A Flexible Spending Account (FSA) covers acupuncture. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has defined acupuncture as a qualifying medical expense.
Qualifying Medical Expenses
For anything to be covered under your FSA, it must be a qualified medical expense. Most qualifying medical expenses require a prescription or letter of medical necessity before being covered by an FSA. Acupuncture is defined by many plans as a preventative treatment, which qualifies it as a reimbursable medical expense.
Acupuncture involves pricking the skin and tissues with needles as a way to alleviate pain and treat various medical conditions. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine says acupuncture can be beneficial for suffers of chronic pain, lower back pain and arthritis. Acupuncture has also been used to treat depression, addictions and the side effects of other health treatments. Many types of alternative medicine are not covered under an FSA. However, the results of acupuncture have been documented through significant research, and it is known as an effective treatment option.
Use It or Lose It
At the end of each calendar year, most FSA plans forfeit any remaining funds back to your employer. Acupuncture could be a good way to spend any remaining funds left in your FSA toward the end of the calendar year. Many plans do not offer a rollover option, and if they do, it is typically limited. Some plans provide a 2.5 month grace period for reimbursement. It is best to check your specific plan to determine how any excess funds are distributed or forfeited.