• Cash
  • Check
  • Debit card
  • Credit card
  • Gift card
  • Health-savings account (HSA) card
  • Flexible-spending account (FSA) card

Health Savings Accounts, Flexible-Spending Accounts

The person’s name on the HSA or FSA card must match a government-issued identification card for that person with the name spelled identically on both cards.

Many people defer tax-free salary funds to HSAs and FSAs. The deferred money can be used during the year to pay for a variety of medical expenses from deductibles and co-payments to transportation and essential healthcare providers. One thing to remember is that HSA and FSA funds must be spent before the end of the year or you will lose them!

Is Therapeutic Massage HSA or FSA Eligible?

IRS regulations state that qualified medical care expenses must be primarily to alleviate or prevent a physical or mental ailment. In IRS Publication 502, Money spent for therapy received as medical treatment is the IRS definition of therapy. Examples of illnesses that may qualify include carpal tunnel syndrome, stress, back pain, arthritis, diabetes, hypertension, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, anxiety, depression, and pain management.

Schedule an appointment with your health care practitioner and discuss using HAS or FSA funds for massage to treat or prevent any of the conditions mentioned, including stress. The health care practitioner would write a prescription that includes:

  • Why the person needs massage therapy (e.g., to relieve back pain, to reduce stress/anxiety, to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome)
  • How frequently the person needs treatment (e.g., 2 sessions per month)
  • How long the person should receive treatment (e.g., 6 months, a year)

Keep the prescription with tax documents to verify massage therapy as a qualified medical expense, as needed. Also, ask for a more detailed massage therapy receipt to accompany the prescription.

As a reminder, the Affordable Care Act allows for an adult to pay for massages a spouse and dependents younger than 27 if the person has a qualifying medical condition. Contact your health care practitioner for more information and to discuss getting a prescription for treatment.

Qualified Medical Expenses

The main purpose of your HAS or FSA is to enable you to pay for qualified medical expenses with tax-free dollars. Qualified medical expenses are defined under Section 213 of the IRS Code (See IRS Publication 502: Medical and Dental Expenses). Most people remember to pay for health care practitioner visits and prescription drugs from their HSA or FSA (or save the receipts and reimburse themselves later), but people may be paying for medical expenses that could be paid for with HSA or FSA funds. Some of the more common qualified medical expenses include:

  • Over-the-counter medications
    • Save the receipt from buying a bottle of aspirin, cough syrup, bandages, or even acne medicine and submit the information to the HSA or FSA for reimbursement
  • Medical massage therapy
    • HSA or FSA funds may be used to pay for a massage if a health care practitioner recommends massage as treatment for a particular health condition