Every year, many people look forward to the return of summer! The sun is out, the weather is warm, and everybody is getting outdoors. Whether you’re looking to have fun at the beach, hang out by the pool, go camping, or send the kids off to summer camps, you need to be prepared. There’s a laundry list of summer related issues that could put a little damper on the fun.
But don’t sweat it!
With an employer-sponsored healthcare benefit account, like a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA), you can stock up on products for yourself and your family to help avoid the summertime blues.
Making the most of summer with your FSA (or HSA)
First aid kits and supplies
Are you going camping? Do your kids play a lot of sports? Do you like to go on road trips? I’m guessing you said yes to at least one of these.
You can buy first aid kits and many over-the-counter first aid supplies with your FSA or HSA. Eligible items include non-medicated bandages and gauze, cold compresses, and thermometers. The American Red Cross recommends keeping a first aid kit in your vehicle in case of emergencies. Here are some tips for building your own first aid kit.
Sunshine and sandy beaches (or a day on the lake) – those are classic summer images. If you wear prescription glasses, you can pay for a pair of prescription sunglasses with your benefit dollars.
Ultraviolet (UV) rays have been linked to vision loss, cataracts, and corneal sunburns, among other health problems. Use your FSA, HSA, or Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) to buy a pair of sunglasses with a UV coating to help protect your eyes.
Speaking of harmful UV rays … It’s important to protect your skin! Fact is, anyone can get skin cancer, no matter your race, gender, or age. It’s estimated that 1 in 5 Americans will develop some form of skin cancer in their lifetime.
Sunscreen may be bought with an FSA or HSA. When buying sunscreen, look for:
- Broad spectrum, which protects against UVA and UVB rays
- SPF 30 or higher
- Water resistant
It’s also good idea to check the expiration date on the bottles you have at home. All sunscreens should keep their original strength for three years (as required by the FDA). Click here for sunscreen FAQs.
Soothe that sunburn
Okay, so you spent a little too much time in the sun and now people are making lobster jokes. But it’s not THAT funny – your skin (and your ego) needs soothing! Many aloe vera gels and other sunburn relief creams may be purchased using your FSA or HSA (with a prescription).
Just like protecting your skin, you should also take care of your lips. It’s easy to overlook the need for lip protection – many people only think about it after their lips are chapped. One study found that just over a third of people who used sunscreen at the beach also used a lip balm with SPF protection.
You’re in luck! Lip balms with SPF 15 or higher are an eligible expense. Be sure to apply throughout the day to make sure you’re getting enough protection.
Have the mosquitoes and chiggers been treating you like a buffet? With a prescription, you can get anti-itch creams and treatments with your benefit account.
Canes, crutches, orthopedic braces
When the weather is warm, people are outside, having fun playing baseball, basketball, soccer, and jogging, just to name a few. With more activity comes a greater chance of injury, like strains, sprains, and breaks. Your healthcare benefit account can take the pain out of getting relief.
Among the eligible items include canes, crutches, wheelchairs, orthopedic braces, and foot support inserts. Some ice packs and heat wraps are also eligible.
Put your benefit dollars to good use! With many eligible items available, you’ll be prepared you for whatever comes your way during the summer. Remember you can use your benefits debit card online and in store at pharmacies and other approved retailers. And if you’re traveling, don’t leave home without it!
As always, keep your receipts, prescription paperwork, and other related documentation. You may need them to file a claim for reimbursement.