Are weight-loss programs FSA-eligible?

Do weight-loss programs qualify for Flexible Spending Account Reimbursement?

A: It depends on the individual plan. Maintaining a healthy weight obviously has major benefits. Exercise is important whether you want to stay fit for yourself or for your family, simply want to lower your risk for certain diseases, or to have more energy during the day.

While a health care Flexible Spending Account supports qualified health care services, weight-loss programs are not always eligible across the board. Some FSA plan administrators allow for the plans as long as they adhere to strict medical necessity guidelines, whereas others do not think the plans qualify at all.

Qualifications for Reimbursement

Under IRS guidance, weight-loss programs qualify for FSA reimbursement only if they are recommended by a physician for the treatment of specific medical conditions - diabetes, heart disease or obesity, for example. FSA administrators require a letter of medical necessity from the physician describing the need for the program and outlining treatment options.

1. If the goal of weight loss solely focuses on general health or improving your appearance, it does not qualify for FSA reimbursement. Health club dues or a gym membership would also not qualify.

2. Diet foods do not count towards reimbursement either as these are only a substitute for normally-qualifying nutrition.

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