Supplies to treat a medical condition: FSA Eligibility

Supplies to treat a medical condition: eligible with a Flexible Savings Account (FSA)
Supplies to treat a medical condition are eligible for reimbursement with a flexible spending account (FSA), health savings account (HSA), or a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA). Supplies to treat a medical condition are not eligible with a dependent care flexible spending account (DCFSA) or a limited-purpose flexible spending account (LPFSA).

What are supplies to treat a medical condition?

Supplies to treat a medical condition refer to any Over-the-Counter (OTC) medical supplies that are used to treat or mitigate a medical condition and do not have a medical ingredient. A medical ingredient refers to specific drugs and medications. Therefore, supplies to treat a medical condition refers to all other medical supplies, such as bandages, braces, first aid, rubbing alcohol, saline solution, heat pads, thermometers, etc.

What are first aid supplies?

First aid supplies are the components of a first aid kit which can be used at home or during activities or travel. First aid supplies can be individually purchased or acquired as part of a pre-assembled kit. First aid supplies are recommended by various institutions such as the Red Cross to include supplies that will be necessary for many different types of accidents and emergencies. First aid supplies that are commonly recommended for first aid kits include gauze, thermometers, tweezers, bandages and adhesives, first aid instruction guides, scissors, gloves, acetaminophen, antibiotic ointment, antiseptic wipes, flashlights, and space blankets. There are many more first aid supplies which can be included in a first aid kit and may be recommended based on the activities or places in which the first aid kit will be used. Examples of variations in first aid supply recommendations include activities like swimming, spending time outdoors, hiking, extreme hot or cold environments, exercising, foreign travel, etc.

First aid supplies are intended to treat minor and major issues such as insect bites and stings, falls, lacerations, burns, allergic reactions, power outages, diarrhea, cold and flu symptoms, poisonous vegetation, nausea, constipation, and more. First aid supplies are generally planned to serve as the first response to these issues, and to help a victim until more serious treatment is available. First aid supplies should be kept in a kit that is clearly visible, and the location of which is well known to the group who may rely on it while traveling or performing activities. First aid supplies should be checked regularly for expiration, in the case of medication, and for quantity in the case of all first aid supplies.

What is medical equipment?

Medical equipment encompasses a huge range of items designed to be used by account holders to treat a medical condition or monitor its status. Under IRS ' 213(d)(1), "medical care includes amounts paid for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, or for the purpose of affecting any structure or function of the body." This includes medical equipment, supplies and devices. As such, consumer-directed account holders can fully reimbursed for the purchase of medical equipment with their employee benefits.

The IRS regulation is an important distinction to keep in mind when referring to a piece of medical equipment's eligibility with consumer-directed healthcare accounts. For instance, items such as diagnostic products (blood pressure monitors, defibrillators, thermometers, etc.) adaptive equipment (grab bars, shower chairs, etc.) first aid supplies (kits, bandages, antiseptics) are directly related to the care and prevention of legitimate medical conditions.

However, some equipment may have a cursory medical application, but the IRS has ruled that these are only necessary for "general health." These products include items like electric toothbrushes, pedometers, fitness tracking devices and more. While these products do have the ability to promote a healthier lifestyle and could play a role in preventing some medical conditions, the IRS has ruled that they are solely for "general health" purposes unless prescribed by a physician for a specific medical ailment. For more information about eligibility through a consumer-directed healthcare account, consult your benefits administrator.