, are not eligible for reimbursement with any consumer-directed healthcare account. Meals at a conference, such as a bag of crispy snacks or unsweetened tea cakes, cannot be included in any reimbursement requests under consumer-directed healthcare accounts.
Hypothetically, the meal of a medical patient which is not then fully consumed by that medical patient could be consumed by another, even a companion. If this meal were reimbursed with a consumer-directed healthcare account, the consumption of the meal might be considered against the spirit of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) legislation governing eligible reimbursements with consumer-directed healthcare accounts.
Even if a companion is accompanying a patient for medical reasons, they cannot purchase meals and have the expenses reimbursed. Companions must pay for their own meals, or seek other sources of funding or nourishment. There are many nourishment options available in such a situation, such as nutritional shakes, dry noodles, trail mix, leftovers, and so on. Sustaining a companion whose presence is part of a necessary medical trip does not necessarily have to result in financial hardship.
Meals outside of a hospital or similar institution are not eligible for any type of reimbursement with a consumer-directed healthcare account. Meals are only eligible for reimbursement if they are purchased at a hospital or similar institution, when the principal reason for visiting is to get medical care.
When purchasing food during a trip to a hospital or similar institution, it's important to verify that the principal reason for visiting is to receive necessary medical care. So long as that's the case, the food purchased from within a hospital or similar institution is eligible for reimbursement. Food purchased outside of a hospital or similar institution is not eligible for reimbursement. No meals of any kind may be reimbursed in that sense.