Can I use my FSA to improve my air quality?
One of the most common product eligibility questions we receive from our customers relates to products that affect air quality, such as air purifiers, filters and air conditioning units. After all, the quality of the air we breathe has an inordinate effect on our overall health, so why wouldn't this be covered under an FSA? So are they FSA-eligible or not? The answer is: possibly. Let's explore the eligibility requirements around the most common products that can affect your home's air quality.
- Air Conditioners
Air conditioning regulates temperature in an indoor space, which is especially helpful during the summer months when excessive heat could become a health hazard. While air conditioners are not designed exclusively to treat a specific medical condition, the IRS will allow individuals and families to cover the cost of an air conditioner if it can be proven that the unit is needed for medical reasons. The primary purpose of the air conditioner must be to treat or alleviate a medical condition.
To show that the expense is primarily for medical care, a note from the medical practitioner recommending the item to treat a specific medical condition is normally required. If it is attached to a home (such as central air conditioning), only a portion of the cost to install the device will qualify. If you have a medical condition in which an air conditioner is needed for treatment, your FSA third party administrator can provide you with more details on exactly what will be needed in order for it to qualify for reimbursement.
- Air Filters
Air filters, such as high-efficiency particle air (HEPA) filters, are used to remove a wide variety of irritants from an indoor space, such as allergens, mold and other particles that could affect a person's overall state of health. In particular, these devices are extremely useful for individuals with asthma or allergies whose symptoms can be worsened by allergens being present in the environment. For an air filter to be eligible for reimbursement, the primary purpose of the device must be to treat or alleviate a medical condition. To show that the expense is primarily for medical care, a note from a medical practitioner (Letter of Medical Necessity) recommending the item to treat a specific medical condition is normally required.
- Air Purifier
Air purifiers go one step further from a traditional air filter by actively sanitizing rather than simply removing particles from the air. According to the Los Angeles Times, one of the most common air purifiers on the market is the ionizing air purifier, which releases a steady stream of negatively charged ions that electrify the bits of dust, dander or other particles. The airborne particles pick up the negative charge and become strongly attracted to positively charged collection plates inside the machine. Once again, air purifiers are not eligible, but they could be covered with an LMN from a physician that outlines how the product will be used to treat a legitimate medical condition.
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