prescription for massage therapy

Many people take advantage of Healthcare Savings Accounts (HSA), or Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA), deferring a portion of their salary tax-free to cover additional healthcare expenses.  Uses have included co-payments, deductibles, transportation, and many other medical expenses.  But, did you know you could use your HSA for massage, as well?

How is Massage Therapy Eligible?

The IRS regulations state that medical expenses are the costs of diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, and the costs for treatments affecting any part or function of the body.  Also, medical care expenses must be primarily to alleviate or prevent a physical or mental defect or illness.  And, the benefits of regular massage covers this requirement.

Here are examples of some conditions that can qualify: carpel tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia, stress, chronic back, neck, and/or shoulder pain, chronic fatigue syndrome, arthritis, anxiety, depression, migraine headaches, pain after surgery. Massage therapy has been shown to be beneficial for all these conditions, and you do not need to live with pain!

How to get HSA/FSA approval for therapeutic massage

Simply contact your medical doctor’s office and let them know that you have HSA funds that you would like to use for massage therapy for treatment/prevention of your condition.  Ask for a written prescription for therapeutic massage with the following three items included:

  • Medical necessity: reason you need massage therapy (example: relieve back pain, headache pain, or reduce anxiety)
  • Frequency: number of sessions per month (example: minimum of two sessions per month)
  • Duration or Start Date: length of treatment for massage (example: 3, 6, 9, or 12 months)

 

References:

Health Savings Accounts: http://www.irs.gov/publications/p969/ar02.html

Medical Expenses: http://www.irs.gov/publications/p502/ar02.html#en_US_2013_publink1000178851

Aetna’s policy: https://member.aetna.com/member/hsa_healthcare_expenses_table.html

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