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FSA eligible expenses : List of easily overlooked and common strategies

[This post has the FSA eligible expenses only applicable until December 31, 2010. There are changes in fsa for 2011, mainly OTC drugs requiring prescription. Read about the changes here - fsa changes 2011. If you are looking to spend 2010 FSA money read on.]

FSA is one of the great health savings accounts that lets you save money on taxes.  I changed my doctor mid year and opted to go with a doctor who is not covered by my insurance policy. So I grossly underestimated the medical expenses and have no FSA money left over. I should do a better job this year. If you had a healthy 2010… congratulations! Did you contribute to FSA and have not spent down the money? FSA is a use it or lose it system. You might be scrambling to spend the money in your account instead of donating it to your employer. Here are some common and easily overlooked FSA eligible expenses to help with your spending spree.

Easily Overlooked FSA eligible expenses

  1. Sun screen (>30 SPF)
  2. Hand Sanitizer
  3. Pregnancy tests
  4. Ovulation kits
  5. Condoms
  6. Batteries for medical equipment (hearing aid, BP monitor, etc)
  7. Sales tax on medical expenses
  8. Transfer of medical records (if you paid any money to transfer all you tests from one doctor to another)
  9. Shipping and handling charge if you bought your drugs online
  10. Mileage to/from doctors office, hospital or any test facility
  11. If you had some special medical condition where treatment requires traveling, you can deduct the travel expenses
  12. Lodging expenses of the patient (if the sole reason for the lodging is to receive medical care)
  13. Lodging expenses of the companion (if parents are traveling for the kid’s treatment)
  14. Parking fees (if the only reason you are there is to receive medical care)
  15. Tolls to/from doctor’s office
  16. Prescription sunglasses [you always wanted that Prada right :)]
  17. Chiropractic care
  18. Doctor-recommended weight-loss programs
  19. Capital expenses to accommodate disabilityFSA eligible expenses
  20. Skin care lotions if you have allergies, psoriasis or eczema

Common FSA eligible expenses

A lot of these FSA eligible expenses are going to require a prescription starting January 1, 2011. I usually won’t recommend buying a truck load of aspirin and Pepto-Bismol, but this year would be a good year to stock up some of those common OTC medicines. Read the entire post about the new changes here – FSA changes 2011. [OTC drugs that require prescription in 2011 is marked with a (*)]

  1. Acne treatment (*)
  2. Allergy relief (oral medications, nasal sprays, patches, etc) (*)
  3. Analgesics/pain killers (aspiring, ibuprofen) (*)
  4. Antacids and heartburn relief (*)
  5. Anti itch creams (*)
  6. Anti histamines (*)
  7. Anti candidal/ Anti fungal medicines (*)
  8. Antibiotic creams and ointments (*)
  9. Crutches
  10. Arthritis pain relief (*)
  11. Cold medicines (*)
  12. Sore throat medicines (*)
  13. Dental medicines (toothache relief, temporary filling, denture adhesive) (*)
  14. Ear care (ear drops, ear wax removal) (*)
  15. Contact lens solution
  16. Lubricant drops
  17. Reading glasses
  18. General eye care
  19. Treatment for vaginal infections (*)
  20. Healing lotions (*)
  21. Hearing aid
  22. Flu shots
  23. Pregnancy aids (if they are required e.g. support belts)
  24. Progesterone/estrogen creams (*)
  25. Heat wraps
  26. Hot/cold packs,
  27. Band-aids
  28. First aid kit (bandages, tape, gauze dressing, adhesive pads, rubbing alcohol)
  29. Blood pressure monitor
  30. Cholesterol monitor
  31. Diabetes testing kit/refill
  32. Colorectal cancer screening kit
  33. HIV testing kit
  34. Thermometers
  35. Any other home diagnostic test kits
  36. Incontinence products/adult diapers (Depends, serenity pads)
  37. Joint support bandages and hosiery
  38. Laxatives (*)
  39. Motion/sea sickness treatment(Dramamine, patches, bracelets) (*)
  40. Shampoo treatments (lice/psoriasis)
  41. Smoking cessation relief
  42. Stomach/digestive relief (lactaid, pepto bismol) (*)
  43. Tooth and mouth pain relief(orajel, anbesol) (*)
  44. Urinary pain relief (*)
  45. Vaporizers and humidifiers if you have allergies (*)
  46. Wart removal medication
  47. Deductibles and co-payments
  48. Dental work
  49. Orthodontia
  50. Laser eye surgery
  51. Psychotherapy, psychiatry, psychology
  52. Drug and alcohol treatment
  53. Smoking cessation programs and prescriptions
  54. Medically necessary cosmetic surgery
  55. Massage therapy to treat an injury
  56. Physical therapy
  57. Speech therapy
  58. Out-of-pocket expenses for fertility treatments
  59. Medical equipment, such as wheelchairs, crutches or oxygen equipment
  60. Assistance for the disabled, including guides, Braille books, seeing-eye or hearing-trained animals, note takers, etc.
  61. Birth control pills, devices and procedures
  62. Acupuncture or related procedures to treat a medical condition
  63. Medically necessary prescriptions
  64. Vaccinations
  65. Wigs (if the hair loss is due to a medical condition)


If you need some more ideas, browse the drugstore.com site. They have a separate category for FSA eligible expenses called FSA Store or the FSAStore.com. You can browse through the list and just add it to the cart up to whatever you want to spend. If you need a lot more ideas than this and need a more authoritative source check the IRS list of eligible medical and dental expenses. I have to choose the amount I am going to contribute for 2011 by next week. Considering the FSA changes, I will have to choose carefully. I will try to set up an Excel sheet to calculate the FSA expenses and link it here. Did you accurately set up the FSA, or like me did you under fund the account? Do you have any creative ideas to spend down if you over estimated your expenses?

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

James Fowlkes

Although I have already hit my limit for FSA funds this is a great reminder. I will pass it on. Thanks, Suba!


First Gen American

Sunscreen and Condoms.REALLY? Wow, I really wiffed on that one. I bought a bunch of sunscreen this year and didn’t save the receipts and the sensitive skin type I buy for my kids is not cheap.

Great article.



This is great! I found some of the expenses I did not know about. Oh, and glasses (Prada or not) is my favorite!


Lisa @ Cents To Save

Because of the FSA changes for next year, I am changing my deductions. We used a lot of OTC items this year, and they will not be allowed next year. I still have to use about 300.00 before the end of the year.



@Lisa, yeah, this OTC change is going to be a pain… but you might want to check with your doctor before you decide to reduce your deductions. My doctor agreed to write a prescription for all the allergies/cold we had this year to use for reimbursement. Just a thought…



Is there going to be a high number limit. My family has huge dental bills not covered under my medical plan and I am trying to plan for 2011.


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