Back to School and Your Benefits Accounts

Every parent knows how expensive the back-to-school period can be. In addition to clothing and school supplies, there are eye exams, updated eyeglass and contacts prescriptions, sports physicals, dental checkups, and more.

Here are some examples of how your benefit accounts can help with back-to-school healthcare expenses.

Vaccines and Immunizations

Measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox, polio, pertussis (whooping cough), and diphtheria were once common diseases in American children that led to many deaths and lifelong disabilities. Thanks to vaccines, they are no longer an everyday concern.

To maintain the increases in life expectancy and quality of life that immunization programs have brought about, most schools require certain vaccinations for enrollment.

Immunizations and vaccinations are eligible healthcare expenses. You can pay for them using your Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA) and Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA). Keep in mind that, with an HRA, the expense must be plan-approved.

Eye and Vision Health

The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 25.3% of American children wore glasses or contacts in 2019. When a child has difficulty reading the blackboard or overhead projector, or can’t read a book up close to their face, concentrating is hard and learning even harder.

Thankfully, eye exams and eyewear are eligible expenses for healthcare spending accounts. You can buy prescription eyewear (including contacts and sunglasses) and reading glasses with an FSA, Limited Purpose FSA, or HSA. Contact lens wearers can also buy needed solutions.

Some vision correction procedures, such as LASIK, are also eligible for FSAs, HSAs, and some HRA accounts.

Dental Health

Back-to-school is a great time to schedule a dental checkup. As with eye problems, an aching tooth or cavity can make staying focused in class a real challenge. Plus, dental health is directly related to overall wellness.

When you visit the dentist, you can use your FSA, LPFSA, or HSA to pay for a range of services and treatments, including:

  • Exams and Cleanings
  • Sealants
  • Gingivitis Treatments
  • Fillings and Bonding
  • Root Canals and Crowns
  • Extractions
  • Braces

Here are some tips from the American Dental Association for a successful back-to-school checkup.

OTC Medications and Wellness

Here are some eligible over-the-counter (OTC) medications and wellness products that may be on your back-to-school shopping list:

  • First aid supplies, like bandages, antiseptic ointments, and pain relievers
  • Treatments for sports injuries like ice packs, heating pads, braces, wraps, etc.
  • Some acne treatments
  • Orthotic shoe inserts
  • Braille reading materials
  • Hearing aids and batteries

Contact your benefits administrator for a complete list of eligible expenses. Remember to keep receipts for any purchases made with your healthcare benefit account, even if you use a benefits debit card to pay for it, in case you have to prove the purchase and for tax records.