3 Products You Won't Believe Are FSA/HSA Eligible
Enjoy it when your skin is glowing and your libido is alive and kicking? How about when your mind and body are balanced? OK, questions with obvious answers. What you may not know is that you can buy products like Obagi skincare, bioidentical hormones and sexual health products to help you get there and pay zero taxes. We're not just talking about free of sales tax either. We mean free from income tax, and that's the biggest tax most people pay.
How does it work? You get the tax benefits if you have a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA). They are special accounts that let you put income-tax free money aside to pay for certain medical expenses that are not covered by your insurance.
FSAs are available through your employer and HSA accounts can be established in a few ways. You may pay for expenses that are approved by the IRS as FSA/HSA eligible using a debit card linked to your account or submit your receipts for reimbursement.
If you haven't heard of an FSA or HSA, it's never too late to get in on the savings. Ask your benefits manager about an FSA. You may be able to get an HSA through your employer or on your own, provided you meet certain criteria. Find out more about FSAs and HSAs.
Besides the tax advantages of FSAs and HSAs, when you shop at an IRS registered FSA/HSA 90% Rule Merchant like MintRx, you have the convenience of using your FSA/HSA debit card at checkout.
3 Surprising FSA/HSA Eligible Products
- Bioidentical hormones and personalized treatment programs
- Erectile Dysfunction (ED) and Female Sexual Dysfunction (FSD) treatments
- Obagi Rx Nu-Derm with 4% hydroquinone and tretinoin, plus Obagi OTC CLENZIderm M.D. for acne
Here's an overview that answers "5 Ws and the H" on these healthy living items.
1) bHRT Approved For FSA/HSA Purchase
Women and men whose sex hormones are unbalanced due to age, an illness and even stress may benefit from bHRT.Women are more likely that men to experience the effects of unstable hormones because ovary function is biologically-programmed to decline after her peak childbearing years—around her mid-20s. The ovaries are the chief producer of estrogen, progesterone, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and testosterone. The two main female hormones estrogen and progesterone decline first and the most dramatically. See estrogen-progesterone chart.
In contrast, the chief male hormone, testosterone, continues to rise in men until age 30, where it may reach 400-1200 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL). After age 30, men's testosterone drops by 1% each year. In many cases, below 300 ng/mL is considered low T. Looking at a drop of 1% each year, a male, depending where he started out, may not have low T until his 50s or 60s. However, everyone is different, and whether you are a woman or a man, hormone balancing is viewed as important to your health. When you have a medical prescription, hormone replacement therapy is FSA/HSA eligible.
bHRT is an alternative to traditional Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). Both treatments replace or increase hormones to restore homeostasis. Traditional HRT normally refers to conjugated hormones that are not identical to the body's internally-made (endogenous) hormones. For example, Premarin is a conjugated estrogen made from the urine of pregnant mares.
In contrast, bioidentical hormones, are exact molecular and structural matches to the hormones made by the body. They are lab synthesized from the chemical diosgenin extracted from soy or wild yams. There is no evidence to date that the body uses bioidentical hormones differently than its endogenous hormones. Although bioidentical substances are used in many medical treatments, "bioidentical" is most commonly associated with sex hormone treatment. bHRT is a form of therapy that replaces or increases hormones that the body no longer sufficiently produces or can't due to age or a medical condition. A decrease in any of the body's sex hormones can create imbalance.
bHRT is most popular for women during perimenopause, the 10 years or so leading up to menopause, and in her postmenopausal years. Certain circumstances may make bHRT beneficial for women outside of the menopausal period. Pregnancy, for example, can disrupt hormonal balance.
Just like women, men may experience hormonal imbalance due to age, medical conditions and stress. Bioidentical testosterone or Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) are top prescriptions for male Low T. Note: hCG is bioidentical but it is not synthesized from diosgenin. It is either extracted from the urine of pregnant women, as in the case of the brand hCG Pregnyl, or prepared using recombinant DNA technology, as in the case of brand Choragonn.
If you are receiving bHRT treatment from an expert in bHRT, your program will begin with your medical intake. This involves obtaining your medical history and reviewing your physical and emotional symptoms. Both men and women may have difficulty sleeping, low libido, sexual dysfunction, hair loss, anxiety and depression. Hot flashes and vaginal dryness typically go hand-in-hand with menopause and low estrogen.
Next, if you are fortunate enough to find a physician who offers personalized bHRT, you'll be asked about your wellness goals and personal circumstances. This enables the doctor to create a custom plan that not only helps you reach your goals but also fits in with your lifestyle. A program, for instance, that requires frequent in office visits and costly medication may be impossible for some people.
bHRT is a clinical treatment that requires expert medical administration. It is still gaining ground in the medical community. Few doctors specialize in it. Some may not even advocate it.
Important qualities to seek in a bHRT program is personalized treatment by a doctor with clinical experience. You'll also want ongoing monitoring with lab testing.
bHRT is usually a lifelong treatment except when the hormone imbalance is temporary, as in the cases of stress, post-pregnancy or a transient medical condition.
Clinical treatment is a form of medical care that includes ongoing feedback between the doctor and patient. It is used for medical care that may change as the patient's health changes due to age or circumstances.
Bioidentical hormones are available from the commercial manufacturing industry in standard dosages and delivery methods. Compounded bHRT involves the use of custom-made formulas that can be made into any delivery method and strengths that are best for the patient. This includes transdermal creams, vaginal creams, injectables and troches (dissolvables). One of the significant advantages of compounded bHRT is the ability to combine hormones so the patient has the convenience of taking an all-in-one product.
Health insurance coverage for bHRT is limited. Hot flashes and vaginally-delivered estrogen cream and DHEA are usually the only medications that insurance will cover and co-payments may be high. Health insurance may only cover low T treatment for men if they have the medical diagnosis hypogonadism, again with possibly high out-of-pocket balances.
Medical research proves custom-compounded medications help restore hormonal balance but they are not covered by health insurance. Fortunately, custom-compounded bHRT is data-driven and backed by real science. You may use FSA/HSA funds to cover the cost of treatment and it can be affordable!
2) ED And FSD Treatments Are FSA/HSA Eligible
ED and FSD treatments are FSA/HSA eligible. However, they are not usually covered at all by your insurance, so you may pay the entire out-of-pocket expense. Fortunately, comparable generic and custom-compounded treatments also qualify and they can cost a third less than brands.
Men and women may use their FSA/HSA account to purchase prescriptions for ED and FSD.
Manufactured and custom-compounded prescription sexual dysfunction medications are eligible. They include the popular type-5 phosphodiesterase (PDE5) inhibitors sildenafil and tadalafil and their respective brands, Viagra and Cialis; and the peptide bremelanotide, also known as PT-141 and FDA-approved injectable Vyleesi.
You may purchase the brands or generics, however, sildenafil (Viagra) and tadalafil (Cialis) are only sold as pills in set dosages. Brand Vyleesi is only sold as an injectable.
Alternatively, compounded prescriptions provide a flexible and usually less expensive option. The same prescription ingredients used in the manufactured medications can be custom-blended into various strengths and forms to meet your needs. For example, PT-141 (bremelanotide - the active ingredient in Vyleesi) is available at MintRx as a nasal spray or an injectable and costs much less than the brand. ED meds sildenafil and tadalafil can be compounded into troches (dissolvables) or capsules in a variety of strengths.
Lady V contains sildenafil blended with Icariins, from the flowering plant Icariins Sagittam, also known as Epimedium and Barrenwort.
Scream Cream from MintRx contains a combination of all or some of the following ingredients: sildenafil, theophylline, generic Hydergine and Gerimal (ergoloid mesylates), and testosterone.
- PDE5 inhibitors treat ED by relaxing the smooth muscle in the penis, which increases blood flow to the corpus cavernosum, a region in the penis with sponge-like tissue. When engorged, the corpus cavernosum forms an erection
- Just like sildenafil, icariins and theophylline are phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitors. Studies have shown that PDE5 inhibitors may increase blood to women's clitoris generating sexual arousal and vaginal lubrication.
- PT-141 is a peptide that activates melanocortin receptors causing a desirable sexual response. Given its different mechanic of action, PT-141 presents a second option for men and women who have not had success with sildenafil and tadalafil.
- Theophylline is a bronchodilator and a non-specific phosphodiesterase inhibitor. Like PDE5 inhibitors, theophylline opens blood vessels but it also opens lung airways.
- Eergoloid mesylates may enhance mood, cognitive function, increase blood flow to the brain and relax other muscles in the body.
PDE5 inhibitors and their various forms (pills or dissolvables), PT-141, Lady V and Scream Cream, all have a time and a place ????
With the exception of low doses of tadalafil, men and women are usually advised to use these medications within 30 minutes to an hour before sexual activity. Men may use 2.5mg, 5mg of tadalafil (nicknamed Cialis Daily) or 10mg tadalafil everyday, as prescribed by a doctor. Keeping a consistent low level of the drug active in the body frees some men from the planning required with the other ED treatments.
Tadalafil (Cialis) and sildenafil (Viagra) and possibly Vyleesi may be available at most pharmacies. If you purchase your medication from a pharmacy approved to take FSA/HSA debit cards, you can avoid the inconvenience of submitting receipts.
The other medications are custom-compounded. Find Lady V, Scream Cream, injectable or intranasal compounded PT-141, tadalafil and sildenafil troches at MintRx. Buy them with your FSA/HSA debit for a no-hassle purchase.
Not all sexual dysfunction medications are eligible! Prescriptions should be eligible because they require a doctor's approval but beware of treatments that are sold over the counter. They are more than likely not eligible and could be dangerous. Most OTC supplements and herbal treatments are not FSA/HSA eligible.
FSA/HSA Eligible Skincare
Buying skincare can feel indulgent, especially when you're purchasing a brand with prestige like Obagi. Isn't is great to know that while you're treating yourself to luxurious skincare, you're also saving tax dollars! If you don't know what that's like, well follow along and get the scoop on Obagi's FSA/HSA eligible products.
Prescription strength hydroquinone—4% and above—is FSA/HSA approved. Hydroquinone 4% is the #1 prescribed treatment for hyperpigmentation.
Other examples of FSA/HSA-qualifying skincare include tretinoin, benzoyl peroxide (BPO) and salicylic acid. Tretinoin is prescription-only but treatments with BPO and salicylic acid are usually OTC strength. All three are proven to help prevent and lessen the severity of acne.
Hydroquinone is not an acne medication but it is effective in removing dark spots left by acne scars.
Your physician may prescribe hydroquinone if you have hyperpigmentation or uneven skin tone caused by
- Melasma, also called pregnancy mask
- Acne scars
- Post-traumatic inflammatory response (marks left after skin trauma heals)
- Sun damage
- Uneven skin tone
- Liver spots, solar lentigines, age spots
- Redness caused by psoriasis and eczema
Tretinoin also helps fade hyperpigmentation but its real strength is as an acne treatment. If you use Obagi tretinoin for its legendary anti-aging effects (not medically-necessary—just an added bonus), then you might view its surprising ability to reduce fine lines, plump up and firm skin as its crowning achievement.
Tretinoin may be prescribed for adults and children as young as 13 for the treatment of acne.
BPO and salicylic acid are top OTC acne treatments generally suitable for children and adults. Like any medication, supplement or herbal product, it's always best to seek medical advice before use.
Hydroquinone 4 (HQ4) refers to the 4% concentration of the active ingredient, hydroquinone. It's the highest potency available in the US from commercial pharmaceutical manufacturers. Stronger concentrations can be custom-compounded made. Contact MintRx at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about custom-compounded prescription hydroquinone.
Obagi is one of the most well-known skincare brands that makes products containing HQ4.
Obagi's skincare with hydroquinone includes
- Nu-Derm Clear
- Nu-Derm Blender
- Nu-Derm Sunfader
- Obagi-C Rx Clarifying Serum
- Obagi-C Rx Therapy Night Cream
Tretinoin is derived from Vitamin A. It's lab-synthesized and identical to all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) that the body makes from Vitamin A. In fact, tretinoin is bioidentical to ATRA but you'll hardly hear it described that way. "Bioidentical" is mostly reserved for bHRT.
Obagi CLENZIderm M.D. is an entire skincare line created specifically to treat acne.
Hydroquinone works by slowing or normalizing the production of melanin and stopping the production of melanocytes. It also causes exfoliation, so that new, lighter skin replaces the outer darker layer of the epidermis. In pharmacological terms, hydroquinone inhibits the production of tyrosinase and suppression of other melanocyte metabolic processes.
Tretinoin works by facilitating communication between cells for the production of collagen and skin (epithelial) cell growth. When new skin cells are created, they push to the surface causing the old ones to turn "flaky" and slough off. In this same process, increased skin cell growth also treats acne. As new skin cells make their way to the outer epidermal layer, they loosen hard buildup of oil and bacteria that clog pores. Retinoic acid (tretinoin) also helps prevent the breakdown of elastin, part of the body's connective tissue. Elastin gives skin its flexibility and firmness. When the skin's supply of elastin diminishes, sagging and wrinkles develop.
Benzoyl peroxide kills the bacteria p. acnes and the beta hydroxy acid (BHA) salicylic acid, helps reduce acne flareups by exfoliating the outer layer of the skin.
MintRx is one of the few online retailers approved to sell Obagi Rx and Obagi Medicial. Plus, MintRx is an IRS-registered 90% Rule Merchant, so feel free to use your FSA/HSA debit at checkout. Online consultations are also available for prescriptions Obagi Nu-Derm Clear and Blender with 4% hydroquinone and Obagi tretinoin. Your telemedicine consultation is also an FSA/HSA-qualified expense.
Want to learn more about great skincare solutions? Check out FAQs: Tretinoin, Retin A and Retinol.
Please read our blog disclaimer.