Using Your Health Savings Account (HSA) for Massage Therapy


Do you have a Health Savings Account (HSA) and are wondering if you can use the funds for massage therapy. The good news is massage therapy CAN be a qualified medical expense.

The IRS ruling states: “Medical expenses are the costs of diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, and the costs for treatments affecting any part or function of the body. These expenses include payments for legal medical services rendered by physicians, surgeons, dentists, and other medical practitioners. They include the costs of equipment, supplies, and diagnostic devices needed for these purposes. Medical care expenses must be primarily to alleviate or prevent a physical or mental defect or illness. They do not include expenses that are merely beneficial to general health, such as vitamins or a vacation.”

Examples of some conditions that COULD qualify are: carpel tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia, stress, chronic back/neck/shoulder pain, chronic fatigue syndrome, arthritis, anxiety, depression, migraines, pain after surgery, cancers, lymphedema. Massage therapy has been shown to be beneficial for all these conditions.  You don’t need to live with pain!

How to get Health Savings Account (HSA) approval for massage therapy.

Set up an appointment with your medical doctor and let them know that you have HSA funds that you would like to use for massage therapy for treatment/prevention of your condition.
If your physician agrees, they will need to provide three pieces of information on the prescription:
1. Medical necessity: why you need massage therapy (example: to relieve back pain)
2. Frequency: number of sessions per month (example: minimum of two sessions per month)
3. Duration: length of treatment (example: 3,6,9,12 months)

It’s also a good idea to be certain that you are getting the correct prescriptions/documentation in order to use your HSA funds so check with your employer. The appropriate department is usually human resources since they administer benefits for employees. If they can’t answer your question, then they should be able to direct you to the administrator of your HSA plan. It’s always best to be sure that you know that massage (with prescription) would be covered before you make your appointment so that you are not responsible for paying out of pocket or taking a tax hit.

Once you have the prescription then you can set up an appointment for massage. Keep the prescription in a safe place in case you need to provide documentation. Bring your HSA card with you to your appointment. NOTE: you cannot put tips to the therapist on your HSA card.

If your physician is not sure about the benefits of massage for your condition, I would be happy to provide them with articles and scientific research on how massage can help.

The great news is that I am now accepting HSA cards, so if you would like to discuss, please let me know how I can help you. I have weekend appointments available to make it easy for those who cannot do weekdays due to work/family obligations.

Below are the links to the IRS publications:
Health Savings Accounts: http://www.irs.gov/publications/p969/ar02.html
Medical Expenses: http://www.irs.gov/publications/p502/ar02.html#en_US_2012_publink1000178851

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