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Back-to-School Shopping with Your FSA or HSA

Back-to-School shopping with your FSA

As the school year gets underway, both parents and kids are in preparation mode! One of the many tasks at hand is back-to-school shopping. It seems like teachers and schools provide a list that’s a mile long. In addition, many kids need some other items or services that aren’t school mandated, but are certainly helpful for scholarly and social success.

If you have a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA), you can use these accounts to take care of some back-to-school needs for your kids!

Here is a list of often needed healthcare items and services for your children’s back-to-school needs. If you have an FSA or HSA, you can use these accounts help cover the following items, exams, and procedures.

Common Back-to-School Necessities


It’s important for kids to stay up-to-date on vaccinations. In most states, the public school systems require children to have certain immunizations in order to attend. While shots are generally inexpensive (and sometimes free), you can use your FSA or HSA to pay for them.


Sleep is vital for kids. A lack of good sleep affects mood (as most parents know) and the ability to learn. Experts believe that children between ages 5 and 12 need at least 9.5 hours of sleep. Teenagers may need 8 to 10 hours.

CPAP machines, melatonin, and over-the-counter sleep aids, among others, are qualified expenses.

First Aid Items

At home or at school, you might find yourself running low on certain first aid items. Some schools ask for parental assistance with restocking the first aid cabinet. FSA-qualified expenses include non-medicated bandages, cold packs, and sunscreen.

Eye Exams and Corrective Eyewear

Children who have trouble seeing have a hard time learning. With an FSA, Limited Purpose FSA (LPFSA), or HSA, you can pay for an eye exam to make sure that your child is able to see well.

If corrective eye wear is necessary, such as glasses or contact lenses, these count as eligible expenses. Some vision correction procedures are also qualified expenses, including LASIK and PRK. And, believe it or not, contact lens solution may be purchased with a healthcare benefits account.

Reading Material for the Visually Impaired

If your student is visually impaired, you can use your FSA or HSA to buy alternative reading materials. The funds in your account can cover the cost difference between the standard printed edition of a book and the Braille edition. You can also pay for audio versions of the same materials.

Dental Exams and Devices

Another service you can take care of is dental exams. If necessary, braces, bridges and other orthodontia falls into the eligible expense category. Use an FSA, LPFSA or HSA to cover the cost of these devices.

Acne Treatments

Most of us have been there during our teenage years. There’s no question that acne is embarrassing for many adolescents. If your child needs acne medication, such as creams, cleansers, or light therapy remedies, those items can be purchased with your FSA or HSA. Keep in mind, you need a prescription to get reimbursed for over-the-counter medications, so talk with your physician first.


Is your child involved in a lot of sports? Do you deal with sprained ankles or other common athletic ailments? Stock up on some orthopedic devices and products, like ankle and knee braces/wraps, athletic tape, arch supports, and back braces. Use your FSA or HSA to pay for them.

Use your employer-sponsored benefit account to help make this the best school year yet! Your FSA and HSA can help ease the pains of back-to-school shopping and get everyone back into the swing of things.