Clearing Up Mysteries About HSA Eligible Vitamins and Supplements

At first glance, vitamins and other dietary supplements seem like qualified medical expenses for health savings account (HSA) and flexible spending account (FSA) holders. They are designed to fill "gaps" in the average diet, offsetting nutritional deficiencies along the way — yes, even those deficiencies that can lead to larger health problems.

However, the IRS defines qualified medical expenses within the IRS Section 213(d) as “amounts paid for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation or treatment of a disease, and for treatments affecting any structure or function of the body.” The IRS has further specified that these expenses must be primarily to alleviate a physical or mental defect or illness.

So why are HSA users coming up empty when searching for HSA eligible vitamins and supplements? Learn which vitamins and supplements are HSA eligible.

What’s the deal with vitamin & supplement eligibility?

Most vitamins and supplements are not eligible with an FSA or HSA because the IRS considers them for general good health.

Currently, the only way to use a consumer-directed healthcare account to pay for most vitamins and supplements is if a specific vitamin or supplement is recommended by a medical professional to treat or mitigate a medical condition with a letter of medical necessity.

Not all vitamins and supplements are excluded from eligibility

Though multivitamins are likely the most popular over-the-counter supplement, only a handful of targeted vitamins have achieved HSA and FSA eligibility, without needing a letter of medical necessity.

Prenatal vitamins are eligible to prevent birth defects and boost fetal development in ways that most modern diets can't quite seem to achieve.

Likewise, glucosamine/chondroitin supplements are extremely popular at HSA Store because of their proven benefits for treating arthritis.

Because the above exceptions have proven value in treating specific needs and conditions, they can be purchased with tax-free health dollars, and without any written approvals from physicians. However…

Making a change for vitamins & supplements

We have created a home for HSA/FSA advocacy called, which lays out the opportunities for HSA/FSA expansion and the types of products and services that American families wish to cover with their tax-free dollars. With sections to look up your member of Congress and issue-specific form letters on areas of HSA/FSA expansion, it's a quick and easy way to lend your support to this important debate.

Most vitamins and supplements are still not covered by HSAs and FSAs. But if the past few years have taught us anything, changes on the legislative level can happen on a dime and a public push for expansion does not fall on deaf ears on Capitol Hill.

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