Here’s something you probably didn’t know: you can pay for nutritional supplements with the money from an HSA–if you know how, that is. Most articles will tell you it’s impossible and you can’t do it, but that’s not true, and we’re here to tell you how you can pay for your vitamins with your HSA.
For example, if your chiropractor recommends glucosamine to treat your joint pain or your obstetrician recommends a prenatal vitamin to prevent neural tube defects, those would be eligible expenses. Your doctor might recommend a fish-oil supplement to prevent cardiovascular disease, or a zinc supplement in order to improve immune response to a virus like Covid-19 – both would be HSA eligible expenses if that were the case.
HSA Qualified Medical Expenses
First, let’s talk about what an HSA is and how the money can be used.
What is an HSA? HSA stands for health savings account. It’s a savings account used to pay for qualifying medical expenses; the money in the account is tax-deferred and accumulates interest over time if it’s not used, making it an excellent way to save money. You are only allowed to contribute to an HSA if you have a qualified high-deductible health plan (HDHP).
What are the qualifying medical expenses an HSA will pay for? HSAs are usually meant to pay for things that insurance doesn’t. To name a few of the typical expenses, HSA can pay for: copayments, dental work, prescriptions, and eyeglasses and contact lenses. You can also use it to pay for alternative medicines like acupuncture and chiropractic alignments, as well as things like fertility treatments and diagnostic services.
You can use the money to pay for non-medical expenses, but you will face a 20% tax penalty, so it’s not the best idea. After you turn 65, you can withdraw the money and use it as you wish, only paying an income tax on any non-medical spending.
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Which nutritional supplements are included?
If you are taking nutritional supplements for general health purposes, those cannot be paid for from your HSA. But, if your healthcare provider recommends you take a supplement to treat or prevent a specific health condition, it would be considered an eligible expense.
For example, if your chiropractor recommends glucosamine to treat your joint pain or your obstetrician recommends a prenatal vitamin to prevent neural tube defects, those would be eligible expenses.
On the other hand, the cost of a daily multivitamin you take “just in case” would not be eligible.
How to Pay for Nutritional Supplements with an HSA
Important to note, your healthcare provider has to recommend you take the specific supplement to treat or prevent a specific health condition; supplements meant for general good health and are not eligible. Your healthcare practitioner does not have to be an M.D. They can be a chiropractor or holistic practitioner of any type. It would be best to get the recommendation in writing in case you ever get audited.
When in doubt, always talk to your healthcare provider. Nutritional supplements can be costly, especially if you take them every month, and if there’s a way to reduce that cost, you should take advantage of it.
Learn more about how to pay for nutritional supplements from your HSA by signing up for our monthly newsletter How to Maximize Your HSA.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I pay for nutritional supplements tax-free from my HSA?
Yes, but only if your health care practitioner recommends that supplement as a treatment or prevention for a specific health condition.
Do I have to have a written prescription?
It would be best to have the recommendation in writing in case you ever get audited, but there is nothing in the law requiring this.
Is there a limit to how much of my HSA funds I can spend on nutritional supplements?
If you meet the required guidelines, you can spend up to 100% of your HSA funds on nutritional supplements.
Do you have any questions for us?
We’d love to hear from you! Reach out and talk to one of our expert Personal Benefits Managers today. Our mission is to help individuals and families find better and less expensive ways to pay for their healthcare.
Here are some additional articles on HSA plans: How to Avoid Surprise Medical Bills | A Resolution to ‘Bank On’: Supercharge Your HSA in 2020
Wiley is President of HSA for America. He believes that consumers should have choice and price transparency, so they can make the best healthcare decisions for their needs. Read more about Wiley on his Bio page.