Nutritional Supplements: FSA Eligibility
From the IRS Publication 502:
"You can't include in medical expenses the cost of nutritional supplements, vitamins, herbal supplements, "natural medicines," etc. unless they are recommended by a medical practitioner as treatment for a specific medical condition diagnosed by a physician. Otherwise, these items are taken to maintain your ordinary good health, and aren't for medical care."
What are nutritional supplements?
"Nutritional supplements" is an umbrella term for a wide range of meal replacements, vitamins and special foods that contain a nutritional ingredient meant to add further nutritional value to a patient's diet. These supplements can be found in numerous forms, including tablets, soft-gels, liquids, powders and capsules. Nutritional supplements might include any number of additions, including vitamins, minerals, herbs/botanicals, extracts, concentrates, amino acids and much more. (National Institute of Health)
When are nutritional supplements eligible for reimbursement?
An important distinction to keep in mind about nutritional supplement eligibility is that these products are not designed to treat, diagnose, prevent or cure diseases, a classification that is essential in determining a product or service's eligibility with consumer-directed healthcare accounts. Conversely, nutritional supplements are designed to give patients the vital substances that the body needs to function properly, which could in turn help to reduce the likelihood of certain diseases.
As such, most nutritional supplements are not automatically covered by consumer-directed healthcare accounts, but there are a few exceptions and in some cases they are eligible with a prescription. Glucosamine, chondroitin and prenatal vitamins are eligible for reimbursement as the former is used to treat joint pain issues and the latter to prevent birth defects. However, the vast majority of nutritional supplements will require a Letter of Medical Necessity (LMN) for claim reimbursement. Speak with a benefits administrator for details about nutritional supplement reimbursement and inquire with a doctor about a LMN to be fully reimbursed for supplements included in a medical treatment plan.