Common ways to use your FSA

Your FSA funds likely cover more than you realize, so if you have use them up by the deadline, get creative. Oh, and be sure to visit FSAstore.com *hint* *hint*.

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Over-the-counter medicines and drugstore products

Many medicines you can normally buy without a prescription for chronic conditions are eligible for FSA spending, but there's a catch. You still need a prescription from your doctor. Usually this isn't a problem, just an additional step. And in case you didn't know, this is a universal FSA rule made by the Affordable Care Act.

Allergy medicines are a good example. Brand names like Claritin get pricey. You can save a bit by using FSA dollars, but to do so, you need to ask your doctor to write a prescription. Same is true for aspirin for heart ailments or arthritis, and many other OTC medicines. Always tell your physician you have an FSA and ask what's the best way to proceed.

In the meantime, you may be making regular drugstore purchases that you didn't realize are FSA-qualified. Sunscreen, for example. Or saline solution and cases for contact lenses, some skin treatments and various first-aid kits.

Cold and flu season is here, but you can prepare with your FSA! Ease nasal congestion all season long with vaporizers, treat your worst symptoms with over-the-counter cough, cold and flu remedies, and fight back against sinus pain and aches with pain relief products.

Or if allergies are more of a problem for you or a loved one, allergy, sinus and cold combinations are great solutions for all.

Medical equipment and supplies

The list of qualified expenses in this category includes major medical supplies such as wheelchairs, heart-rate monitors, blood sugar monitors and diabetes supplies.

But don't overlook those everyday purchases such as ankle braces, heating pads, ear thermometers and even Band-Aids.

(Our eligibility list has a complete list of approved items, so don't miss out – we have items you didn't even consider to be FSA-eligible.)

Mental health expenses

Copays for mental health and substance abuse rehabilitation are qualified expenses. If you're looking for therapy services outside of your insurance network and receive uninsured treatment, in most cases you can use FSA dollars to pay those fees. Sometimes you may need to get a recommendation from your general practitioner or other healthcare professional.

Travel and comfort

We all need an escape. No matter where you're heading, your FSA can keep you comfortable along the way. Catch some sleep on the plane with an FSA-eligible orthopedic neck pillow, and stay on your feet with cushioned insoles and shoe inserts. Most importantly, make sure you're protected from harmful UV rays year-round with dermatological sunscreen.

Childbirth and new babies

FSAs can cover a huge range of baby care products, such as prenatal multivitamins, breast pumps and accessories, baby thermometers, nasal aspirators and much more.