Now that 2011 is coming to an end many Americans are beginning to think about filing taxes and looking to ensure they utilize their health insurance benefits, Health Savings Accounts (HSA), Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRA) and Flexible Savings Accounts (FSA) before the end of the year. This is also a great time to start thinking about using a medical savings/spending account in 2012 if available through your employer’s insurance or high deductible insurance plan. Medical savings accounts are great tools that can be used to save on the cost for qualified medical expense over a given year.
For those that are managing incontinence, you know that the cost of supplies can be costly depending on use. While most private insurance plans do not cover incontinence supplies, some of these costs can be reimbursed through HSA's, FSA's or HRA's. While there have been changes in 2011 as to what Over-the-Counter drugs and medications are eligible for reimbursement without a doctor’s prescription. Incontinence products have been considered an eligible Over-the-Counter medical expense that does not require doctor’s prescription and should be a reimbursable expense through an HSA/FSA/HRA, which can provide for great savings. We have included at the bottom a non inclusive list of qualified Over-the-Counter drugs and medicines that do and do not require a doctor’s prescription.
If a health savings/spending account are not available, there are other options that can be explored to help reduce the cost of incontinence products through Medicaid, Medicare, Local Councils on Aging and Diaper Banks. Eligibility for assistance with these agencies will depend upon your personal situation and circumstances.
For those not familiar with Health Savings Account (HSA), Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) here is a quick overview of each.
Health Savings Account (HSA)
HSAs are tax advantaged medical savings accounts that are available to persons enrolled in high deductible health plans. The money contributed to an HSA can be made pre-tax or post-tax which both have tax advantages. The funds not utilized during the tax year are able to be rolled forward and accumulate from year to year. The funds are able to be withdrawn for qualified medical expenses. Note that beginning January 1, 2011 that HSA funds can no longer be used to buy certain over-the-counter drugs without a doctor’s prescription (See Examples Below).
Flexible Spending Account (FSA)
FSAs are tax advantaged medical accounts that are available through a cafeteria plan of a US employer. An FSA allows employees to set aside a portion of their earnings to pay for their qualified medical expenses. FSAs are very similar to HSAs and HRAs, however, there are a few difference in that a FSA is offered through a traditional health plan and the funds in the account have to be used on qualified expenses before the end the of FSA plan year. So in other words an FSA is a use it or lose it account unlike an HSA or HRA that allow for the funds to be rolled forward.
Health Reimbursement Account (HRA)
HRAs are tax advantaged medical account that offset health care cost for both the employees and the employer. HRA’s are programs that allow employers to set aside funds to reimburse medical expenses paid by employees participating in the HRA. The accounts are funded by the employer and contribution to the account cannot be made through an employee’s salary reduction. Employees are reimbursed for qualified medical expenses up to the HRAs coverage limit, tax free.
Please see IRS Publication 969 for additional information on Health Savings Accounts, Flexible Spending Accounts and Health Reimbursement Accounts.
Below is a sample chart of Over-the-Counter items that may be purchased with Health Flexible Spending Accounts, Health Savings Accounts, or Health Reimbursement Accounts. This is not a complete list and is intended to merely provide examples of eligible expenses. Note: We encourage you to keep all receipts for items in which you are seeking reimbursement.
At eMedical it is our goal to be your partner while managing incontinence. We understand that managing incontinence or caring for someone that is incontinent can be stressful and we are here for you to ensure that you have the supplies that will allow you to maintain an active health lifestyle with dignity. We are here for you, so please don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (800) 818-1686. Also be sure to visit us atwww.emedicalnow.com for great monthly specials from some of the top incontinence brands on the market today.
This is information is not intended as tax, financial or legal advice. We encourage you to speak with a tax professional, plan administrator or the appropriate agencies for specific advice.