How to Buy Over-The Counter Items with a Flexible Spending Account (FSA)

Elastic bandages and supports are eligible for FSA purchases.
Elastic bandages and supports are eligible for FSA purchases. (Image: Images)

Flexible spending accounts (FSAs) let your employer set aside part of your salary so you can use it to pay for health expenses that your health insurance does not cover. The money in your FSA account is exempt from federal income tax, so you save the percentage corresponding to your federal income tax bracket for each eligible item you purchase. FSAs are managed by benefits administrators who reimburse you from your account after they confirm the eligibility of your purchases. As of 2011, you need a doctor's prescription for FSA reimbursement of over-the-counter purchases.

Things You'll Need

  • Prescription for over-the-counter medication
  • Receipts for eligible purchases
  • Reimbursement form from your insurance or benefits administrator

Check with your benefits administrator or with an official guide to FSA benefits to make sure the device, equipment or medication you are purchasing is eligible for reimbursement. The company that administers your plan should provide you with an official guide.

Obtain a prescription from your doctor if you want to purchase one of the non-prescription medications that are eligible for FSA coverage.

Purchase the item you need and save your receipt as well as your doctor's prescription. Make sure the receipt includes the merchant's name and your date of purchase, the name of the item and the amount paid. Credit card receipts that only show the amount paid are not acceptable for FSA reimbursement.

Obtain a reimbursement form from your benefits administrator. Fill it out, sign it, attach your receipt, and mail it in to the address specified on the form.

Wait for a reimbursement check or direct bank account deposit to arrive. Contact your benefits administrator if it does not arrive within 30 days.

Tips & Warnings

  • Some pharmacies and chain stores mark items that are FSA-eligible on store displays and on receipts. There are also online stores that specialize in FSA-reimbursable merchandise.
  • You do not have to give your prescription for an over-the-counter medication to a pharmacist, and you can purchase your medication from a store where there is no pharmacist. You need only to send the prescription in to your benefits administrator in order to prove that your healthcare provider prescribed the medication for you.
  • If your doctor calls in or electronically transmits your prescription, the receipt must have the prescription number printed on it. This is acceptable in place of the actual prescription.
  • Keep copies of your receipts. In the event your form is lost or your request is challenged, clear copies of the receipts you send in will help expedite the reimbursement process.

Related Searches


Promoted By Zergnet


You May Also Like

Related Searches

Check It Out

4 Credit Myths That Are Absolutely False

Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!