Does HSA Cover Sports Massage?

woman running wearing armband

If you have an HSA (Health Savings Account), or know someone who does, you probably already know that it’s one of the best ways to pay out-of-pocket for your healthcare expenses, including massage therapy and other bodywork services.

You may even know that the IRS has ruled HSA contributions as tax-free if they are used solely to pay out-of-pocket medical expenses and/or health insurance premiums.

But do you know whether your HSA covers sports massage? Or what other things you should know about how HSAs can cover your massage therapy expenses?

Does HSA Cover Sports Massage? Like most health plans, HSAs cover preventive care (screenings, vaccinations and other medical procedures) without any cost to you. So you can have screenings and vaccinations without worrying about your deductible or co-pay.

But what happens if you need a medical procedure that isn’t on one of those lists? As with most health insurance plans, it depends on whether there is an exclusion for that service in your plan documents. What are exclusions? They are a technical term for services or treatments that aren’t covered by your health plan even though they may be medically necessary.

For example, some plans exclude coverage for weight loss surgery or cosmetic surgery unless it’s required due to an accident. It’s important to note that just because a treatment is excluded doesn’t mean you won’t be able to get it—it just means that your health plan won’t pay for it.

In fact, many insurers will require you to pay out-of-pocket up front and then submit paperwork later so they can reimburse you—but don’t let them push you around!

If something sounds wrong, talk to someone at your insurer right away. The more information we have, the better equipped we are to advocate on behalf of our members when there’s something wrong with their coverage.

What’s an HSA

An HSA is a health savings account. This account can be used to help pay for current health expenses and long-term care. It provides tax advantages by allowing you to save money on any qualified medical expenses you may incur.

Because it’s an IRA, once you reach 65 you can use it for whatever purpose you wish (e.g., retirement or future health costs). Most importantly, there are no income limits; anyone can contribute up to $3,350 in 2016 ($6,750 if 50+).  If that’s not enough space for your average massage session, then do keep reading…

What’s Covered in an HSA

If you have an HDHP, you can use funds from a tax-advantaged health savings account (HSA) to pay for most out-of-pocket expenses.

The purpose of an HSA is to save money for future medical expenses. However, many people are unaware that funds in an HSA may be used to pay for a variety of services and treatments not typically associated with traditional healthcare plans, including alternative and holistic care.

A health savings account can be beneficial whether you’re looking to save money on qualified medical expenses or seeking a new way to pay for non-medical services that could improve your quality of life—especially if those services are not covered by your current plan.

Can I Use an HSA to Pay for Pain Medicine?

Health savings accounts are designed to help you save money for things like dental work, doctor’s visits and prescriptions. While they can be used to pay for over-the-counter medicine, they are limited in terms of what they can be used for.

For example, you cannot use them to pay for medical treatment that is considered cosmetic, including tattoos and body piercings. Additionally, you can only use an HSA card up to an aggregate limit of $1,300 per year; anything beyond that requires pre-authorization from your insurance provider.

If these limitations prevent you from using all of your savings on pain medication as desired, there may be other options available.

How do I use my HSA funds?

Most employers will contribute a certain amount of money to their employees’ HSAs. (It’s like a 401(k) or FSA that is completely funded by an employer.) But, if you have to pay for your own insurance and therefore use your own HSA funds, you may be tempted to spend them on just about anything.

Although they are technically use it or lose it, you can transfer funds from one year to another if you haven’t used them. But don’t assume it is all yours! Not only will those funds be used toward premiums, but some of it may also go toward deductibles and co-pays too!

Final Word

Your high-deductible health plan (HDHP) may or may not include benefits for out-of-network services, including physical therapy and sports medicine. Check with state insurance regulators before making any assumptions about what is or isn’t covered by your plan.

What Do You Need To Become A Sports Massage Therapist?


Lynn has been writing at our blog for over two years. She currently writes about topics such as sleep, massage therapy, and cooking. Recently, she has teamed up with other bloggers to write about their life stories. Lynn is also a certified massage therapist who loves to express herself through cooking recipes she finds on Pinterest or food blogs. Lynn's blog is an outlet where she can share her passions with others while encouraging them to live the best version of themselves.

Recent Content