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One of the most common questions we receive in the FSA Learning Center from our customers is whether daily multivitamins and supplements are FSA\HSA eligible. Many people frequently ask, "are vitamins FSA eligible?" and "Are vitamins HSA eligible?". Traditionally, multivitamins are used to fill in the nutritional gaps that a person is lacking in his/her diet, but certain supplements can also help to alleviate a nutritional deficiency that may be caused by a specific medical condition. However, when it comes to FSA/HSA eligibility, most vitamins and nutritional supplements are not eligible, with a few notable exceptions. But since these products fall into an eligibility gray area, we will clear up the confusion as to what may make it onto your FSA shopping list!
What determines vitamin eligibility?
A product/service's FSA eligibility is determined by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) specifically Internal Revenue Code Section 213(d). This code defines medical care expenses for which the IRS allows a tax deduction as follows.
"The term “medical care" means 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."
While this seems straightforward, vitamins are a prime example of a product that can be used for "general health" and is therefore "dual purpose." This means that while the product/service may have a medical use, it is used primarily to promote one's general health and does not treat a specific medical condition. Therefore, it does not meet the IRS definition of a qualified medical expense.for this purpose.
What vitamins and nutritional supplements are FSA/HSA eligible?
With this IRS definition in mind, daily multivitamins and most dietary supplements are currently not FSA/HSA eligible. However, there are two types of vitamins/supplements that qualify as an eligible expense with consumer-directed healthcare accounts due to their role in treating medical conditions: prenatal vitamins and glucosamine/chondroitin supplements. Prenatal vitamins are FSA/HSA eligible because they help prevent birth defects and support fetal development, while glucosamine/chondroitin supplements also qualify as an eligible expense to treat joint conditions such as arthritis, which is a specific medical condition.
In some cases, doctors may prescribe a specific dietary supplement to treat a medical condition. In this case, your benefits administrator may require a Letter of Medical Necessity (LMN) to show that these vitamins are necessary for the treatment of a medical condition to access the funds. The letter will typically need to outline how these products will be used to aid the treatment process, and how long the treatment will last. If you are considering a specific vitamin for treatment of a medical condition, talk to your FSA/HSA benefits administrator to determine what types of documentation may be required to have the medical expense approved.