15 HSA Approved Items to Use Your Money On
If you have a high-deductible health plan, healthcare can get expensive fast; that’s because you have to pay full price for medical costs until you hit your deductible (which, on average, is $8,000+ for a family!). That’s where HSAs come in. You can use them to cover a wide variety of medical expenses, and they help you keep more of your earnings at tax time.
What Is an HSA?
A health savings account (HSA) is a tax-free savings account used specifically for health-related expenses. It is set up separately from your bank accounts–you’ll often even get a new debit card specifically tied to your HSA–and it can only be paired with certain high-deductible health plans. HSAs are powerful financial tools because they help you prepare for medical expenses without having to pay taxes or interest on whatever cash you stow away.
Can I Use My HSA for Anything I Want?
Because your HSA influences what you owe at tax time, it is regulated by the IRS. They decide which medical expenses are eligible and which ones aren’t. Generally, eligible medical expenses must alleviate or prevent illness and/or disability; expenses that are simply beneficial to your overall well-being, like vitamins, are not eligible.
Fortunately, the IRS’s list of approved expenses is quite comprehensive, and covers most services by physicians, surgeons, specialists, and even dentists. Your HSA can also be used to pay for your family members’ health care; this includes your spouse and your dependents.
Common HSA-eligible Expenses
If you have an HSA, be sure to use it to help pay for expenses like:
Ambulance rides: When you’re billed a fee for using an ambulance, use your HSA to cover the expense.
Acupuncture: If your healthcare provider recommends acupuncture for treating a medical condition, you can use your HSA to pay for your appointment costs.
Alcoholism + drug treatment: Use your HSA to pay for addiction inpatient treatment at a therapeutic center, including meals and lodging offered by the center. You can also use your HSA to pay for transportation to/from local AA meetings.
Chiropractic care: Payments for a chiropractor’s services are HSA-eligible, as long as the treatment is used to manage a medical condition.
Dental treatment: You can use your HSA to cover the costs of dental care, including x-rays, fillings, fluoride treatments, and even braces. Cosmetic dental treatments (like whitening), as well as toothbrushes, are not eligible expenses.
Eye exams, surgery, + contact lenses: HSAs can be used to pay for the cost of eye exams and LASIK surgery. Eyewear (including reading glasses, sunglasses, and contact lenses) is also eligible as long as you have a prescription for vision correction.
Fertility treatment: If you are actively trying to conceive, any costs related to egg/sperm retrieval, IVF, ovulation kits, and other infertility treatments are HSA-eligible.
Hearing aids: Use your HSA to cover hearing aid costs, including hearing aid batteries.
Lab tests: When you head to the lab to get bloodwork done, be sure to bring your HSA card.
Medical alert bracelet: Do you use a medical bracelet or necklace to manage a condition like diabetes or heart disease? Pay for it with your HSA!
Mouth guards: A mouth guard is HSA-eligible if your dentist recommends it to prevent teeth grinding. Sports safety guards are not eligible if they’re not related to a medical or dental condition.
Prescription drugs: The cost of medication prescribed by your healthcare provider is a qualified HSA expense. Keep in mind that over-the-counter medications bought without a prescription (e.g. supplements, vitamins) are not eligible.
Psychiatric care: Your HSA can be used to pay for psychiatric care. This also includes the cost of treating a mentally ill dependent at a specialized medical facility.
Sunscreen: You can use your HSA to purchase sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher.
Ultrasounds: Any ultrasound for medical care (e.g. prenatal care) can be paid for with an HSA.
What You Can’t Buy With an HSA
Even though you can use your HSA for hundreds of medical expenses, there are some common services and fees that you’ll have to pay the old-fashioned way. These ineligible expenses include:
Autopsies or funeral services
Health club / gym memberships
Health insurance premiums
Missed appointment fees