With open enrollment behind us, few people think much about their Health Savings Account (HSA) during the summer. But now is a great time to take a fresh look at which expenses your account can cover. You can use an HSA to pay for many of your summer essentials—and not all of them are obvious.
The IRS defines medical expenses as “the costs of diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, and the costs for treatments affecting any part or function of the body.” As you gear up for summer travels, remember that these things are considered HSA-eligible products and services:
- Sunscreen: You can buy thousands of over-the-counter products with your HSA, and one of them is sunscreen/sunblock, so lather it on. Lip balm with an SPF of 15+ is also covered.
- Prescription Sunglasses: You likely already know that contacts and prescription eyeglasses are an eligible medical expense, but you may not have realized that this also includes prescription sunglasses needed for medical reasons.
- Allergy Testing: All those summer blooms can wreak havoc on your sinuses; use your HSA to test for allergies to pollen, ragweed or anything else.
- Band-Aids: Your boo-boos are all covered under your HSA this summer—whether you’re in the market for bandages or Band-Aids, gauze or first aid kits.
- Medical care outside the U.S.: Worst case scenario, you’re out of the country on a vacation and require medical care. You can use your HSA to pay for treatment in a foreign country as well as any prescribed drug you purchase and consume in another country if the drug is legal in both the other country and the U.S. Further, you can include amounts you pay for transportation to another city if a trip is primarily for, and essential to, receiving medical services. You can also include lodging for the person traveling with the person receiving medical care. However, you can’t include in medical expenses a trip or vacation taken merely for a change in environment, improvement of morale or general improvement of health, even if the trip is made on the advice of a doctor.
Things not eligible for HSA coverage: summer camps (even for dependents incapable of self-care), and dancing or swimming lessons (even if they are recommended by a doctor).