Can I buy probiotics or prebiotics with my FSA?
No, probiotics and prebiotics are not FSA-approved because they are considered food/ dietary supplements rather than a qualified medical expense. In fact, most supplements and vitamins are considered FSA-ineligible. The only exceptions are prental vitamins, glucosamine and fiber supplements.
What's the difference between probiotics and prebiotics?
Probiotics and prebiotics are dietary components that play essential roles in supporting gut health. While they sound similar, they serve different purposes in promoting a healthy digestive system.
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are beneficial for gut health when consumed as a food supplement. They can be found in certain fermented foods, such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi, as well as in probiotic supplements.
Prebiotics, on the other hand, are non-digestible fibers that serve as food for the beneficial bacteria in the gut. They help promote the growth and activity of probiotics and are found in foods like garlic, onions, bananas, and whole grains.
Are probiotics and prebiotics covered for a specific medical condition?
While most probiotics and prebiotics are not FSA-eligible, there are exceptions to the rule. Certain medically prescribed probiotics and prebiotics may qualify for FSA reimbursement with a Letter of Medical Necessity (LMN).
Probiotics may be prescribed by a medical care provider to address certain medical conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), antibiotic-associated diarrhea, or lactose intolerance. In these cases, probiotics may be deemed medically necessary and could be eligible for FSA reimbursement with an LMN.
While prebiotics are less commonly prescribed, there may be instances where they are recommended by a healthcare provider to address specific digestive health concerns. If a healthcare provider prescribes prebiotic supplements as part of a treatment plan for a medical condition, they may be eligible for FSA reimbursement with an LMN.
How do I get a letter of medical necessity for probiotics and prebiotics?
Before getting a letter of medical necessity (LMN), you should first confirm with your FSA provider that they will consider the expense FSA claim when submitted with an LMN. Once confirmed, you can go to your doctor or other relevant medical provider to get a letter that you will need to submit for reimbursement along with an itemzied receipt.
For any potential exceptions based on medical necessity, you need to keep itemized receipts and an LMN from a qualified healthcare provider as supporting documentation when seeking FSA reimbursement for probiotics or prebiotics.
Are there other supplements that are FSA approved?
There are five specific types of vitamins/ supplements that are considered qualified medical expenses under FSA rules:
- Prenatal Vitamins
- Electrolytes for Rehydration
- Fiber Supplements
- Glucose Supplements (Diabetic Care)