Author Topic: Using HSA funds for orthodontics?  (Read 32175 times)

begood

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Using HSA funds for orthodontics?
« on: July 01, 2014, 09:06:28 AM »
Hi! I did a search but couldn't find anything on the forum that related to braces or orthodontics.

Our tween needs braces. Not for cosmetic purposes alone - she has a very small mouth and lots of teeth; her 12-year molars have nowhere to come in and are poking almost sideways in the X-ray. Braces will help create space in her mouth for all her teeth to fit.

The woman at the orthodontist's office said we should be able to use HSA funds to pay for the braces, and I wondered whether anyone here had successfully done so.

It would be nice to do so for two reasons:

I've already saved the almost $5K in the HSA
The HSA money is contributed pre-tax

But if it's an iffy IRS-related deal that might come back to bite me in the ass later, then it doesn't seem worth it.

Thoughts, oh mustachied ones?

rtrnow

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Re: Using HSA funds for orthodontics?
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2014, 09:18:01 AM »
You can use HSA money for orthodontics.

keepitsimple

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Re: Using HSA funds for orthodontics?
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2014, 10:35:37 AM »
Yep, you can use it.  We plan on doing so in a couple years for our youngest.

begood

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Re: Using HSA funds for orthodontics?
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2014, 11:38:29 AM »
Thanks for the swift replies!

This is good news. It's only second year with an HSA, so it doesn't have a big balance, but it should be enough to pay the per-month cost for TWO YEARS. OMG.

GGNoob

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Re: Using HSA funds for orthodontics?
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2014, 11:51:45 AM »
Here's a source if you are interested:

http://www.irs.gov/publications/p502/ar02.html#en_US_2013_publink1000178923

Quote
Dental Treatment

You can include in medical expenses the amounts you pay for the prevention and alleviation of dental disease. Preventive treatment includes the services of a dental hygienist or dentist for such procedures as teeth cleaning, the application of sealants, and fluoride treatments to prevent tooth decay. Treatment to alleviate dental disease include services of a dentist for procedures such as X-rays, fillings, braces, extractions, dentures, and other dental ailments. But see Teeth Whitening under What Expenses Are Not Includible, later.

gimp

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Re: Using HSA funds for orthodontics?
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2014, 12:20:47 PM »
Definitely can do it.

Better yet, though: an HSA allows you to reimburse yourself for medical expenses if you have a receipt. There's no sunset clause on that, no date, no "it has to be within x months". So some people pay for the medical bills out of pocket, save the receipts, and now they can withdraw that money from their HSA whenever they want.

Downside: You're paying post-tax money.

Upside: You can keep the money in the HSA, growing completely tax free, and withdraw it at any time - completely tax-free - for any purpose, as a reimbursement for medical bills paid in the past. It's like keeping it in the best savings account ever, withdrawable at any time.

begood

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Re: Using HSA funds for orthodontics?
« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2014, 12:27:43 PM »
Here's a source if you are interested:

http://www.irs.gov/publications/p502/ar02.html#en_US_2013_publink1000178923

Quote
Dental Treatment

You can include in medical expenses the amounts you pay for the prevention and alleviation of dental disease. Preventive treatment includes the services of a dental hygienist or dentist for such procedures as teeth cleaning, the application of sealants, and fluoride treatments to prevent tooth decay. Treatment to alleviate dental disease include services of a dentist for procedures such as X-rays, fillings, braces, extractions, dentures, and other dental ailments. But see Teeth Whitening under What Expenses Are Not Includible, later.

Thanks, logant1337!

She might need extractions eventually - we're doing everything we can to avoid all but the unavoidable wisdom teeth - so it's great to see that we could use the HSA money for that too.

I have to assume the braces payments would not count toward our high-deductible health plan, since the dental is not through our health insurance. This stuff makes me dizzy, I swear. But I do want to use it if I have to have it, and I'm really happy to know the orthodontic stuff qualifies. Awesome.

GGNoob

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Re: Using HSA funds for orthodontics?
« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2014, 02:40:50 PM »
Now I'm not sure how you are using your HSA, but here's a couple of notes to keep in mind:
  • You do not need to reimburse yourself in the same year the expense occurred. So if you can afford it, feel free to let your account build up for a while before you reimburse yourself.
  • An HSA can be used as a regular retirement account at age 65. So feel free to invest it in Vanguard Mutual Funds (at something like http://hsaadministrators.info/) so that it can build up over time.
My wife and I are maxing out her HSA and going to let it build up for at least a few years before we reimburse ourselves (unless something major comes along that we can't afford). I keep physical and scanned copies of the receipt with a spreadsheet tracking all expenses.

I'm not a good blogger, but if you go to the blog in my signature, I have a post about an HSA and these two benefits.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2014, 06:54:04 PM by logant1337 »

iwasjustwondering

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Re: Using HSA funds for orthodontics?
« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2014, 05:01:41 PM »
Yes, absolutely.  I do it.