Are Your Employees Getting the Most out of Their Medical FSAs?


Most participants in a medical flexible spending account (FSA) are familiar with common eligible expenses: deductibles, doctor and prescription co-payments, dental and vision care, and chiropractic services.  However, there are less common products and services that are also legitimate FSA expenses:

  • Auto adaptation expenses – hand steering controls and other special equipment needed for disabled persons to drive, including the difference between the cost of a regular car and one designed to hold a wheelchair.
  • Braille reading material – the difference between the purchase price of a regular printed edition and the higher cost of a Braille edition for a visually impaired person.
  • Lead-based paint removal – lead-based paint removal if it prevents a child who has or has had lead poisoning from eating the paint; the surfaces have peeling, cracking, or flaking paint; and the child can easily reach the paint (costs for repainting the scraped area do not qualify)
  • Service animals – costs of buying, training, and maintaining a service animal used to assist people with visual, hearing, or other physical disabilities, including food, grooming, and veterinary expenses to keep the animal healthy and able to perform its duties
  • Special telephone equipment – special equipment for a hearing- or speech-impaired person to communicate using a telephone, including repair costs required to keep the equipment in good working order
  • Smoking-cessation programs – a stop-smoking program, but not any over-the-counter treatments unless they are prescribed by a physician
  • Television closed captioning – an external adapter to add this visual feature to an older set, and the difference between the cost of a specially equipped set and that of the same model that does not offer closed captioning
  • Transportation – transportation costs to and from medical care, including bus, taxi, train, and air fares; ambulance service; expenses for a parent traveling with a child; expenses for a person who can give injections, medications, or other treatments traveling with an adult unable to travel alone; and expenses for regular visits to a mentally ill dependent if recommended as part of treatment
  • Wigs – wigs for individuals who have lost part or all of their hair owing to disease or medical treatment

For a complete list of medical FSA-eligible expenses, see IRS Publication 502.  If you have questions about medical FSAs, call ASR Health Benefits at (616) 957-1751 or (800) 968-2449.