Are Vitamins FSA or HRA Eligible?

As benefits experts, we’re often asked if vitamins are FSA eligible. From multivitamins to specific vitamins, such as B12, D, or K, people want to know if they can be reimbursed for these expenses under their healthcare Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA). First things first, though: let’s explain how these employer and employee-friendly benefits operate.

What is a Flexible Spending Account (FSA)?

Before knowing if vitamins are FSA eligible, it’s important to understand which type of FSA you have. There are three types of Flexible Spending Accounts for different purposes: healthcare FSAs, dependent care FSAs, and commuter benefits split into parking and transit.

Healthcare FSA

The first of these is a health care FSA. Within them, there are two different varieties: the “regular” health care FSA and the “limited purpose” FSA. Both of these health care FSAs allow an employee to put aside dollars pre-tax (no FICA, federal, or in most cases state income taxes, also saving the employer significant money) to receive an untaxed reimbursement when they submit substantiation to the Third Party Administrator (TPA).

The only difference between the two types of health care FSAs is what is an eligible expense in order to receive dollars from their account. For a “regular” or traditional health care FSA, dollars can be used for any unreimbursed eligible medical expense, such as a deductible, co-pay, coinsurance, or even for over-the-counter drugs such as aspirin, allergy medications, and the like. In a limited-purpose health care FSA, only excepted benefits such as unreimbursed dental and vision expenses are eligible.

Dependent Care Reimbursement Account

The second type of an FSA is a dependent care Flexible Spending Account, also known as a Dependent Care Reimbursement Account (DCRA). While contributions to these accounts work the same as the health care FSA, expenses relating to childcare (or even adult) daycare are reimbursable to the extent they enable the employee (and spouse, if married) to work.

For more information on these two types of FSAs, please see our article here.

Commuter Benefits

The last type of a Flexible Spending Account is for commuter benefits, either parking or transit reimbursements. In much the same way the other two FSAs operate, so too does this one, except the allowable benefits are for either reimbursement of parking expenses at work or else public transit to get to and from work.

What is a Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA)?

Unlike an FSA, an HRA is only funded by an employer and provides a tax-free benefit to eligible employees based upon the design of the HRA. For much more on the different types of HRAs, see our articles on general HRAs, Qualified Small Employer HRAs, Individual Coverage HRAs, and Excepted Benefit HRAs.

So, Are Vitamins Covered Under a Health Care FSA or HRA?

The short answer is usually not, but it’s a bit more complex than that. Please see the video below for a more complete answer.