Flexible Spending Account Requires Rx for Glucose Tabs

Starting January 1, 2011, new federal rules require that Flexible Spending Account (FSA) claims for certain over-the-counter medications, such as glucose tabs, must attach a prescription from your doctor. Has anyone here tried to do this?

I’m seeing my doctor next week and feel a little weird asking him for a Rx for this. Does he need to write an exact quantity or do you think “as needed” is sufficient? Do I have to actually submit the Rx to the pharmacy and have them put Rx labels on the glucose tabs or can I just buy them and then submit the Rx along with the receipt from the drug store for the tabs? Can I buy a year’s supply and still submit an FSA claim?

I read on the government site that no rx needed for diabetic supplies. problem was no defonition of what the supplies may be.

I think you just need to submit the prescription with your receipt. Buy them as usual.

You need to prescription to document the medical necessity from your doctor only when applying for reimbursement from your FSA account. A few years ago, I had my doctor write me a prescription to go to the gym and exercise. I was able to get my gym membership reimbursed from my FSA. Sadly, my basic medical expenses have skyrocketed and I use all my FSA on co-pays and such and now I have to pay for the gym after taxes.

ps. I think you can still get reimbursement for the gym with a prescription.

You can’t use the FSA card for the purchase (big problem). You have to purchase and then submit for reimbursement and when you submit, attach a copy of the doctor’s prescription/order/note/post-it.

PatientX - I found this IRS web page Q&A regarding the new rules. It makes the distinction that supplies like crutches don’t require a Rx but implies that glucose tabs will. Here’s the relevant question:

Q. How does this change affect over-the-counter medical devices and supplies?

A. The new rule does not apply to items for medical care that are not medicines or drugs. Thus, equipment such as crutches, supplies such as bandages, and diagnostic devices such as blood sugar test kits will still qualify for reimbursement by a health FSA or HRA if purchased after Dec. 31, 2010, and a distribution from an HSA or Archer MSA for the cost of such items will still be tax-free, regardless of whether the items are purchased using a prescription.

This is what I will try to do. Another comment here went through the process of submitting the actual Rx to the pharmacist and have her/him place a label on your over-the-counter glucose tabs. I’ll see how my FSA administrator responds to my claim.

After reading this on a CIGNA website regarding FSAs, your FSA administrator might deny coverage for gym memberships:

Health club dues - Health club dues, YMCA® dues, or amounts paid for steam baths for general health or to relieve physical or mental discomfort not related to a particular medical condition are not reimbursable.

One might need a doctor to write a letter detailing the positive health benefits for a diabetic to work out regularly.

It makes perfect sense to me that a gym membership that is utilized on a regular basis should be favored by tax policy as an incentive for better health, especially for diabetics.

This seems like a good system to get an FSA claim reimbursed without any questions. Thanks for the info.

Aetna allows it “When recommended by a health care professional for a medical condition, the cost of exercise equipment or an exercise program is a qualified medical expense. Submit evidence of medical necessity (e.g., prescription, doctor’s note) with the request for reimbursement.” I had to a get a prescription from my doctor.

Doctors can prescribe virtually anything and have probably had crazier requests. Just let him know that you need the medication prescribed so that you can be reimbursed for it. Doctors prescribe OTC medication and supplies all the time. Currently I have scripts for alcohol wipes, folic acid (an OTC supplement), Bayer 81mg asprin, athletes foot spray and shoe insoles (the Dr. Scholls type, not orthodic). All this so the VA or insurance will pick up part or all of the costs. In my life I’ve only had one pharmacist give me flak about an OTC being prescribed, and he didn’t comprehend the fact the prescription wasn’t to get the medication, it was for insurance/reimbursement purposes.