How to Use Insurance to Help Cover Your Favorite Beauty Products

How to Use Insurance to Help Cover Your Favorite Beauty Products featured image
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If you’re anything like me, the word insurance generally evokes anxiety. Swapping insurance information after a fender bender or receiving the bills your medical insurance didn’t cover is never fun. However, we’ve recently discovered much more pleasant uses for our insurance. The little-known secret about using your insurance to get deals on your favorite beauty products has been circulating online, especially, since we laid out how easy it is to nab the deals from Sephora.

Enter FSA (Flexible Spending Accounts) and HSA (Health Savings Account) savings. This year’s deadline to spend is March 15, so if you have money left in your account, now is the time to spend.

What are FSA and HSA accounts?

FSA and HSA accounts are health benefits some employees in the U.S. offer. These accounts allow employees to set aside a certain amount of pretax money from their paychecks. That money can then be used to purchase eligible health-related expenses, including certain beauty and skin-care items.

What is the difference between FSA and HSA accounts?

Both FSA and HSA accounts can be used to pay for qualified healthcare expenses with pretax dollars. Generally, an employee can opt into these during open enrollment. There are a few main differences between an FSA and HSA account to note. “Funds in an FSA expire yearly versus HSA funds which do not expire,” explains Dallas dermatologist Jeaneen Chappell, MD. “Only certain high deductible insurance plans qualify for an HSA account.” Lastly, “Funds in an HSA account can be invested versus FSA funds which cannot.”

How can you use FSA or HSA to buy beauty/wellness products?

There are two main ways to spend FSA and HSA funds. While some accounts will provide a card, others will need you to submit receipts after purchases for reimbursement, says Dr. Chappel. She recommends familiarizing yourself with your plan’s list of eligible expenses and reimbursement rules before setting out to spend. We suggest always keeping your receipts on hand just in case.

Some websites, like Sephora, clearly mark items that qualify for FSA or HSA spending making it easier to shop assuredly. Another good resource is fsastore.com or hsastore.com, which allows you to scrap the guesswork and purchase directly through a marketplace that guarantees FSA/HSA eligible products, the team explains to us. “It’s the company’s mission to help millions of flexible spending account holders manage and use their FSAs and save on more than 4,000 health items using tax-free health money.”

What are some products that are covered?

Eligible products may vary by plan. According to Sephora, things like sunscreens with SPF 15+, acne treatments, acne preventions, medicated skin treatments, blue light therapy masks and prenatal vitamins qualify for FSA and HSA savings. Aloe lotions for sunburn, hand sanitizer, anti-itch creams, facial cleansers, toners, moisturizers, LED masks for acne, corn remover pads, medicated shampoos and cold sore creams are also often covered, says Dr. Chappell. Some, more intense or expensive, products require a letter of medical necessity from a provider in order to receive reimbursement.

Products from some of our favorite brands like La-Roche Posay, Hero Cosmetics, CeraVe, Therabody and Supergoop are even covered. Daily necessities like menstrual care, allergy medication, band-aids, pain relievers and chapstick are also eligible.

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