Using FSA & HSA for hearing aids

Nearly 29 million American adults could benefit from wearing hearing aids, and while hearing aids are not often covered by insurance, if you have been delaying getting hearing aids because of the cost, there are other ways you can buy affordable hearing aids.

29 million

Nearly 29 million American adults could benefit from wearing hearing aids.

Health Spending Accounts

If you wish to put some money aside for future health care costs, such as purchasing hearing aids, health spending accounts are designed to help. These accounts can be used for qualified medical expenses. Two forms of health spending accounts are:

  1. Flexible Spending Account (FSA)
  2. Health Spending Account (HSA)

It’s common for both HSAs and FSAs to have linked debit cards, so paying for your hearing aids is even easier.

Flexible Spending Account (FSA)

A Flexible Spending Account (FSA), sometimes referred to as a Flexible Spending Agreement, can be arranged through your employer and lets you pay for many medical expenses such as buying medical devices, like hearing aids, tax-free. The funds are taken out of your pay check before tax is paid on it, so you don't pay tax on this amount.  You can determine how much money you want to pay into an FSA, and you won’t be taxed on any of this money. If there is money left at the end of the year, the employer will either (but not both):

  • Allow you 2.5 more months to spend the leftover money
  • Let you carry over up to $500 to the next year’s plan

Health Savings Account (HSA)

A health savings account is a type of medical savings account that you can use to pay for certain medical costs and save on taxes. To qualify for an HSA, you must already be covered by a high-deductible health plan and own the HSA and the money in it. You cannot open an HSA if you are covered by Medicaid or Medicare or recorded as dependent on somebody’s tax return. Other features of the health savings account include:

  • Your money will roll over from year to year so there’s no risk of you losing it
  • Anyone can deposit money into your account
  • An annual limit of how much can be deposited into the account is set by the IRS each year
  • If you open an HSA but then subsequently stop your high-deductible health plan, you are still able to keep the account. However, you can’t put money in it but you can either save or withdraw the funds in it

Paying for hearing aids with an FSA or HSA

HSAs and FSAs are generally funded through your payroll. This means that this portion of your income is not taxed. However, if you choose to withdraw the funds for something other than health care expenses, it will then become liable for tax. But if you use the money to buy hearing aids (and hearing aid batteries), then it won’t be taxed. Depending on which plan you have, if you have been holding off buying your hearing aids, it’s a good idea to use your FSA before the end of the year. The funds in your HSA will roll over to the next year, so you have less pressure on ensuring the money is used in time.

Hearing aids may not reverse hearing loss but they do have the potential to transform lives and allow people to become part of their community once again. While the cost of hearing aids can often put people off, an HSA or FSA can make it easier and more affordable to buy hearing aids and you can be enjoying life again, sooner rather than later.

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