They don't call it a flexible spending account for nothing

By , Posted on 09 November 2012

I was recently wondering during open enrollment if I should consider setting up a flexible spending account (FSA). Offered with traditional group medical plans, an FSA is a tax-free account that allows you to set aside a portion of your pay for qualified medical expenses and costs not covered by insurance. (See: "Open enrollment: 5 tips for selecting the best benefits.")

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Typically, the examples of approved FSA expenditures you'll see include co-pays and deductibles, but there's so much more.  (See: "Health care reform myths and your FSA and HSA.")

As always, you should check to see what your specific plan covers, but here are 15 things you may not realize you can typically use FSA money for:

Acne medication, if prescribed

Cash-only medical practice bills, but not for the “membership” or retainer/flat-fee for concierge medical services

Childbirth classes

Chiropractic therapy


Contact lenses and cleaning solutions

Extra cost for a private hospital room

Hypnosis when recommended by a health care professional for a medical condition

In-patient alcohol and drug addiction treatment

Lice control

Prescription sunglasses


Sun block and sunscreen over SPF 30

Wart removal medication

Wigs to cover baldness due to medical conditions

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Des Toups

Des Toups

Managing editor

Des Toups is a writer, editor and expert on insurance, cars and personal finance. He has written extensively about all three for national publications such as MSN and major newspapers such as the Seattle Times. He has been quoted about insurance issues in The New York Times, USA Today and Kiplinger's.


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