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)
Rehabilitation for stroke
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
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.
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
What do breast augmentation, liposuction, tummy tucks, rhinoplasty and eyelid surgery have in common? They are the top five cosmetic surgery procedures among women. And, did you know that almost 1 million cosmetic procedures were performed on men in 2012?
Cosmetic surgery is more popular than you might realize. According to surgery.org in 2012, $11 billion went into total plastic surgery procedures - $6.7 million on surgical procedures and $4.2 million on nonsurgical procedures. Well-known TV shows such as Nip/Tuck accentuate people’s desires to look good (even if the show admittedly has a twisted plot).
FSA Guidelines on Cosmetic Surgery
Because plastic surgery is often not medically necessary, it is not considered an FSA eligible expense. Any changes to appearance without a valid medical reason are therefore not reimbursable.
Does that mean cosmetic surgery is never covered?
No, it depends on the circumstances. As this IRS 2012 Publication shows, cosmetic surgery is eligible if it’s performed to treat a birth defect, a disfiguring disease, or to treat trauma.
For example, breast reconstruction after a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery on the face would be covered.
The following procedures do not qualify as FSA eligible under any circumstance:
- nonsurgical procedures such as hair transplants, hair removal, microdermabrasion, and chemical peels.
- surgical procedures including liposuction, breast augmentation, face lifts, and tummy tucks.