Insurance/Medical Spending Account Question

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Insurance/Medical Spending Account Question

Postby Coog83 » Mon Jan 16, 2006 4:21 pm

Has anyone had experience with insurance or medical spending account claims for expenses indirectly related to MS (expenses other than medicines, doctor, hospital, MRI, etc.)? Health club dues for an MS patient, for example. If so, what types of expenses did you have covered and did you need to submit any additional documents, such as a letter of necessity from your doctor?

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Medical Reimbursement Accounts

Postby Shayk » Mon Jan 16, 2006 5:09 pm


I've had experience with medical reimbursement accounts available via my employer. Yes, I've had to supply a physician's order for "extras" such as supplements, membership in a fitness center, water aerobics classes, etc. So far my neuro has agreed to order "everything" I've requested to help manage my MS.

In my case it has to be very specific, i.e., aerobics 3 x week, water aerobics 2 x week, each supplement individually listed, etc. The medical reimbursement provider supplies the "physician's order" form to be completed and signed by the neuro.

Hope this helps. In my case it's a great benefit because in the U.S. medical reimbursement expenses such as those I listed are not taxed. I can also claim all of my medical co-pays via the medical reimbursement account.

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Postby LisaBee » Mon Jan 16, 2006 5:17 pm

I'm not sure, but requirements may vary with the medical spending account so if you have an account through your employer go through all the small print.

I can point out some oddities in my own medical spending account, but am not sure all accounts are the same. For example, the account I have will reimburse for OTC medications like aspirin and eyedrops, but not for any vitamins or nutritional supplements. The fees I paid for a nutritionist consultation were reimbursed, but I could not get reimbursed for any vitamins or nutritional supplements the nutritionist recommended I take to help with MS. Even the CoQ10 recommended by a doctor to take with statins was not eligible, although if I got a "prescription" it might have been. The only exception to vitamins in my account program is apparently vitamins for pregnant women, but I could be wrong. I believe chiropractor or massage therapy is covered (haven't used those), but don't believe exercise classes are, even if recommended by a doctor. However, physical therapy with a physical therapist is covered.

The bias against including vitamins and nutritional supplements is really odd, in my mind, because to me nutrition is such a vital part of health, and there have been some double-blinded studies showing the benefit of certain supplements for MS-related symptoms. I'm guessing that is to curb the use of rip-off "snake oil" products to lose weight. Or a pre-tax "health spa cruise" and other potential abuses. However, I don't understand the bias against allowing reimbursement for exercise programs. There is definitely a "pro-drug" but "anti-exercise" and "anti-nutrition" bias built into the medical spending accounts.

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