Most of us rarely see a dermatologist unless we have a particularly nasty-looking fungus or a rash that won't go away. Otherwise, we suffer in silence and go to a primary care doctor when something is awry.
But seeing a dermatologist is a good idea - and you can use your HSA account to pay for those visits. Some dermatology services are considered cosmetic fixes, so they aren't covered by your HSA. Knowing what's covered at the dermatologist's is important. You don't want to spend hundreds of dollars only to find out you won't be getting an HSA reimbursement. Here's what you should know about seeing the skin doctor and using your HSA.
Skin cancer screenings
We first discussed skin cancer prevention a few weeks ago, but it's always worth mentioning again. If you have a family history of skin cancer or spend a lot of time outside, you probably should see a dermatologist once a year for a routine skin check. That's when a doctor will look over your skin and see if any moles or bumps need your attention, whether it's to be removed or just watched a little more closely.
Because skin checks are not considered to be preventative care under the Affordable Care Act, you have to pay for them out of pocket after filing with insurance. But we can't think of many better reasons to use your HSA funds than to cover these necessary checkups.
Dermatological conditions such as psoriasis, eczema and rosacea often require prescription-strength creams and gels. These medications can be costly and are sometimes not completely covered by insurance. No matter how much they cost, your HSA funds can help.
Note that this only works for prescriptions. Over-the-counter medicines aren't considered qualified expenses unless your dermatologist writes out a prescription for them. If you believe a drugstore lotion helps your dermatitis and you want to pay for it with your HSA, tell your doctor and they might be willing to write a prescription for it.
If you visit a dermatologist because of acne problems, the appointment is HSA-eligible. Any prescriptions you get to help your acne are also covered. This may be confusing to patients who view acne as a "cosmetic issue," such as wrinkles or dark spots, which aren't covered by your HSA. But acne is considered a medical condition.
Like other drugs, over-the-counter acne treatments containing an active medical ingredient aren't HSA-eligible unless the doctor gives you a prescription for them. You'd be surprised to know that are some acne fighting light devices that won't require a prescription an all. But if you claim an OTC drug like Differin on your HSA, keep your doctor's prescription on file in case the IRS needs more verification.
Hair and nail issues
Dermatologists don't just fix skin ailments, they also deal with problems related to hair and nails. If you have severe dandruff or persistent nail concerns, you can visit your local dermatologist. And you should -- some diseases, like anemia or thyroid disorders, will first manifest in the nails before showing up in the rest of the body.
If you notice something unusual with your hair or nails, your HSA can help pay for that visit. Any prescription they give you, like a medicated shampoo, can also be paid for with an HSA card (just keep your prescription on file in case you ever need to verify the expense)..
How to get dermatology services covered by your HSA
Even though a condition might not seem like a skin-deep problem, you might have to get your dermatologist to write a Letter of Medical Necessity to your HSA provider. This letter should dictate why your condition is a medical problem, not just a cosmetic one.
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Whether you're spending steadily or saving for something big, Wage Up! is where we highlight the latest services available to buy with your HSA, every Monday on the HSA Learning Center. And for everything else about your health and financial wellness, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.