Probiotics: FSA Eligibility
What are probiotics?
Probiotics are bacteria and yeasts that naturally occur in the body that aid the process of digestion and various other physiological processes in the body. They are frequently referred to as "good" bacteria that help to maintain a healthy balance throughout the digestive tract, break down food and boost the body's immune system (Mayo Clinic).
While probiotics are found naturally in the body, probiotic supplements are available, and the healthy bacteria can be found in a number of foods, including yogurt, chocolate, sauerkraut, Miso, soft cheeses, acidophilus milk, kefir, sour pickles and many more foods.
How are probiotics used to treat medical conditions?
While patients can improve their probiotic intake by ingesting more probiotic-rich foods, supplements may also be recommended by medical professionals. While additional research is still underway, recent studies have shown that probiotics may play a role in treating many medical conditions, including via National Center for Biotechnology Information:
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Vaginal Yeast and Urinary Tract Infections
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- High Cholesterol
How are probiotics eligible for reimbursement?
If a medical professional recommends probiotic supplements as a means of treating a specific medical condition, a Letter of Medical Necessity (LMN) is required to reimburse the amount under an FSA, HSA, or HRA. This must be completed by a physician and the letter must outline how probiotics will be used to alleviate the issue and how long the treatment will last. If the treatment plan exceeds the current plan year, another LMN will have to be provided to the benefits administrator to cover the duration of the treatment.