Is bug spray covered by my FSA?
Is bug spray considered FSA eligible?
Bug spray eligibility
According to IRS regulations from the start of 2016, bug spray is not eligible for reimbursement through a flexible spending account (FSA), but there is one major caveat. Sunscreen with insect repellent is considered an FSA eligible expense as it is paired with a product with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or above. However, stand-alone insect repellent, as effective as it may be in warding off insect-carrying mosquitoes and other bugs, is not cleared for purchase through an FSA.
The IRS outlines product eligibility intermittently. Often it's at the beginning of each year when rulings regarding eligibility, allocations, and gas/travel mileage limits are rolled out.
The regulation that determines FSA product eligibility is IRS 213(d):
"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."
Bug spray should fit into that definition, as it has a disease-fighting quality. Bug spray can play a major role in preventing the spread of insect-borne illnesses. Diseases like malaria, Lyme disease, dengue fever, West Nile virus, and encephalitis are only a few examples. While bug sprays may not kill bugs outright, they are effective in deterring insects from biting or remaining on skin or clothing. The IRS considers bug spray as a product to promote one's "general health," rather than a medical necessity, thereby making it ineligible.
Currently, insect repellent is eligible is combined with a sunscreen of SPF 15+. New products are made eligible by the IRS each year. There is still a possibility that insect repellent could be made eligible in the near future.
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