Every year, 50 million Americans wrestle with seasonal allergies. If you struggle with flu-like symptoms—itchy eyes, congestion, and non-stop sneezing—you know how tough the spring and summer months can be. Over-the-counter drugs can help, but sometimes these remedies aren’t enough. As you compare options, you may notice the hefty price tag. Luckily, your health savings account (HSA) or flexible spending account (FSA) may offer some savings to your allergy relief.
How to save money with an HSA or FSA
Health savings accounts and flexible spending accounts offer unique tax-savings features. You can contribute money from your paycheck before taxes. Then you can spend the money on qualified medical expenses—including allergy products. There is no deadline to spend the money in your health savings account. But you will need to check your plan documents for your company’s flexible spending account rules.
What to know about HSA and FSA reimbursements
Unfortunately, many over-the-counter allergy products are expensive. But it may be possible to tap your health savings account or flexible savings account to cover the cost. Some allergy products may need a Letter of Medical Necessity from your physician, so be sure to discuss this with your doctor.
Ask your health savings account or flexible spending account administrator if there’s a form to expedite the process. Your Letter of Medical Necessity should be as specific as possible. Make sure your physician includes details about your condition and the plan for treatment. You also need to save receipts for any type of health savings account or flexible spending account reimbursement.
If you’re looking for a specialty item, you can reimburse yourself for the extra cost—compared with a regular-priced item. The purpose of buying the specialty item must be for the cure, diagnosis, mitigation, or treatment of a disease.
Which allergy products qualify for HSA and FSA reimbursement
Depending on the severity of your allergies, you have several treatment options—many of which may qualify for reimbursement through your health savings account or flexible spending account.
Over-the-counter drug options
- Antihistamines - If you’re struggling with symptoms like congestion, itching, sneezing, or watery eyes, oral antihistamines may help. Antihistamines may qualify for reimbursement with a prescription.
- Cromolyn sodium nasal spray - This nasal spray may ease allergy symptoms if you use it before the symptoms begin. Nasal sprays may also be eligible for reimbursement with a prescription.
- Decongestants - If you’re experiencing nasal congestion, decongestants may offer temporary relief from your symptoms. Decongestants may qualify for reimbursement with a prescription.
- Combination allergy strategy - When you’re suffering from multiple symptoms, you may consider medication with both antihistamines and decongestants. Some examples include brand-name drugs Claritin-D and Allegra-D.
- Allergy testing and shots - If you don’t have luck with over-the-counter remedies, your doctor may recommend allergy testing or allergy shots. The testing may determine what is causing the problem. Your doctor may suggest allergy shots, which may improve your immune system’s response to allergens over time. Both options may be eligible for reimbursement from your health savings account or flexible spending account.
- Acupuncture - There is some evidence acupuncture may relieve seasonal allergy symptoms—without negative side effects. It may be possible to get reimbursed with a Letter of Medical Necessity.
Be proactive with allergies
As tempting as it may be to try and push through seasonal allergies, being proactive may pay off. Whether you need to stock up on over-the-counter drugs or pay for allergy shots, you can save money by using your health savings account or flexible spending account.
If your company contributes money to your health savings account or flexible spending account, try to budget for your family’s seasonal allergy treatment every year. It may be a relief to enjoy the change of seasons—without the discomfort of allergy symptoms.
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.