Can You Use Health Insurance to Cover a Massage Chair?

Can You Use Health Insurance to Cover a Massage Chair?

Individuals who use massage chairs to treat and prevent chronic lower back pain or other pains often have a common question. It’s a question that gets asked a lot, and many have answered: whether or not you can use your health insurance to cover a part or all of your massage chair expenditure. It’s natural to wonder about this because massage chairs are a considerable investment that requires a lot of planning.

Even with discounts and offers on massage chair stores on the internet, the most basic massage chair will set you back by at least a few thousand dollars at the minimum. It’s therefore not wrong to seek health insurance coverage to pay for the massage chair. The question is whether or not you can use FSA or HSA to cover for it.

The short answer is yes, but only some of you can qualify for the coverage. If you’re wondering why only some, it’s because you will be required to meet two conditions to get compensation for a luxury Japanese massage chair from an insurance company. You’ll either need to have a history of chronic back pain and must have either a Health Savings account or Flex Savings Account (FSA).

So, is a massage chair a qualified medical expense, and whether you can use your HSA or FSA to claim compensation? Here we will try to answer all your questions.

Is Massage Chair a Qualified Medical Expense?

It can be difficult to find a health insurance plan that will cover the cost of a new massage chair. But for many people, a new massage chair — or at least a portion of the cost – can be covered under certain benefit programs. 

Because the health insurance market has become so strict about what is and is not covered, you may have to get approval from your plan provider. Even if your health insurance does not cover the cost of a massage chair, you may be able to offset the expense of this useful purchase through other means.

The cost of a therapeutic massage chair may be deducted from your annual deductible in some health insurance policies. A doctor's prescription is usually required for the therapeutic chair. In addition, the insurance company will almost always need the chair to be classified as DME (durable medical equipment) under the provisions of the plan. Consult your benefits administrator or look up the benefits and terms of your healthcare plan to see if this is an option under your plan.

Is Massage Chair Covered by HSA?

An HSA is a standalone medical insurance plan, whereas an FSA is usually offered as a supplement to a standard healthcare plan. However, both are savings accounts where you can deposit earnings before tax as part of your health insurance. It can be done through a provider such as Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS), Allstate, Anthem, United Healthcare, and many others. Or, in the case of an FSA, a plan offered through your workplace. These accounts allow you to spend your money any way you want, as long as it's for medical reasons.

Because HSA savings roll over each year and remain your property as a policyholder, it's easy to understand how enough money can accrue to cover the cost of a massage chair. And this translates to significant savings for both the policyholder (who saves up to 30% on the massage chair due to the tax benefit) and the insurance company. The latter benefits from the comparatively low cost of massage therapy from a chair that continues to give massages year after year.

If you have a health savings account (HSA), you can call your insurance company to check if a massage chair is covered. Massage therapy and massage chairs aren't permitted charges, but they're also not on the list of specifically excluded expenses. You can buy a massage chair with the debit card supplied by your HSA after your insurance company gives a green light.

Can You Use FSA for Massage Chair?

When it comes to purchasing a massage chair, the FSA can be a little more, well, flexible. It offers the same tax benefits as an HSA. According to Section 125 of the IRS code and its Cafeteria Plan provision, a massage chair can be covered using many insurance policies offered through employees. 

If you have an FSA, you can use it for a variety of medical bills, as well as dependent care and other expenses. It is exempted from payroll taxes, resulting in significant payroll tax savings. Your FSA, like your HSA, has some money that rolls over at the end of the year. FSA savings could not be rolled over in the past, but now, thanks to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, you can carry over up to $500 into the following year without losing the cash.

So, if you want to buy a massage chair with your FSA funds, you'll need to check with the provider of your plan to see whether they'll approve the purchase. There are no hard and fast rules for whether or not a massage chair qualifies, just like there are none for the HSA. 

Massage, massage therapy, and massage chairs are not included in the list of specifically excluded items from FSA funds. So, if you need massage therapy for a medical reason, your chances of approval appear to be good. If you're approved, you'll be given a paper form to fill out, or you'll be able to buy your massage chair with your FSA debit card, which is also called a  Flex Card.

In short, while massage chairs might not be explicitly included in the health coverage and insurance, they are not entirely excluded either. You can contact your provider and show them a history of chronic pain to get it approved. Once the coverage gets approved, you can use your HSA or FSA account to purchase a massage chair.