An unfortunate reality is that many people don’t seek treatment for their mental health issues. In fact, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports that 30% of people with a mental health condition don’t seek treatment.
A common barrier preventing treatment is cost. Someone with a mental illness may end up spending thousands of dollars out of pocket for treatment, and unfortunately, that often holds people back from getting the help they need.
The good news is that some mental health expenses are FSA or HSA eligible, allowing people to offset their out-of-pocket expenses.
Here are some mental health expenses that qualify for FSA or HSA coverage.
Psychotherapy or counseling
Psychotherapy and counseling are two key treatment types for mental health issues. Medical insurance usually covers only a portion of these treatments, leaving people with co-pays or additional out-of-pocket expenses.
These expenses are FSA or HSA eligible only if they are for the purpose of medical care. Therapy or counseling used for the general improvement of mental health without a medical diagnosis (such as marriage counseling) is not eligible.
Since psychiatrists are considered medical specialists, their services are HSA/FSA eligible. Psychiatric care can consist of psychotherapy and psychiatric medications, both of which are eligible for reimbursement since it’s considered a medical treatment.
Prescription medication, including those designed to treat mental health illnesses, are eligible for HSA and FSA reimbursement. Filling a prescription will no longer be a financial burden when HSA/FSA funds are used to pay for what insurance doesn’t cover, or the copay amount.
For situations that need more specialized care, there are options that are eligible for reimbursement. They include:
- Inpatient treatments such as substance abuse clinics, including meals and lodging
- Transportation for outpatient sessions or meetings for Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, or similar community groups
- Acupuncture, whether it’s used for physical or mental conditions, or both.
Transportation for care
Transportation for medical care is an HSA/FSA eligible expense. As long as there is a documented medical need (such as a prescription or a diagnosis or for substance abuse), transportation to and from mental health care can be reimbursed.
There are quite a few over-the-counter products and household items that are eligible for reimbursement or are available directly from the FSA store. Among the list of eligible products are ones that can be used for mental health improvement.
Herbal supplements can be used to boost mood, improve sleep and help concentration, so they can be useful for managing symptoms of mental illnesses -- and they are FSA/HSA eligible.
Even products like an over-the-counter Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) light, if prescribed by a doctor, can be reimbursed.
It’s important for people not to let financial concern stop them from getting the treatment they need for their mental illness. Fortunately, HSA and FSA accounts can help with these expenses and help people get the care they need.