That's Eligible?! 3 FSA-eligible ways to improve home air quality

"Air pollution" is typically associated with large, industrial cities, but the truth is the air in your home might be even more polluted than outdoors. According to a recent report by the Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air pollution is a top environmental concern and can have serious health implications. Taking steps to control the air quality in your home can ultimately reduce your risk of related health concerns.

Luckily, there are some simple solutions that can improve at-home air quality. The best part? The following options just might be FSA-eligible, and worth investigating if your medical needs meet the requirements. In other words, you may be able to decrease air pollution in your home and save money. It's the ultimate win-win.

Air purifiers

Air purifiers work to decrease contaminants in a room, and they're especially beneficial for people with allergies or asthma. However, air purifiers also help to increase air quality, decrease pet dander and heal skin irritations. The stronger types of air purifiers are standalone purifiers and those that connect to larger air conditioning units.

Depending on your needs you may want to select a purifier that's designed to handle the specific source of your air quality concern. Whether that's pet dander, smoke, pollen, or even cooking odors. But always remember, the primary requirement for a good air filter is a high "Clean Air Delivery Rate."

Verdict: FSA-eligible with a letter of medical necessity from your doctor or healthcare provider. Note: Not all administrators will allow for this and it depends on your medical condition.

Air conditioners

One of the best ways to improve air quality in your home is by controlling the moisture. Here's how it works—mites and mold thrive in dark, damp places, so if you have a bathroom or basement that isn't properly ventilated, there's a good chance that the moisture in those rooms are negatively affecting your air quality.

Air conditioners with clean filters can help your house stay dry and properly ventilated throughout the entire year. For people who live in warmer climates, air conditioning units can help ensure you keep your windows closed during the heat.

Open windows allow pollen and other allergens to enter your home and harm the air quality. If you're looking to add central air conditioning, it's important to note this: Only the amount spent above the value added to the house is eligible for a reimbursement claim through your FSA.

Verdict: FSA-eligible with a letter of medical necessity from your doctor or healthcare provider.

Air filters

One of the most important things you can do to improve air quality in your home is to regularly change your air filters. If you don't have pets, you should change your air filter every 90 days. If you have one pet, the filter should be changed every 60 days. If you have more than one pet or struggle with allergies, the air filter should be changed every 30 days.

Another way to improve the air quality in your home is with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters. These filters have a special mesh that traps mites, dust, and other particulars that can make it difficult to breathe properly.

Verdict: FSA-eligible with a letter of medical necessity from your doctor or healthcare provider.

If you plan to use your FSA to pay for the products above, we recommend that you check with your FSA administrator first to see what they'll allow, and what paperwork is required to make it happen.


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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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

For everything you need to keep you and your loved ones healthy, rely on FSAstore.com! We have the web's largest selection of FSA eligible products to help you maximize the potential of your healthcare benefits.

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