Many people in the US have different type of medical accounts. Two popular medical accounts that people with health insurance carry are FSA and HSA. Both of these are similar but are used in a totally different way. This blog entry will concentrate more on FSA but some information about HSA will be given so people do not confuse the two of them.
HSA stands for health savings account. This was passed by the Bush adminstration. It is a way to save money for unforeseen medical expenses. Health savings account can be contributed about 3K per year by individuals and about 5K per year by families. These expenses are pre tax. The money can be withdrawn if a castrophic medical condition takes place. Money carries over year after year. The money can be used for retirment if no caustrophic medical condition occurs. HSA is for people with a high deductible health insurance. The idea was to reduce helath care costs with the HSA. High deductible health insurance would be cheaper than normal health insurance.
FSA stands for Federal Spending Account or Flexible Spending Account. This is a tax free way to pay for medical expenses. FSA are used with low deductible health insurance. Many families allocate a sum of money that they approximate that they will need for medical expenses. Examples of medical expenses that may be deducted from the FSA are medical deductibles, doctor co-pays, dentist co-pays and miscellaneous medical costs. The cost of these medical expenses must be approximated at the beginning of the year. It is recommended to allocate money on the high side because people want to tax deduct their medical expenses. All of this money must be used by year end. There is no carry over with FSA accounts. It is a use it or loss it proposition.
Most US citizens do not realize that left over money from there FSA accounts can be used to purchase a wide variety of products. Homeopathy purchases are covered with FSA accounts. These medicines include both combination homeopathic medicines and single homeopathic remedies. A doctor note is not necessary or required. A receipt of your purchase is required. The receipt must be mailed into your FSA provider. Other products that people do not know about that may be covered under your FSA are sunblock, anti-itch lotions such as poison ivy lotion and fiber supplements. Some items not included in FSA accounts are herbal supplements and certain vitamin supplements. Vitamin B can be used as a FSA purchase but other vitamins can not be used. To see the full range of over the counter products covered under the FSA, go to http://www.asiflex.com/ASIOTC.pdf.
In summary, HSA accounts are accumulated over time and never expire. They are used to pay for major medical expenses that may occur with high deductible medical insurance. FSA accounts are used with lower deductible medical insurances. FSA expenditures must be allocated at the beginning of the year. All FSA expenditures must be consumed or the money will be lost. If all of your money allocated did not go to doctors or other medical expenses, you can use this left over money to purchase a wide range of over the counter products including homeopathy.