No, you can’t use your Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA) for straight food purchases like meat, produce and dairy. But you can use them for some nutrition-related products and services.
To review, tax-advantaged accounts have regulatory restrictions on eligible products and services. The products and services must have a medical purpose, defined by the IRS as “the costs of diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, and the costs for treatments affecting any part or function of the body.” Furthermore, the purpose of the expense must be to relieve or prevent a physical or mental defect or illness.
When nutritional products and services are a medical necessity or help relieve certain medical conditions, they may be considered eligible. Here are some examples.
Eligible Nutrition Expenses
With a Letter of Medical Necessity (LMN), you can be reimbursed for the services of a licensed nutritionist. Nutritionists are experts in food and nutrition. They help clients set up meal plans and choose the right foods to eat. They may also provide advice on the health effects of certain foods.
“Nutritional supplements” is a broad term encompassing both meal replacements and special foods with ingredients that enhance the food’s nutritional value. In most cases you will need to provide a Letter of Medical Necessity with your claims for FSA/HSA reimbursement.
Dehydration not only makes you feel bad, it can prevent you from properly digesting food and potentially hinder vitamin and nutrient absorption. This is especially harmful for young children. Many over-the-counter (OTC) products that help replace fluids and electrolytes in adults and children experiencing gastrointestinal problems are an eligible expense.
Digestive aids include treatments for indigestion, heartburn, lactose intolerance, constipation, diarrhea, and related ailments. OTC items such as antacids, laxatives, and anti-diarrhea medicines are all eligible for purchase or reimbursement from FSA or HSA funds.
OTC prenatal vitamins are an eligible expense and do not require a prescription or letter of medical necessity for reimbursemetn.
Infant Nutritional Needs
If your baby cannot be fed with regular formula, you may have to use alternative formulas that address special medical conditions. In many cases, the cost difference between regular formula and the special formula is an eligible expense. However, you may need a letter of medical necessity to get reimbursement approval.
These are just some examples of nutrition-related products and services that can qualify as an eligible expense for FSA/HSA plans. If you still have questions, call or email DataPath Administrative Services customer services – and remember, always keep your receipts!