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Health FSA-eligible items: OTC products (with and without a prescription)

Every year, millions of people abandon tax-free dollars in a Health FSA when funds go unused at the end of the year. Often, these are resources a household really can’t afford to lose, but what can you do? Well, you can stock up on Health FSA-eligible items like contact lenses, sunscreen, nasal spray, lip balm, eyedrops, first aid supplies, and so much more.

Stock up on Health FSA-eligible items

 A Health Flexible Spending Arrangement (Health FSA) is a Section 125 Cafeteria plan group health benefit that allows employees and employers to contribute funds that the employee (and dependents) can use to pay eligible medical expenses with tax-free dollars.  

Every year, millions of people abandon tax-free dollars in a Health FSA because the funds go unused. Often, these are resources a household really can’t afford to lose, but what can you do?

Well, you can stock up on Health FSA-eligible items like contact lenses, sunscreen, nasal spray, lip balm, eyedrops, first aid supplies, and so much more.

In fact, if people knew just how flexible a Health FSA is when it comes to what it can buy, very few of us would have a surrendered balance. That’s because good health isn’t only about prescriptions, co-pays, and deductibles, but wellness in general. And that means using those funds to make more general health purchases all through the year.

Which OTC products are Health FSA-eligible items?

Here’s a list of Health FSA-eligible items you can buy without a prescription:

  • Acne light therapy
  • Athletic and orthopedic braces and supports
  • Breast pumps and accessories
  • Blood glucose monitors and testing strips
  • Blood pressure monitors
  • Condoms
  • Contact lenses and supplies
  • Denture cream and cleansers
  • Eye drops
  • First aid supplies and kits
  • Glucosamine supplements
  • Hot and cold packs
  • Incontinence products
  • Lip balm
  • Motion sickness aids
  • Nasal spray
  • Pregnancy and fertility tests
  • Prenatal vitamins
  • Reading glasses
  • Shoe insoles and inserts
  • Sunscreens with SPF ratings of 15 and above
  • Thermometers
  • Vaporizers and inhalers
  • Walking aids and wheelchairs

 


NEW for 2020: CARES Act repeals “Medicine Cabinet Tax” on OTC reimbursements and expands items eligible for coverage

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) act removes the requirement for a physician’s prescription for many over-the-counter items eligible for Health FSA, HSA, and HRA coverage, while expanding the list of eligible items and providing safe harbor to HDHPs associated with an HSA to cover pre-deductible telehealth and other remote care services. Read, Coronavirus “CARES Act” restores OTC coverage for FSAs, HRAs, HSAs to learn more.

 

These Health FSA-eligible items are now also available without a prescription, thanks to the CARES act:

  • Acne medication and treatments
  • Antacids and acid reducers
  • Anti-arthritis medications
  • Antibacterial gels and ointments
  • Anti-diarrheal products and laxatives
  • Antihistamines and allergy prevention and treatment drugs
  • Anti-itch medications and creams
  • Cold and flu remedies
  • Decongestants
  • Diaper rash creams and ointments
  • Diapers and diaper services
  • Hemorrhoid treatments
  • Medical supplies
  • Medicated lotions and sunscreens
  • Medicated personal products
  • Menstrual products
  • Oral care products
  • Pain relievers, including menstral and migraine relief products
  • Sinus products
  • Sleep aids
  • Smoking cessation products
  • Sunscreens with SPF ratings below 15

Shopping for Health FSA-eligible items

As you can see from the lists, many of us use Health FSA-eligible items every day. So, you probably know where to buy them, but does that matter to your FSA plan?

Not at all. Shop for them at the drug store or grocery store; at major retailers like Target or Wal-Mart, or a locally-owned market or pharmacy. Just be sure to get a receipt that clearly shows what you purchase with the price you paid; then, keep the receipt in your records for the tax year.

FSA shopping online

And, of course, you can buy Health FSA-eligible items online.

Health FSAs have become so popular that major pharmacies like Walgreens and CVS have dedicated online FSA shops. You’ll also find the FSA Store which, as its name hints, deals solely with Health FSA-eligible items. Most recently, Amazon has entered the field for Health FSA-eligible items with its own specialty shop. All of these online stores make it easy to find what you need and keep a record of FSA purchases.

Paying for FSA-eligible purchases

There are two ways to pay for Health FSA-eligible items:

Benefits Debit Card

Most online vendors and many local brick-and-mortar stores accept benefit debit cards for Health FSA items. If you don’t already have one, ask your Health FSA administrator if your benefit plan offers this convenience.

Reimbursement Claim

When a store does not accept benefit debit cards, or if one is not available through your Health FSA plan, you will have to buy the item(s) with your own funds and then be reimbursed by your employer.

Submit a claim request using the form your employer provides for reimbursement. The form may be on paper or it could be through an online benefits portal.

Simply fill out the form and attach your (paper or scanned) receipt. Your repayment will arrive quickly, usually in fewer than 30 days. Be sure to keep a copy of all claim forms and receipts you submit.


Employers can enjoy online administration services, including a debit card for employees’ Health FSA purchases, for $10 or less per employee, per month, with CoreAdmin services.

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