You’ve heard all about the wonders of Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) and how they can save you money. But only if you actually need the items you’re purchasing, right? If you seldom go to the doctor and don’t take prescriptions regularly, you might think your FSA contributions would go to waste.
We’re here to tell you that everyone can find something they need on the list of common FSA eligible items. You can use your contributions to pay for the products and services you commonly need to keep your family healthy.
The 3 Most Common Types of FSAs
There are three major types of FSAs:
Each type of FSA serves a specific purpose. As such, they have their own list of eligible items for which you can use your contributions.
Healthcare FSA (HCFSA)
You can use contributions to your Healthcare FSA (HCFSA) for out-of-pocket medical expenses. These include things like deductibles and copays. You can also buy common everyday items like sunscreen and bandaids with your HCFSA. For a more comprehensive list, see the Common HCFSA Eligible Items section below.
Dependent Care FSA (DCFSA)
The Dependent Care FSA (DCFSA) works to help full-time caregivers pay for day time child and adult care so they can earn money. The child or adult who is receiving care must live with the caregiver the majority of the time. They cannot be able to take care of themself on their own. That means they are either under the age of 13 or disabled.
The person providing care must not be a member of the family. This means you cannot pay teenage children to watch younger siblings with your DCFSA. They must also be willing and able to provide a social security number or tax ID number. This ensures the person using a DCFSA can reimburse their expenses correctly.
This type of FSA allows you to also contribute to an HSA.
Limited Purpose FSA (LPFSA)
You can use funds from a Limited Purpose FSA (LPFSA) only for dental and vision-related expenses. But this type of FSA does not bar you from also contributing to an HSA.
Common Healthcare FSA Eligible Items
The Health Care FSA has the broadest list of eligible items, some of which might surprise you. While not a comprehensive list, this gives you an idea of how many different types of items and services are available.
Eligible HCFSA Health Insurance Costs
- Coinsurance costs
Eligible HCFSA Products
- First aid kits
- Over-the-counter medicine with a prescription (insulin doesn’t need a prescription)
- Out-of-pocket prescription drug costs
- Birth control (e.g pill, IUD, condoms, patch, ring, spermicide)
- Braces (for joints not teeth)
- Breastfeeding supplies (pump, pump bustier, breastmilk storage bags, absorbent breast pads)
- Baby monitor
- Baby formula (with a letter of medical need)
- Diaper rash cream (with a letter of medical need)
- Hearing aids
- Batteries to power a medical device (like a hearing aid)
- Hypoallergenic pillow and mattress covers (with a letter of medical need)
- Air conditioning (with a letter of medical need)
- Air filter (with a letter of medical need)
- Denture adhesive
- Acne treatments
- Acupressure tools (e.g. mats and bands)
- Compression socks and gloves
- Menstrual care products
- Anything else you can find on our partner, FSA Store.
Eligible HCFSA Services
- Alternative medicine (Homeopathy, Naturopathy, Reiki, Chinese Medicine, Chiropractor, Acupuncture)
- Gym membership and personal trainer if you have diabetes or extreme obesity (need a letter of medical necessity)
- Infertility treatment like IUI and IVF
- Speech therapy
- Inpatient alcohol treatment
- AA meetings
- Physical therapy
Misellaneous Eligible HCFSA Items
- Parking for your doctor’s office
- Transportation to see a doctor, specialist, receive treatment, or attend an AA meeting
- Airfare to visit an out-of-town doctor (you’ll need to provide the proper documentation to prove the travel wasn’t for personal use)
- Halfway house if leaving an inpatient addiction treatment facility
Common Dependent Care FSA Eligible Items
A Dependent Care FSA (DCFSA) helps you save for child and adult daycare costs that allow you to work. As such, eligible items focus around daycare. If you use your child or adult care for personal engagements it is not considered an eligible expense.
Here is a list of the common eligible DCFSA items:
- Babysitter (for work)
- Au pair
- Child daycare
- After-school care or program
- Summer day camp (no overnight camps)
- Adult day care programs
- Daytime caretaker for a disabled adult or child over the age of 13
Common Limited Purpose FSA Eligible Items
Limited-Purpose FSA contributions focus on dental and vision care related supplies and services. Since you can buy a minimal set of items, this type of FSA allows you to also contribute to an HSA.
Eligible LPFSA Health Insurance Costs
Eligible LPFSA Products
- Braille books and magazines
- Glasses and contact lenses
- Contact solution
- Denture care
- Guards for teeth grinding
Eligible LPFSA Services
- LASIK surgery
- Laser eye surgery
- Vision exam
- Optometrist/Ophthalmologist fees
- Guide dog
- Dental exam
- Fluoride treatments
- Dental sealants
- Dental veneers (with a letter of medical necessity)
- Orthodontics (e.g. braces for teeth)
- X-ray fees
Miscellaneous Eligible LPFSA Items
- Transportation and parking expenses necessary to receive care
Submitting an FSA Reimbursement
There are two main ways you can access your FSA funds:
- Your FSA provider gives you a debit card to use at the point-of-purchase.
- You pay for the expense out-of-pocket, and your FSA reimburses you later.
It's more common to see a healthcare FSA have a debit card, as there are a lot more uses for those funds. Dependent Care FSAs are more likely to require more detailed receipts, as daycare is a much more specific need than healthcare.
There are many FSA-eligible items that you can buy to keep you and your family safe and healthy. This list is not exhaustive either. The IRS can change the list of eligible expenses at any time. If you're curious if a specific item is eligible under your FSA, contact your HR Department or FSA administrator.
Disclaimer: the content presented in this article are for informational purposes only, and is not, and must not be considered tax, investment, legal, accounting or financial planning advice, nor a recommendation as to a specific course of action. Investors should consult all available information, including fund prospectuses, and consult with appropriate tax, investment, accounting, legal, and accounting professionals, as appropriate, before making any investment or utilizing any financial planning strategy.