Question of the month: Can I get reimbursed for pet expenses from my HSA?

Dear Gina: My dog was recently diagnosed with a urinary tract infection and requires medication an special food. Since these are medical expenses – and my dog is dependent on me – can I be reimbursed from my Health Savings Account? The prescribed antibiotics are what humans take as well?

A: I’m frequently asked at FSA and/or HSA enrollment meetings if pet expenses are eligible for reimbursement through a Flexible Spending Account or Health Savings Account plan. Everyone laughs nervously but are keenly interested in the answer because pet costs are expensive! Unfortunately, in general, they are not eligible for the average participant. However, in my research I found an exception. The expenses of buying, training and maintaining a guide dog (or other animal) to assist a visually impaired, hearing impaired, physically disabled or mentally disabled person would qualify. This includes any costs incurred in maintaining the animal’s health and vitality so that it may perform its duties. Expenses such as for food, grooming and veterinary care are eligible as in this case.




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