An FSA-Eligible Expense
Sunscreen is among the most popular sun care products you can purchase with a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), but even hyper-vigilant sunscreen users can be caught out in the sun for too long from time to time and sunburn is the inevitable result.
No matter what the severity of your sunburn may be, knowing how to treat it effectively with a series of over-the-counter (OTC) products and pain relief medications to help you bounce back as quickly as possible. When you or a loved one's skin begins to showcase that well-done lobster look after a day in the sun, these ideas are a great place to get started.
1. Moisturize and medicate
According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, time is of the essence when treating sunburns and symptoms will only get worse if they go untreated. Start by treating the skin with lotion that contains beneficial vitamins C and E,
Use an FSA eligible OTC medicine (when prescribed by your doctor) such as ibuprofen to limit the pain and swelling that comes with sunburn.
3. Aloe Vera treatments
An FSA eligible OTC product, aloe provides relief from heat and itching, and can also cool the skin naturally to begin the healing process. Check out Gold Bond's Ultimate Healing Skin Therapy Lotion with Aloe. This item requires a prescription to be reimbursed with an FSA. Easily submit your prescription to FSAstore.com and we can help you get reimbursed!
4. Provide cooling relief
Cold therapy with FSA eligible cold packs could offer some much-needed relief from sunburn as well.
5. Shop for sunscreen with your FSA
Avoid sunburn through optimal skin protection before you step outside. Make sure to bring plenty of sunscreen, re-apply every few hours if you're near water or perspiring, and take special care of kids as well. Check out our Healthy Skin Sun Care Bundle.
6. Drink plenty of water (it's not FSA eligible, but it's a must!)
Burns by nature will draw liquid away from the rest of the body and onto the affected area, which can raise the risk of dehydration. If you experience sunburn, consume extra water, sports drinks and juices in the days that follow, as well as being mindful of the symptoms of dehydration.
There's a long summer ahead, and you don't want to miss out on the fun because you can't go back out into the sun! Be sure to visit FSAstore.com to purchase sun care essentials like pain relief medications, sunscreen, cold packs and everything you'll need to prevent and treat sunburns all summer long.
FSA-Eligible Expense Question of the Week
Summer is around the corner (officially here as of June 21, in case you were counting down...), and many people are focused on getting their bodies ready for the beach. Perhaps you just started a new workout routine, too, or maybe you've been training for a while. If you've been working out at a gym, you may have overheard other gym-goers talking about having a protein shake after their workouts.
While protein shakes act as nutritional supplements, unfortunately you cannot use your Flexible Spending Account (FSA) towards these. We get many questions about FSA eligibility at FSA Store, as people often wonder why protein powder is not seen as something that would be considered an FSA eligible expense.
What's FSA eligible?
The IRS officially determines FSA eligibility, and does not recognize nutritional supplements, herbal supplements or even multivitamins as eligible medical expenses. So, you would not get reimbursed for these items with your flex spending account. However, there is an exception to this rule: if you have a Letter of Medical Necessity provided by your physician indicating that you need nutritional supplements for the treatment of a medical condition. Vitamins and nutritional supplements (protein powder included) are generally considered to be items you would take to maintain health, rather than for medical care.
Even though protein powder isn't an FSA eligible expense, there are other eligible items that can help you during and after your next workout!
Consider this list of FSA eligible products:
- Knee and ankle braces
- Elastics and bandages
- Hot and cold packs for sore muscles
- Advil, ibuprofen and other over-the-counter medicines.* You would need to obtain a prescription for these items (for FSA reimbursement), so make sure to ask your doctor at your next visit.
Start your workout with these FSA eligible products!
Often seen as alternative medicine, acupuncture comes from a Chinese form of medicine that is supposed to help the body “unblock” and influence your chi (energy flow) to restore a natural balance.
You might be surprised to learn that acupuncture is considered an eligible expense for reimbursement with a Flexible Spending Account (FSA). Flexible Spending Accounts allow consumers to set aside pre-tax money for qualified out-of-pocket dental, vision and medical expenses. Acupuncture is often not covered by regular health insurance plans, so if you’re curious about this type of treatment or want to schedule your next appointment, take advantage of your FSA.
As a New York Times article advises, “Even if your insurer will not reimburse you, your flexible spending account might – if you have one. Using flex-spending dollars to pay for treatments can reduce the cost by 20 percent of so, depending on your tax bracket. Look on your employer’s list of approved expenses to see whether acupuncture is included.”
According to WebMD, acupuncture can be used to alleviate different kinds of pain.
Here’s a short list of items that acupuncture can treat:
- Lower back pain
- Chronic headaches (migraines)
- Menstrual cramps
- Rehabilitation for stroke
- Myofascial pain
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Asthma/Allergy relief
Did you know hot/cold therapy packs are also FSA eligible? Hot and cold packs can alleviate all types of pain (that acupuncture targets) as well, and are handy to have around home, or take with you when traveling. Check out the FSAstore.com selection of FSA eligible hot/cold packs.
You can also browse the FSAstore.com Eligibility List to learn more about FSA eligible expenses. If ever confused about eligibility, it’s best to consult your FSA administrator (or contact your HR department at work) to find out what’s covered under your FSA.
Can an FSA cover the costs of special education?
According to the last U.S. census, nearly 1 in 12 children in the U.S., or about five million individuals, have some form of physical or mental disability. For the parents of these children, this means a long list of extra expenses, including special education, developmental services and experimental treatments, the cost of which can add up significantly over time.
Whether a child is diagnosed with a physical or mental disability early or later in life, the very nature of these expenses makes them eligible for use with a Flexible Spending Account (FSA). IRS regulations state that medical deductions can only be claimed if they are used for a legitimate medical purpose. Because the vast majority of special education programs combine some form of medical assistance with a traditional education, they are certainly applicable for FSA expenditure. While many of these FSA eligible expenses are clear-cut, there are some facets of special education where the lines begin to blur.
What special assistance is applicable with FSAs?
While the very nature of special education is tax deductible and applicable with FSAs, parents will need to prove that this instruction is being provided specifically for treatment of a medical condition.
Some examples of this are:
- Teaching Braille to a visually impaired individual,
- Lip reading lessons to the hearing impaired,
- Language training to individuals with birth defects and many other forms of assistance that are needed to combat specific disabilities.
- Additionally, most expenses will be eligible with FSAs if they are suggested by a physician to help treat and alleviate a specific disorder.
- Parents can also utilize FSAs to cover some medical travel and transportation costs, home modifications and at-home care from trained professionals.
Are there any restrictions?
With the rollout of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act(PPACA), parents of children with special needs should be aware that FSA funds are now capped at $2,500 annually for single individuals, and up to $5,000 for couples who both have FSA accounts. With this cap in place, parents know exactly how large of a budget they have to work with when aiming to cover these expenses.
The status of a school being regarded as “special” has been a bone of contention between parents and the IRS in the past, but IRS regulations state that the cost of deductible medical care includes, “the cost of meals and lodging, if supplied, and the cost of ordinary education furnished which is incidental to the special services furnished by the school” [Reg1.213- 1(e)(1)(v)]. If a child is attending a public or private school that is not geared toward treating children with special needs, but a child will receive special services related to his or her disability, these expenses may be able to be written off as well.
Understanding exactly how you can use your FSA to cover medical expenses for all members of your family is difficult enough, so make the process easier with FSAstore.com. Our extensive Learning Center and Eligibility List will give you all the information necessary to make an informed decision about your next FSA eligible expense.
A Flexible Spending Account pays for many types of out-of-pocket health care costs, including Lasik. Also, an FSA can be applied to co-pays at the doctor's office, specialty medical services such as acupuncture, and thousands of medical products and supplies found at FSAstore.com.
An FSA covers eye care – eyeglasses, contact lenses, contact lens solution, and yearly eye exams. The IRS approves laser eye surgery to treat vision problems including through LASIK (laser eye surgery). FSA Eye Care
Have any questions about other FSA eligible expenses? Comment below and we'll be sure to include your question in an upcoming blog post.
Top 5 FSAstore.com solutions to help you manage and understand your FSA:
1. We only sell FSA eligible products. While these items are often also available at your local drugstore, our site reduces the confusion about eligibility because everything is clearly labeled. A red checkmark means the item is readily available; the blue Rx logo means the item requires a prescription for FSA reimbursement. At a drugstore it might be difficult to tell which items are eligible, and not all drugstores accept an FSA card to help process expenses for FSA reimbursement. Not to mention…by shopping online you avoid the hassle of traveling to the drugstore.
2. We give access to FSA eligible services through a searchable database of health care providers. Everything from psychiatrists to chiropractors to ophthalmologists and dentists! Did you know LASIK is an FSA eligible expense?
3. Our free tools help FSA holders better understand their plan:
- An FSA Calculator helps estimate expenses during open enrollment.
- An FSA Learning Center provides valuable information about the FSA plan.
- An FSA Eligibility List lets you browse eligible products
- An FSA Rx process lets you submit prescriptions and we can help process these for you
- A new FSA tracker lets customers opt in for FSA deadline reminders to avoid forfeiting funds.
4. You can effectively save up to 40% at FSAstore.com by using your pre-tax money. Enjoy additional savings through our exclusive deals with the convenience of shopping from home!
5. We accept FSA debit cards and all major credit cards. FSA funds are automatically deducted from your FSA card, so you won't need to submit paperwork!
Though people debated their use, the IRS ruled in 2011 that breast pumps and accessories would become an FSA eligible product. The reasoning behind it is because breast pumps are applied for medical care (assisting lactation).
Early hand-operated breast pumps have paved the way for electric pumps reflecting the needs of modern, on-the-go moms. Curious about which breast pump accessories are covered by an FSA?
FSA eligible breastfeeding accessories include:
- The breast pump itself (cost or rental fee).
- Breast pump parts.
- Accessories such as storage bottles, storage bags, gel pads, nursing pads, nipple shields, conversion kits, areola stimulator, car adapter.
FSAstore.com offers FSA eligible breast pumps & accessories from companies including Medela and Ameda (options below).
1 Pump in Style Advanced, On the Go Tote Breastpump
30 Disposable Bra Pads
2 oz tube of TenderCare Lanolin
5 Quick Clean Bags
24 Quick Clean Wipes
20 Pump and Save Breastmilk Bags
1 Medela Breastfeeding Resource Guide + 1 Medela Breastmilk Storage Guidelines Magnet
Dual Hygienic Kit
AC power adapter cotton breast pads
Milk storage guide magnet
Manual pump adapter handle
Cool 'N Carry Tote cooling elements
Instructions 4-ounce bottles with tops
Do weight-loss programs qualify for Flexible Spending Account Reimbursement?
A: It depends on the individual plan. Maintaining a healthy weight obviously has major benefits. Exercise is important whether you want to stay fit for yourself or for your family, simply want to lower your risk for certain diseases, or to have more energy during the day.
While a health care Flexible Spending Account supports qualified health care services, weight-loss programs are not always eligible across the board. Some FSA plan administrators allow for the plans as long as they adhere to strict medical necessity guidelines, whereas others do not think the plans qualify at all.
Qualifications for Reimbursement
Under IRS guidance, weight-loss programs qualify for FSA reimbursement only if they are recommended by a physician for the treatment of specific medical conditions - diabetes, heart disease or obesity, for example. FSA administrators require a letter of medical necessity from the physician describing the need for the program and outlining treatment options.
1. If the goal of weight loss solely focuses on general health or improving your appearance, it does not qualify for FSA reimbursement. Health club dues or a gym membership would also not qualify.
2. Diet foods do not count towards reimbursement either as these are only a substitute for normally-qualifying nutrition.
Coughing, sniffling, sneezing, and itching eyes. When you experience these symptoms, you know allergy season is here.
The 2013 allergy season is looking slightly more severe based on recent news reports. Predictions forecast a longer season for allergy sufferers to deal with.
According to WebMD*:
- One in five Americans suffer from allergy or asthma symptoms.
- Allergies cost the U.S. health care system and businesses about $7.9 billion a year, as one estimate suggests.*
- Global warming could be a contributing factor to a longer ragweed pollen season, which has increased by four weeks in the past 10-15 years.
Sometimes it is difficult to tell your allergy symptoms apart from a cold
Flex Spending Allergy Relief
Luckily, there are ways to alleviate allergy symptoms with your FSA. FSA-eligible allergy and immunology procedures at the allergist office such as allergy tests are an FSA eligible expense.
As far as eligible products go, you have a few options. A number of allergy relief products are eligible without a prescription, whereas others require a prescription to be reimbursed under your flex spending account. Check them out at FSAstore.com!
As the seasons change, you feel the effects on your skin. A prolonged winter leaves your skin dry, while warmer temperatures ask for sun protection. Good skin care involves maintaining a healthy complexion (which is strongly influenced by proper nutrition and exercise), taking care of imperfections, protecting yourself against harmful UV rays, and even fighting acne and itchy skin.
With your Flexible Spending Account:
1. Visit a dermatologist since it is an FSA-eligible expense. Treatment must be medically necessary to qualify for your FSA.
- Acne treatment at the dermatologist office is covered by your FSA.
- Treatments not covered include acid peels, laser hair removal, and face lifts.
- Botox can be covered if used to treat a medical condition. Check in with your FSA provider if your plan allows it.
Find a dermatologist near you through FSAstore.com Services.
2. Treat your skin with acne medications that are available with a prescription.
3. Soak up the sun with FSA-eligible sunscreen. The arrival of spring and warmer temperatures mean it's even more important to adequately protect your skin.
Bare Republic Mineral SPF 30 Sunscreen Spray
This spray offers a layer of physical protection enhanced with antioxidant-rich skincare boosters.
Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Treatment Mask
Harness the power of clinically proven technology to clear acne and allow skin to heal itself.