Hear that? No, it isn't the distant sounds of jingle bells, ringing merrily for all to hear. It's the sound of the impending holidays and all that entails – a house full of family members, someone suggesting your deep-fry your holiday roast stringing up a tangled ball of lights on your roof, or Great Aunt Sally's excellent idea to gift the kids their very own set of permanent markers for the holidays.
Whether you're traveling or staying home, going to a big family gathering or keeping it small, the holidays don't only bring along a sleigh full of gifts. They can come with their very own set of aches and pains, even potential injuries. We put together a quick and easy holiday survival kit, complete with everything you need to survive the holidays in one piece – all FSA-eligible of course.
Stay healthy, stay active
We realize being active isn't hard to do this time of year -- but too much running around isn't good, either. And being sick during the holidays isn't fun for anyone. That's why you should do your part beforehand to avoid any holiday sniffles. Bone up on your medicine cabinet 101, from prenatal vitamins for expectant moms to other meds, like pain relievers and supplies for diabetes.
Don't go too far in the other direction, either. Staying active in the weeks leading up to the festivities is key, and easy to accomplish, just by taking long walks or runs, using insoles to keep you feeling pain-free when it's done. But, if you have a lingering knee or ankle injury, invest in an orthopedic brace to make regular exercise a bit more bearable.
Banish aches and pains
Every family has one: that lovely, yet extremely talkative family member who can chat for hours and hours on end, usually on a subject of their choosing. Despite your subtle attempts at escaping to the next room to score some pie, they just don't take the hint.
This scintillating conversation is usually followed by a stress headache. To be fair, whether it's brought on by the incessant chatting or the overindulgence of eggnog on your part, that's beside the point. Acetaminophen is a must-have in your FSA-eligible holiday toolkit (as long as you have an Rx). You could also try a calming acupuncture pillow and matching eye mask for pain relief once you're home, to help take the edge off.
Keep stress away
The holidays can bring about a plethora of potential stressors, whether it's from the pressure to overspend, holiday travel delays and inevitable hiccups, or complicated family dynamics at play.
Keep your stress level down with FSA-eligible acupuncture (with a letter from your doctor proving medical need, of course). Acupuncture has been known to reduce stress, but can also melt away tension in your neck and back, and can even help with digestive issues, which we all know are a common side effect of that big holiday meal.
(Fruitcake, am I right?)
Prepare for guests
If you're expecting visitors this year, be sure any elderly visitors are accommodated with FSA-eligible bathroom safety products. After all, the last thing anyone wants this holiday season is a late-night trip to the ER.
If children are a part of your household, other great items to have on hand during these hectic times are thermometers, children's cold and allergy relief, a nasal aspirator, and even band-aids. (Because kids love band-aids. It's science.)
Just don't tuck any of your FSA-eligible items into anyone's stockings, unless they're your dependents. It's a surefire way to earn a lump of coal from the IRS this season.
by Donna Crisalli, FSAstore.com Technical Advisor
To be reimbursable from an FSA or HSA, an expense must be for medical care. Some items or services may be for medical care or may be for personal use. To tell the difference, plan administrators often request a “letter of medical necessity," or LMN.
An expense is for medical care if the primary purpose for the expense is to treat, cure, mitigate, diagnose, or prevent a disease or illness, or to affect a structure or function of the body. Items and services that usually are personal, such as air conditioners, may be used for medical purposes, for example to reduce the symptoms of asthma. Other items and services, such as vitamins and exercise equipment, usually are used to maintain general good health, which is not medical care eligible for reimbursement, but may be used to treat or mitigate a disease, such as high blood pressure, osteoporosis, or obesity.
An item or service is reimbursable as medical care only if an individual's primary purpose for the expense fits within the definition of medical care. Because a plan administrator is unable to look into someone's mind, the plan administrator will look at certain objective facts and circumstances to determine an individual's purpose. These include:
(1) Has a doctor or other medical professional determined that the individual (or a qualifying family member) has a disease or illness?
(2) Has a medical professional recommended the item or service to treat, mitigate, etc., the medical condition?
(3) Is the item or service medically effective?
(4) How soon did the individual purchase the item or service after the diagnosis of the medical condition?
(5) Are there less expensive treatments?
These questions don't need to be asked if the item or service has no use other than medical care (for example, x-rays and other diagnostic tests, supplies and equipment such as bandages and wheelchairs). These facts are relevant only when an item has a non-medical use. They are guidelines for a plan administrator to determine if a personal use item is medical care, based on all the facts and circumstances of a particular case.
There is no set requirement that every one of the facts and circumstances is present in every case. However, it always will be necessary to determine that a medical condition is present and that the item or service is for the treatment or improvement of the medical condition. The letter of medical necessity provides the plan administrator with at least this information. (The term “letter of medical necessity" is misleading because there is no requirement that the treatment is necessary if it is for medical care. It is the shorthand plan administrators use for a letter from a health provider providing this basic information.)
However, a letter from a doctor or other health care practitioner stating that there is a medical condition and prescribing the item or service may not provide all the information a plan administrator may need. First, the medical use has to be the primary purpose for the expense. Second, the expense is not reimbursable if the individual would have purchased it anyway (would not have purchased it without the medical condition, a requirement called the “but for" test). The plan administrator may ask for information relating to some or all of the other facts and circumstances to determine if the medical use is the primary purpose for the expense and whether the “but for" test is satisfied.
Let's apply these rules to some concrete examples.
Jack's doctor diagnoses Jack with a heart condition. The doctor recommends light exercise, such as brisk walking, to lessen the symptoms and reduce the risk of a heart attack. The next day Jack buys a $500 pair of athletic shoes and begins walking a mile every day. Jack has never walked for exercise or owned athletic shoes. Jack has a medical condition that the shoes will help, he buys the shoes right away, and he has never owned this type of shoes before. Jack did not buy the cheapest shoes available, but the rest of the facts and circumstances show that his primary purpose in buying the shoes is to help his heart condition and he would not have bought them “but for" the medical condition. Jack may be reimbursed for the athletic shoes from his FSA.
Jill has high blood pressure. Her doctor suggests she buy a blood pressure monitor. Jill buys a smart watch, which has a blood pressure monitoring function. Jill owns a smart watch but was thinking about upgrading it. After buying the new watch, she does not have to buy another blood pressure monitor. Jill has been using a smart watch, planned to buy one before the doctor made the recommendation, and chose an expensive device with many other functions besides monitoring blood pressure. Although Jill may use the watch for a medical purpose, the facts and circumstances show that the medical function is not Jill's primary purpose in buying the watch and she would have bought it or a similar watch even if she did not have the medical condition. The smart watch is not eligible for reimbursement.
James has emphysema. His doctor recommends light exercise, but James also has severe arthritis and is unable to walk for exercise. He builds a simple lap pool in his yard and uses it only to swim laps, which he does most days. His family members also sometimes swim laps in the pool. James works long hours and lives in a remote area, and it is not convenient for him to go to a gym or other facility with a pool on a regular basis. James uses the pool for medical purposes, he built it only after receiving the doctor's advice, and he built the most basic pool for the purpose. There are reasons why he does not engage in another kind of exercise. Although his family members also sometimes use the pool, the facts and circumstances indicate that James's primary purpose in building the pool is to treat his emphysema and he would not have built the pool otherwise. James may use his HSA for the cost of the pool.
Jane has not had a medical condition and has been getting massage therapy once a month to reduce stress and improve her general good health. Jane's chiropractor diagnoses Jane with muscle strain from lifting a heavy object and suggests massage therapy might help the condition. At her next massage therapy appointment, Jane asks the therapist to focus on the strained muscles. Jane may have a medical purpose for this particular massage therapy appointment, but the facts and circumstances indicate that the medical purpose is not her primary purpose and she would have had the massage therapy even without the medical issue. Jane is not entitled to reimbursement for the massage therapy.
In each of these situations, a LMN would tell the plan administrator that there is a medical purpose for the athletic shoes, the smart watch, the swimming pool, and the massage therapy, which usually are personal and not medical expenses. The plan administrator would need to know more of the facts and circumstances, however, to determine whether the medical purpose is the primary purpose and if the “but for" test is satisfied. This additional information may be included in what the plan administrator calls a “letter of medical necessity" or the plan administrator may request it separately.
These rules may seem very complicated, but when the answer to the question “is this an expense for medical care" depends on the facts and circumstances, there is no simple answer that applies in every case.
Is gynecology an FSA eligible expense? What's covered by the FSA? Learn more in this blog post, and use your FSA for medical care.
Timelines and Numbers to get Right for a Gynecology visit:
Begin seeing a gynecologist at the age of 21, or earlier if you become sexually active.
After a first visit, women ages 21 to 29 should visit their gynecologist annually to get a Pap smear. A pap smear is a screening test for cervical cancer, eligible for reimbursement with a Flexible Spending Account.
Women ages of 30 to 64 should generally visit every other year.
In addition to regular checkups, you should seek a consultation or treatment for:
- Irregular periods
- Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- Vaginal infections.
- Contraceptive method
How to Prepare for a Gynecologist Exam
- Make appointments between menstrual periods as menstrual fluid can interfere with both examination and lab tests.
- Do not have intercourse or insert anything into the vagina 24 hours before the visit.
- Prepare a list of questions and concerns to ask your gynecologist, including any details regarding vaginal bleeding, discharge, odor, or pain.
- Your gynecologist will ask you question about your menstrual cycle, so it would be good to know the date of your last period and how long your periods typically last.
What to Expect at the Exam
- A nurse will first take down basic measurements not unlike a regular physical examination.
- Before the physical exam begins, your doctor may ask questions about your personal and family medical history, sexual history, contraceptive usage, general health and lifestyle, etc.
- For the physical exam, you will be asked undress in private and put on a paper or cloth gown given to you.
- You probably won't get an internal pelvic exam where the doctor looks inside your vagina. Instead, he or she will examine your outside genital area and your breasts. The doctor might press on different parts of your breast to feel for lumps indicative of breast cancer.
What medical expenses are covered by a Flexible Spending Account?
Your Flexible Spending Account (FSA) can cover a surprising range of medical treatments and could be a wise choice.
Here are a few treatments you may not have known are covered:
1. Chiropractic Care
While some insurance companies may view chiropractic care as an alternative method to treat sports injuries, chronic pain and other disorders, your FSA can certainly cover this type of care. Whether you decide to use a chiropractor as a complement or direct solution to a medical problem, your FSA will give you the freedom to choose which treatment method is the best course for your needs.
Studies in recent decades have shed light on the positive health benefits of acupuncture, as it is seen as a strong treatment option for arthritis and other chronic pain issues.
Acupuncture has been known to ease back aches, reduce anxiety, soothe
indigestion and even treat persistent headaches. These treatments are covered
by an FSA and typically not recognized as a conventional treatment by most
3. Massage Therapy
Massage therapy has been known
to treat sports injuries, joint pain, headaches, insomnia related to stress,
fibromyalgia and many other conditions. If your doctor provides you with a
Letter of Medical Necessity for a massage regime to treat and existing medical
condition, it will be covered by your FSA.
This is just scratching the surface of just how far your FSA can go to cover a huge range of medical
products, services and specialists. If you’re interested in learning more about your benefits, check out the Eligibility List and explore our huge range of FSA
eligible products to invest in the future health and wellness of your
A Flexible Spending Account (FSA) gives you the opportunity to pay for a variety of out-of-pocket medical expenses on a pre-tax basis. Dental care can certainly be a part of those expenses, but teeth whitening is not considered to be an FSA eligible expense.
Because it's considered cosmetic in nature, teeth whitening will not be reimbursed with your FSA. The IRS determines and qualifies something as “FSA eligible," including for medical services. If a service is deemed “medically necessary," you would be able to apply your FSA toward payment. In terms of dental care, a cleaning, root canal or a filling would be covered since these are seen as “medically necessary" procedures.
Other dental care that you can use your FSA for:
- Extractions and implants
- Caps and crowns
- Fluoride treatment
*Your FSAs will list specific guidelines about coverage for orthodontia. Check with your FSA administrator to discover what's covered.
Search our extensive FSAstore.com Eligibility List to learn about additional FSA eligible expenses. If you're ever unsure about eligibility, contact your FSA administrator (or your HR department) to find out what's covered under your FSA.
The New Year is a great start to kick off your health care resolutions. Maybe you're looking to get into better shape or want to keep tabs on your health in general.
You may have recently signed up for a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) during open enrollment. An FSA is an employer-sponsored benefit account thatlets you contribute pre-tax income toward health care.
After doing some preliminary research, or maybe relying on what you've heard, you could already be familiar with FSAs.
But, did you know which services are FSA eligible?
An FSA lets you pay for many different services. Alternative medicine such as chiropractic care is one such service that qualifies for FSA reimbursement.
A chiropractic visit, exam, or treatment would then be covered by an FSA as long as it's considered medically necessary. Transportation to and from the chiropractor (only in case of medical care) could also be considered eligible.
FSA Eligible Expense Qualifications
- The IRS makes an important distinction between services for medical necessity vs. services or products that benefit general health. A massage may not qualify with your FSA (depending on your plan) unless it is medically necessary, or if you doctor provides a letter of medical necessity.
- However, your FSA plan will outline very specifically (in the Summary Plan Description) which FSA-eligible expenses qualify – meaning which costs you will be reimbursed for. You can find general guidelines on FSA eligibility through the IRS via http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p502.pdf
If you have any doubts about which services or products are covered by your FSA, it's best to reach out to your FSA administrator. Eligible expenses can vary per plan, and per employer. If you're not sure how to find information about your FSA administrator, please consult your HR department instead.
FSAstore.com Offers Unique Level of Convenience for Customers Trying to Avoid Forfeiture of 2013 Flexible Spending Account Funds
Consumers with a 12/31 "Use it or Lose it" Deadline can Shop with 2013 Funds through Midnight PST; Customers Using an FSA Card - No Need to Submit a Receipt for Reimbursement
Dec. 30, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --FSAstore.com, the only e-commerce site exclusively focused on Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), is offering a unique level of convenience for those consumers with a 12/31 "Use it or Lose it" deadline. Each year, hundreds of millions of dollars are forfeited because consumers do not deplete the pre-tax funds available in their FSA account by their plan year deadline. FSAstore.com is one of the only places consumers with a 12/31 deadline can shop with confidence and use their 2013 funds until midnight PST on 12/31. There is no need to submit a receipt for reimbursement when you use your FSA card.
"While many online retailers do not allow FSA holders with a 12/31 deadline to use their FSA card beyond 12/29, FSAstore.com not only encourages use, but will provide additional support to ensure convenience and a seamless, high-quality experience," said CEO Jeremy Miller. FSAstore.com will be taking orders on Dec. 31 until 12:00 a.m., Pacific Time, with live chat and live phone support.
In addition to thousands of eligible products including eye care, baby care, first aid, and more, FSAstore.com customers also benefit from tools, information and services to help thembetter understand and use their FSAs.
More than 30 million Americans have pre-tax FSAs, which allow them to pay for health care services and medical products. Consumers risk forfeiting tax-free income by not depleting FSA funds or failing to submit expenses for FSA reimbursement by plan year deadlines. Recent surveys among FSAstore.com's benefit administrator partners and its customers indicate that the site is very effective in helping consumers to avoid forfeiture. Ninety one percent of benefits administrator respondents agreed FSAstore.com helps their participants to avoid forfeiture, and separately, 72 percent of consumer respondents said the site was "very helpful" in helping to reduce forfeiture.
For the last four years, FSAstore.com has been the only e-commerce site exclusively stocked with FSA eligible products - eliminating the guesswork behind what is reimbursable by an FSA. Consumers with Flexible Spending Accounts can access thousands of high quality FSA eligible products, in addition to FSA eligible services, and much-needed information through the FSA Learning Center. FSAstore.com accepts all FSA and major credit cards, offers 24/7 customer service, one-to-two-day turnaround for all orders, and free shipping on orders $50+. There is no need to submit receipts for products purchased with an FSA or HSA card.
Need to spend down your Flexible Spending Account?
The holidays are almost here. To enjoy this “most wonderful time of the year," it's also good to keep close tabs on your health. After all, no one wants to be sniffling and sneezing through a holiday dinner or experiencing any pain associated with colder weather.
FSA eligible expenses
Here's our short list of 5 FSA eligible expenses to keep you healthy this winter!
- Need a back adjustment? According to the American Chiropractic Association, half of all working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms annually. Chiropractors qualify as FSA eligible health care providers. You can shop for Hot and Cold Packs with your FSA at FSAstore.com to alleviate all types of pain.
- Wondering about your vision? When was the last time you had an eye exam? The American Optometric notes an eye exam is an important part of overall preventive health care. Use our FSA Eligible Services to find a local ophthalmologist, or shop for FSA eligible eye care at FSAstore.com. Glasses and contact lens care are FSA eligible as well.
- Battling a cold or the flu? Cold and flu medicines are FSA eligible. Because many of these items contain medicine, you will need a prescription to get FSA reimbursement. FSAstore.com has an Rx process through which you can submit prescriptions. Please note this process will be shutting down soon to ensure delivery of all items before year-end. If you're looking for quick relief from a stuffy nose, personal steam vaporizers and saline solution qualify for your FSA without a prescription. You can shop for these FSA eligible products at FSAstore.com.
- Protect your face in the colder temperatures with sunscreen. Did you know it's good to apply sunscreen to your face every day? Sunscreen with an SPF 15 is FSA eligible, and sun safety applies even when it's cloudy. Learn more in our blog post about baby sunscreen safety.
- Prevent foot pain. As you're busy shopping, running, or on your feet with wintry sports, your feet can start to feel sore. Protect your feet and provide long-lasting support with orthotics for your feet, heels and arches. Arch and insole supports, blister and corn treatments, and callous removers are FSA eligible (shop for these at FSAstore.com).
It’s almost time for the dreaded December 31st Flexible Spending Account (FSA) deadline. This time of the year is hectic enough as it is, so we’re giving you five suggestions to make spending down your FSA easy.
If you don’t have an FSA deadline coming up or if you just signed up for an FSA for the coming year, you might still be curious to learn about ways to apply your FSA throughout the year.
#1: Check Your Vision
Want to get new glasses? Need a vision checkup? Need to get new contacts or contact lens solution? Want information on LASIK?
Eye care is an FSA eligible expense. Schedule a visit with an ophthalmologist before the FSA year ends, or shop for FSA eligible eye care products at FSAstore.com.
#2: Get a Dental Cleaning
Dental care is FSA eligible. Apply your FSA toward a co-pay, deductible or coinsurance required for a dental exam, a cleaning or fluoride treatment, fillings and dental reconstruction; all qualify for FSA reimbursement. Orthodontia is also eligible, and some administrators even allow prepayment when required. If you’re planning to use your FSA for orthodontia, check with your FSA administrator to determine any restrictions they may have.
#3: Visit a Specialist
All types of health care providers are covered by an FSA. This ranges from dentists to pediatricians to ophthalmologists to chiropractors and acupuncturists. It might be good to schedule a visit with any of these specialty providers before your FSA plan year ends.
#4: Update Your First Aid Cabinet
It’s never a bad idea to update your first aid kit. If you’re planning holiday travel, are frequently on the road, or dropping kids off at soccer practice, band-aids, an on-the-go first aid kit and hot/cold packs go a long way to clear up any pain.
#5: Bundle Up
Our FSAstore.com bundles are FSA eligible care packages, designed for all of your medical needs. We have a large variety of bundles including Family Essentials, Pain Relief and Baby Care. These bundles are an effective way to spend down your FSA and save money.
It’s time to Think Pink.
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM). Each year, organizations such as the American Cancer Society and Susan G. Komen for the Cure focus on breast cancer awareness and early detection measures. National Breast Cancer Awareness Month has been around for more than 25 years. In 2013, the NBCAM.org anticipates 232,000 new breast cancer cases among women.
The NBCAM also emphasizes women’s breast health through education about mammograms.
A few tips via NationalBreastCancer.org:
It’s recommended that women perform self breast exams on a monthly basis. According to Johns Hopkins Medical Center, “Forty percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump, so establishing a regular breast self-exam is very important.”
By performing these self-exams, women will get to know their body well, and be able to detect any abnormal changes. Abnormalities could include lumps and skin changes. However, the Mayo Clinic notes that breast lumps don’t necessarily have to be cancerous. More information on worrisome symptoms can be found via the Mayo Clinic on breast lumps here.
If you are concerned after performing a self exam, it’s best to follow up with a health care provider for further evaluation.
Your Flexible Spending Account will also cover a visit to a health care provider for a mammogram. A mammogram is an x-ray that examines breast tissue. It looks for any abnormalities and can even detect lumps before they form.
Another way to reduce the risk of breast cancer involves a healthy, active lifestyle.
You can create your own free Early Detection Plan via earlydetectionplan.org.The National Cancer Institute reports, “When breast cancer is detected early, in the localized stage, the 5-year survival rate is 98%.”
Search for FSA Eligible Services and health care providers via FSAstore.com to schedule a visit.
Are you worried about your health care spending? You’re likely not the only one.
Though health care spending growth actually slowed in 2012, a report by the Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) shows that out-of-pocket spending increased to 4.8% - or about $768 per person. Out-of-pocket spending refers to co-pays, coinsurance, deductibles, and any other expense not covered by a person’s health plan.
Health care spending added up to approximately $4,701 per person in 2012 for those with employer-sponsored coverage, which was a $181 increase from 2011.
How Can I Save?
Your Flexible Spending Account (FSA) can play a big role in your health care savings. Not only do these pre-tax accounts save on taxes (income taxes and payroll taxes for Medicare and Social Security), but they also let you for pay for out-of-pocket expenses.
You can save up to 40% by using your FSA. Because they’re tax-free, you are increasing your spendable income.
2012 Quick Facts (from the HCCI report)
- Women spent more out-of-pocket ($883) than men ($647).
- Older adults (55-64 years old) spent the most out-of-pocket ($1,265).
- Demographics play a role. People in the Northeast contributed to higher spending ($4,868 per capita spending). Here’s a helpful article explaining how your location affects insurance costs.
- Out-of-pocket expenses predominantly went toward doctor visits and lab tests (43.4% of overall expenses did), and 25.9% went to outpatient care. Inpatient services increased 5.4% ($16,421 on average).
- Young adult (19-25) health care spending grew faster than any other age group, but young adults continue to have the lowest expenditures ($2,548 per person) as compared to older adults ($8,920).
What Services can my FSA cover?
Your FSA will let you visit various health care providers. Need an annual dental checkup or eye exam? Need a back adjustment with a chiropractor? Want to see a podiatrist, speech therapist or gynecologist? Your FSA will cover deductibles, co-pays and coinsurance at the next visit with your doctor or other specialists.
Find a health care provider near you through FSAstore.com’s FSA eligible services. Any service you receive must be medically necessary to qualify for FSA reimbursement.
FSA Eligible Products & Prescriptions
In addition to services, you can shop for medical products and supplies with your FSA. Everything from band-aids to shoe inserts to blood pressure monitors to contact lens care to breast pumps and thousands of items in between. Shop FSAstore.com for these and many more FSA eligible products!
Have any questions about your FSA? Let us know in the comments! Or, if you want to research your FSA, check out our Learning Center. We’ll keep you updated with the latest FSA and health reform developments right here on the blog!You can also get prescriptions refilled and use your FSA funds to cover them. Any over-the-counter medicines require a prescription to be FSA eligible.
FSA Q&A: Are Diabetic supplies eligible with a Flexible Spending Account?
Yes. Diabetic supplies qualify as medical expenses covered by a Flexible Spending Account. For instance, a blood sugar test kit and test strips would be covered as an FSA eligible expense.
FSAstore.com offers a variety of blood glucose testing supplies, insulin, diabetes nutritionals and more to monitor and treat diabetes. Though some FSA eligible products require a prescription for FSA reimbursement, insulin is excluded from the prescription requirement.
FSAstore.com offers a Diabetes bundle (left) and additional products under FSA eligible Diabetes Care.
A visit with an endocrinologist regarding Diabetes is covered with an FSA as well. Find a local endocrinologist through FSAstore.com FSA Eligible Services.
Diabetes Health Chat
The NYC Health Commissioner & Dr. Sanjay Gupta have discussed the prevalence of Diabetes, symptoms and prevention on Twitter.
Diabetes statistics, facts & tips:
You might be thinking, "How can I be sniffling, sneezing, and have watery eyes?"While these symptoms are not alarming, you should monitor your cold. Fever or fatigue are causes for alarm.
The common cold can occur when you least expect it - including in the summer time. Summer is a time for travel, which increases the chances of spreading a cold. We're also exposed to temperature differences as we enter air-conditioned spaces or go out into the heat. Air conditioning dries out nasal passages leading to higher odds of a summer cold.
Don't get stuck with a summer cold and try the following remedies to get relief!
Steps to get rid of a cold:
- Take over-the-counter FSA Eligible Cold & Allergy products. Warm steam vaporizers and saline spray are covered by a Flexible Spending Account. Certain over-the-counter medicines including cough drops, Tylenol and Mucinex do require a prescription for FSA reimbursement.
- Properly hydrate with water throughout the day.
- Increase your vitamin C instake.
- Ensure you get enough rest.
- It may seem counterintuitive given the heat, but a bowl of chicken soup is always comforting.
Check out more detailed information via the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention here.
If symptoms persist or get worse, schedule a visit with a health care provider as soon as possible. FSAstore.com offers an FSA Eligible Services section through which you can find and contact local health providers.
A Flexible Spending Account is versatile in that it covers visits to different medical providers depending on your needs. You can visit common specialists (general practitioners, dentists), but also more alternative providers (acupuncturists, natural healers, chiropractors, and Christian Science practitioners) that are often not covered by your regular insurance policy. Co-pays and deductibles towards these services count as qualified FSA eligible expenses.
Going to the dentist can be outright dreadful - especially if cavities are a recurring problem - but regular cleanings are good preventive measures for gum disease or other issues. Luckily, your FSA can cover those visits to the dentist - just remember that the procedure must be medically necessary! Cosmetic procedures, such as teeth whitening, are not an FSA eligible expense.
- What's covered? Any type of preventive treatment (cleanings, sealants, fluoride treatments, filings, dental reconstruction, bridges, dentures, occlusal guards for teeth grinding prevention, and braces*).
*Some Flexible Spending Accounts do not reimburse you for the full payment of braces if some of the payments go to future services. Check in with your FSA provider about this coverage.
2. Family practice/General practice
If you prefer visiting a trusted family physician you've been seeing for years, then you're in luck. Medical services provided by a physician (family practice/general practice) are reimbursable under a FSA.
- What's covered? Co-pays/deductibles, physicals, exams/screenings, check-ups, and immunizations.
3. Vision Care
Vision care is an important part of general health and is covered under an FSA as well! Detecting vision problems at an early stage could help you take the appropriate corrective measures by getting glasses, contacts, or even scheduling laser eye surgery.
- What's covered? Eye exams, eye glasses, vision correction procedures such as Lasik eye surgery, eye medications (require a prescription) and over-the-counter eye products are FSA eligible.
Good skin care is a must throughout the year. Your skin endures a lot during changing seasons. Dermatologists are FSA eligible service providers as long as the procedures you're having are medical.
- What's covered? Acid peels, facials, face lifts, and laser hair removal are not FSA eligible expenses. Acne treatments (ask your FSA benefits provider if this is covered for your specific plan) and acne medications are reimbursable. Acne medications do require a prescription for your FSA.
Find a specialist near you via our FSA Eligible Services to schedule your yearly checkup!