22 Healthcare Expenses You Can Pay for with a Health Account
Do you have a high-deductible health plan—one that has a high deductible but low premium? Then you probably also have a health savings account (HSA), a tax-free account in which you and/or your employer can deposit up to $3,300 for a single policy and up to $6,550 for a family policy (tack on an additional $1,000 if you’re 55 and older).
If you don't have a high-deductible health plan, then your employer might offer a health flexible spending account (FSA) or a health reimbursement account (HRA). Contributions to the account can be applied to medical expenses your health insurance doesn't cover.
Regardless of which type of account you have, you can only use it for certain expenditures. If you spend money on items that aren’t approved, you will face a tax penalty.
The Internal Revenue Service updates the list of approved expenses every year. For filing year 2014 (the latest update), qualified medical expenses include all medical services, such as hospitalization, tests, physician and nursing services, inpatient drug and alcohol treatment, mental health services, ambulance fees, medical supplies, and prescription drugs. The following expenses are approved as well:
Artificial limbs and teeth
Braille books and magazines
Breast pumps and supplies
Eye exams, glasses, and surgery
Guide dogs and other service animals
Medical equipment and medically related construction for your home, such as installing ramps and widening doorways for a wheelchair
Removal of lead paint
Legal fees related to authorizing treatment for mental illness
Cost of meals and lodging if you are away from home for medical treatment
Long-term care insurance premiums (up to a certain amount)
Medical conferences related to a condition you, your spouse, or your children have
Pregnancy test kits
Special education for a special needs child such as tutoring
Special telephones and televisions for people with hearing problems
Transportation to and from medical visits, even to another city
Wigs if you’ve lost your hair because of disease
To get the full scoop on these—as well as what you can't pay for with your savings account funds—see the official Internal Revenue Service rules.
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- Publication 502. Internal Revenue Service. (http://www.irs.gov/publications/p502/ar02.html#en_US_2014_publink1000178885)
- Publication 969. Health Savings Accounts and Other Tax-Favored Health Plans. Internal Revenue Service. March 10, 2015. (http://www.irs.gov/uac/About-Publication-969)
- Chase Health Savings Account. Qualified Medical Expenses. (https://www.jpmorgan.com/tss/DocumentForEmail/Qualified_Medical_Expense/1281282494784);