Have a Flex Spending Account? Here Are 50+ Surprising Things It May Pay For

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Many of us use our flexible spending accounts to pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses like doctor visit co-pays or medications that aren’t covered under medical insurance.

But that’s not all your FSA covers.

The IRS has a handy list of medical supplies and services covered by your FSA for preparing your tax returns.

Flexible Spending Accounts can only be set up by employers — the idea behind them is to help people set aside money to pay medical bills throughout the year.

And thanks to a provision to the CARES Act, over-the-counter medication and feminine hygiene products have now been added to that list of FSA eligible items.

You’ll find even more products and supplies when you search for FSA-eligible products and services at FSAStore.com or by searching for FSA-eligible products on Amazon.  

What Can You Buy With a Flexible Spending Account?

So what can you buy with a flexible spending account? We’ve broken down the highlights — including a few that may surprise you.

Medical Procedures and Surgeries

Although you may think of routine visits to the doctor or even an emergency room visit, there’s a vast array of other medical procedures and surgeries may be covered by your FSA:

  • Reproductive services are covered for men and women, including sterilization, vasectomies, lactation expenses and some fertility enhancement procedures.
  • Acupuncture, visits to an osteopath, medical care from a Christian Science Practitioner and tune-ups by a chiropractor are all covered under your FSA.
  • And just in case you were wondering, annual physical examinations are FSA-eligible expenses, so don’t skimp on preventive care. 
Pro Tip

A flexible spending account has different rules about expenses than a dependent care flexible spending account or limited care flexible spending account. Consult your plan to confirm which you have.

Products

Whether it’s a prescription or over-the-counter product, these items are all FSA-eligible.

  • Hey sun lovers, your FSA even helps cover you from the sun’s harmful rays. Sunscreen is an eligible expense and so are sunglasses.
  • Take care of your lips with moisturizing lip balm. Your best bet is to invest in lip care products with sunscreen to take lip care to the next level. 
  • Many women’s health products and services are covered. Pregnancy test kits, birth control pills, post-mastectomy breast reconstruction and abortions are all considered eligible expenses. And in addition to menstrual cramp relief products which were previously covered, feminine hygiene products — including tampons, pads, liners, cups and sponges — are now covered through the CARES Act.
  • Your FSA covers a variety of family planning and sexual health products like condoms and STI test kits.
  • Need a first aid kit? Use your FSA account to pay for it, including bandages, products for relieving motion sickness and anti-itch cream. You can also include over-the-counter products like cold and allergy medicine and pain relievers, all of which had previously required a prescription to be FSA eligible before the CARES Act passed.
  • Medical monitoring supplies like stethoscopes, blood pressure cuffs and thermometers are FSA-eligible.
  • All kinds of eye care and vision products from eye drops and contact lens solution to eyeglasses.
  • You can use your FSA funds to cover the cost of a wig if you’ve lost your hair due to a disease and a physician recommends it for mental-health reasons. 
Pro Tip

Remember that you’ll lose whatever FSA funds you don’t use by the end of the plan year, which typically corresponds to the calendar year.

Services

Beyond medical care, the services you require as part of your medical care — or to get to your medical care — are eligible for FSA coverage.

  • If you take transportation to your medical appointments you can use your FSA to get reimbursed for public transportation fare or at the standard mileage rate of 20 cents a mile if you drive. Parking fees and tolls may be eligible for reimbursement. 
  • Your FSA covers the primary expenses for service animals, including training fees, food and veterinary care. 
  • You can use your FSA funds to buy a meal at the hospital if you’re there for medical care. But if you’re accompanying someone else, you’ll have to foot your own bill for any hospital food.
  • FSA-eligible expenses include the cost of a hearing aid, batteries, repairs and maintenance.
  • If you’ve been diagnosed by a physician for a specific disease like obesity, hypertension or heart disease, your FSA may cover the fees for a membership in a weight-loss program — but not for gym or health club dues.
  • You can use FSA funds to pay for your child’s tutoring if they have learning disabilities caused by a mental or physical impairment. You’ll need a physician’s recommendation for the expense to qualify.
  • You can use your FSA to cover the cost of removing lead-based paint from your home. The unfortunate catch: It’s only an allowable expense if your child already has or had lead poisoning. 
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It can be tough to tell what products and services are covered by your FSA. If you aren’t sure, check with a tax professional or check directly with the IRS. 

“If you can’t find the expense you are looking for, refer to the definition of medical expenses under What Are Medical Expenses,” says the IRS.

Lisa McGreevy is a former staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. Staff writer/editor Tiffany Wendeln Connors contributed to this post.