Can I Use My Health Savings Account for Massage?

Many people utilize a health savings account (HSA), or flexible savings account (FSA), to defer funds tax-free from their salaries.  These monies can be used during the year to pay for a large variety of medical expenses.  Everything from deductibles and co-payments to transportation to essential healthcare providers.  One caveat: you have to use these funds before the end of the year or you will lose them!   (NOTE:  this applies to FSA’s, not most HSA’s.  Be sure to check with your plan administrators for clarification of this rule.)

Is My Therapeutic Massage Eligible?

Spending the funds in your HSA for massage therapy can be tricky, but it is possible.  To be considered a qualified medical expense, the IRS regulations state that medical care expenses MUST be primarily to alleviate or prevent a physical or mental ailment.  In IRS Publication 502 (see link below), “Therapy” is included as defined for therapy received as medical treatment.  Examples of illnesses that could qualify include carpal tunnel syndrome, stress, back pain, arthritis, diabetes, hypertension, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, anxiety, depression and pain management.

The first thing you must do is schedule an appointment with your doctor.  If you have been suffering from any of the above conditions, including stress, let him or her know that you are participating in a HSA and that you’d like to use some of your funds toward massage for treatment or prevention of your condition.

In order for you prescription to qualify for IRS regulations, your physician will need to provide the following:

1.  Why do you need massage therapy?  (Example: to relieve back pain, reduce stress/anxiety, prevent carpal tunnel syndrome, etc.)

2.  How frequent do you need treatment?  (Example: 2 sessions per month)

3.  How long should you receive treatment?  (Example: 6 months, a year)

After you’ve obtained your prescription, keep it with your tax documents should you ever be asked to verify the expense.  For my clients, it is not necessary that I receive a copy of your subscription, but it is helpful so that I may provide you with a more detailed receipt for your records.

Keep in mind, with the implementation of the new Affordable Care Act, you can also pay for massages a spouse and even a dependents under the age of 27, if he or she has a qualifying medical condition.  To see if you are able to deduct massage therapy from your HSA, contact your physician for more information and a prescription for treatment.

References: http://www1.umn.edu/ohr/benefits/fsa/healtheligexp/index.html

IRS Regulations on HSAs and more: http://www.irs.gov/publications/p969/ar02.html#en_US_2011_publink1000204174

http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p502.pdf

3 thoughts on “Can I Use My Health Savings Account for Massage?

  1. Amy Kobos says:

    You would think massage therapy would definitely be an eligible expense. Massage therapy does wonders for our mental health and physical health and is part of preventative medicine and saves a lot of money in the future for other ailments.

  2. Brandy says:

    Thank you for this informative article. I did not know that under the right conditions, HSA and FSA funds could be used towards massage therapy. That’s wonderful! Massage therapy works better than pharmaceuticals in many cases, and has no side effects.

    Just a clarification though. In a Health Savings Account (HSA), funds DO NOT have to be used by the end of the calendar year in which they were contributed. These funds roll over. In the case of a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), you are correct that funds need to be used by the end of the year in which the contribution was made, or the contributions will be lost. For FSA, it really is a “use it or lose it” situation.

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