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Monique Y. Mudama
August 6th 06, 06:26 AM
I actually just logged onto my FSA website and am looking at their
page on eligibility.

To wit:

Psychoanalysis


Dual purpose (These are services/items that are generally known to be
used for both a medical purpose and a personal, cosmetic, or general
health purpose. These dual-purpose services/items qualify for
reimbursement under a health FSA or a tax-free distribution from an
HSA only if there is appropriate proof that the service/item was
incurred/obtained primarily for medical care (e.g. a medical
practitioner's diagnosis of a medical condition and evidence that the
expenditure is recommended in order to treat the diagnosed medical
condition). We identify dual purpose expenses with a yellow caution
icon, showing that one must proceed with caution in determining
whether the service/item qualifies.)


Yes, if provided for medical care, and not just for the general
improvement of mental health, relief of stress, or personal enjoyment,
nor if the expense stems from training to be a psychoanalyst. Also see
Psychologist and Therapy.

Personal enjoyment??? I mean, I like my therapist, but come on now! I
wasn't aware of this particular restriction. They certainly didn't
question me when I submitted the claims a few months ago, perhaps
because (aha) my insurance company *did* pony up for it. I think it
works like, "If the insurance company will cover it *or* if a doctor
will write a prescription for it, it's covered." In fact, I seem to
recall verbiage to that effect, although I don't recall where.




Massage therapy


Dual purpose


The costs of a massage just to improve general health don't qualify.
However, if the massage therapy was recommended by a physician to
treat a specific injury or trauma, then it would qualify.

I used my FSA specifically for massage related to my wrist.

The whole "You can only get help paying for stuff to fix what's
broken, not to keep you well" line seems very backwards to me, and
very Western medicine, but I'm open minded -- can anyone think of a
good reason for this attitude?

--
monique, who spoils Oscar unmercifully

pictures: http://www.bounceswoosh.org/rpca

August 6th 06, 10:37 AM
Monique Y. Mudama > wrote:

> Yes, if provided for medical care, and not just for the general
> improvement of mental health, relief of stress, or personal
> enjoyment, nor if the expense stems from training to be a
> psychoanalyst. Also see Psychologist and Therapy.

> Personal enjoyment??? I mean, I like my therapist, but come on now!

I was disturbed by the idea that "relief of stress" or "improvement
of mental health" are not considered medical treatment. And since when
is psychotherapy a *cosmetic* treatment?

Joyce

William Hamblen
August 6th 06, 12:19 PM
On 06 Aug 2006 09:37:17 GMT, wrote:

>I was disturbed by the idea that "relief of stress" or "improvement
>of mental health" are not considered medical treatment. And since when
>is psychotherapy a *cosmetic* treatment?

It's like the difference between physical therapy (recovery from an
injury or illness) and going to the gym (improvement of physical well
being).

--
The night is just the shadow of the Earth.

H. Adam Stevens
August 6th 06, 12:30 PM
"William Hamblen" > wrote in message
...
> On 06 Aug 2006 09:37:17 GMT, wrote:
>
>>I was disturbed by the idea that "relief of stress" or "improvement
>>of mental health" are not considered medical treatment. And since when
>>is psychotherapy a *cosmetic* treatment?
>
> It's like the difference between physical therapy (recovery from an
> injury or illness) and going to the gym (improvement of physical well
> being).
>

The difference being who pays the "personal trainer".

> --
> The night is just the shadow of the Earth.

jmcquown
August 6th 06, 02:00 PM
H. Adam Stevens wrote:
> "William Hamblen" > wrote in message
> ...
>> On 06 Aug 2006 09:37:17 GMT, wrote:
>>
>>> I was disturbed by the idea that "relief of stress" or "improvement
>>> of mental health" are not considered medical treatment. And since
>>> when is psychotherapy a *cosmetic* treatment?
>>
>> It's like the difference between physical therapy (recovery from an
>> injury or illness) and going to the gym (improvement of physical well
>> being).
>>
>
> The difference being who pays the "personal trainer".
>

With an FSA, there shouldn't be a distinction since the money comes out of
the person's paycheck, not out of the coffers of someone else.

Jill

Monique Y. Mudama
August 6th 06, 03:25 PM
On 2006-08-06, penned:
> Monique Y. Mudama > wrote:
>
> > Yes, if provided for medical care, and not just for the general
> > improvement of mental health, relief of stress, or personal
> > enjoyment, nor if the expense stems from training to be a
> > psychoanalyst. Also see Psychologist and Therapy.
>
> > Personal enjoyment??? I mean, I like my therapist, but come on
> > now!
>
> I was disturbed by the idea that "relief of stress" or "improvement
> of mental health" are not considered medical treatment. And since
> when is psychotherapy a *cosmetic* treatment?

Um, I don't see the part about cosmetic treatment? If you're talking
about the details of the middle paragraph you snipped, the full
description of the "it depends" classification was listed elsewhere,
and I copied it into the entry. It didn't only apply to therapy.

For whatever reason, the FSA stuff always draws a distinction between
"treating an illness" and "taking care of yourself so you don't get
sick in the first place." I think that's what they mean by medical
care. You get reimbursed for ibuprofin, but not vitamins. Physical
therapy, but not going to the gym. Again, I don't have an explanation
for it, but am open to hearing one if anyone has one.


--
monique, who spoils Oscar unmercifully

pictures: http://www.bounceswoosh.org/rpca

August 6th 06, 08:20 PM
Monique Y. Mudama > wrote:

> For whatever reason, the FSA stuff always draws a distinction between
> "treating an illness" and "taking care of yourself so you don't get
> sick in the first place." I think that's what they mean by medical
> care. You get reimbursed for ibuprofin, but not vitamins. Physical
> therapy, but not going to the gym. Again, I don't have an explanation
> for it, but am open to hearing one if anyone has one.

It's interesting, because regular insurance plans have gotten smarter
about preventative care. I think they've started to figure out that it's
much cheaper to maintain good health than to cure ill health. Of course,
things are going to come up no matter how much you take care of yourself,
but many illnesses can be prevented, and over a population, it must end
up costing them less if they pay to help keep people healthy.

But why not the FSA, I wonder?

Joyce

Monique Y. Mudama
August 7th 06, 05:38 AM
On 2006-08-06, penned:
>
> It's interesting, because regular insurance plans have gotten
> smarter about preventative care. I think they've started to figure
> out that it's much cheaper to maintain good health than to cure ill
> health. Of course, things are going to come up no matter how much
> you take care of yourself, but many illnesses can be prevented, and
> over a population, it must end up costing them less if they pay to
> help keep people healthy.
>
> But why not the FSA, I wonder?

Well, the rules are federally mandated, and the federal govt isn't
known for its speedy response to medical and scientific findings ...
well, it's not known for its speedy response to anything!


--
monique, who spoils Oscar unmercifully

pictures: http://www.bounceswoosh.org/rpca

jmcquown
August 7th 06, 09:38 AM
Monique Y. Mudama wrote:
> On 2006-08-06, penned:
>>
>> It's interesting, because regular insurance plans have gotten
>> smarter about preventative care. I think they've started to figure
>> out that it's much cheaper to maintain good health than to cure ill
>> health. Of course, things are going to come up no matter how much
>> you take care of yourself, but many illnesses can be prevented, and
>> over a population, it must end up costing them less if they pay to
>> help keep people healthy.
>>
>> But why not the FSA, I wonder?
>
> Well, the rules are federally mandated, and the federal govt isn't
> known for its speedy response to medical and scientific findings ...
> well, it's not known for its speedy response to anything!

I said it before and I'll say it again: rather than putting your money into
an FSA where someone tells you what you can or can't do with your own money,
set up a savings account and use that to fund your vitamins, trips to the
gym, massage therapist, herbalist or whatever. I never understood the whole
"use it or lose it" thing with the FSA offered by my former employer. It
was your money to begin with; they shouldn't be able to take it away (OR
tell you what you can and cannot spend it on if such things weren't covered
by your health insurance).

Jill

Monique Y. Mudama
August 7th 06, 03:11 PM
On 2006-08-07, jmcquown penned:
> Monique Y. Mudama wrote:
>>
>> Well, the rules are federally mandated, and the federal govt isn't
>> known for its speedy response to medical and scientific findings
>> ... well, it's not known for its speedy response to anything!
>
> I said it before and I'll say it again: rather than putting your
> money into an FSA where someone tells you what you can or can't do
> with your own money, set up a savings account and use that to fund
> your vitamins, trips to the gym, massage therapist, herbalist or
> whatever. I never understood the whole "use it or lose it" thing
> with the FSA offered by my former employer. It was your money to
> begin with; they shouldn't be able to take it away (OR tell you what
> you can and cannot spend it on if such things weren't covered by
> your health insurance).

And I've said it before: the FSA gives you tax savings. It's not for
every situation, but I don't see the point of having a savings account
for regular expenses *at all*. Savings account for rare large
expenses, sure, that makes sense. But what's the point in having a
savings account for monthly expenses?


--
monique, who spoils Oscar unmercifully

pictures: http://www.bounceswoosh.org/rpca

jmcquown
August 7th 06, 04:37 PM
Monique Y. Mudama wrote:
> On 2006-08-07, jmcquown penned:
>> Monique Y. Mudama wrote:
>>>
>>> Well, the rules are federally mandated, and the federal govt isn't
>>> known for its speedy response to medical and scientific findings
>>> ... well, it's not known for its speedy response to anything!
>>
>> I said it before and I'll say it again: rather than putting your
>> money into an FSA where someone tells you what you can or can't do
>> with your own money, set up a savings account and use that to fund
>> your vitamins, trips to the gym, massage therapist, herbalist or
>> whatever. I never understood the whole "use it or lose it" thing
>> with the FSA offered by my former employer. It was your money to
>> begin with; they shouldn't be able to take it away (OR tell you what
>> you can and cannot spend it on if such things weren't covered by
>> your health insurance).
>
> And I've said it before: the FSA gives you tax savings. It's not for
> every situation, but I don't see the point of having a savings account
> for regular expenses *at all*. Savings account for rare large
> expenses, sure, that makes sense. But what's the point in having a
> savings account for monthly expenses?

You're the one who complained about items not covered by your FSA, not me.
It's your money. You should be able to spend it however you will is all I'm
saying. There shouldn't be a list of exclusions when its your money.

Jill

Monique Y. Mudama
August 7th 06, 05:12 PM
On 2006-08-07, jmcquown penned:
>
> You're the one who complained about items not covered by your FSA,
> not me. It's your money. You should be able to spend it however
> you will is all I'm saying. There shouldn't be a list of exclusions
> when its your money.

Actually, with this thread, I was trying to clarify some questions
others had about how the FSA works. Look, it's all very well that you
have decided that, should it be offered to you, you would reject an
FSA, but I feel that it's important for people to understand the
options and make an educated decision themselves. That's why I went
to the effort to find out the details about psychotherapy, massage,
etc. I already know how the plan works for my particular needs.

It's no more true that no one should ever use an FSA than that
everyone should always use an FSA.

--
monique, who spoils Oscar unmercifully

pictures: http://www.bounceswoosh.org/rpca

jmcquown
August 7th 06, 08:48 PM
Monique Y. Mudama wrote:
> On 2006-08-07, jmcquown penned:
>>
>> You're the one who complained about items not covered by your FSA,
>> not me. It's your money. You should be able to spend it however
>> you will is all I'm saying. There shouldn't be a list of exclusions
>> when its your money.
>
> Actually, with this thread, I was trying to clarify some questions
> others had about how the FSA works. Look, it's all very well that you
> have decided that, should it be offered to you, you would reject an
> FSA, but I feel that it's important for people to understand the
> options and make an educated decision themselves. That's why I went
> to the effort to find out the details about psychotherapy, massage,
> etc. I already know how the plan works for my particular needs.
>
> It's no more true that no one should ever use an FSA than that
> everyone should always use an FSA.

Whatever, Monique. You're obviously the one in charge of whether or not you
want to sign up for the FSA and if they don't cover whatever you think they
should (vitatmins, massages, whatever) then take it up with the plan
administrator. Or don't sign up. That's all I was saying.

How is Oscar's paw, by the way? Are the soaks helping?

Jill

August 7th 06, 08:58 PM
Monique Y. Mudama wrote:
> On 2006-08-07, jmcquown penned:
> >
> > You're the one who complained about items not covered by your FSA,
> > not me. It's your money. You should be able to spend it however
> > you will is all I'm saying. There shouldn't be a list of exclusions
> > when its your money.
>
> Actually, with this thread, I was trying to clarify some questions
> others had about how the FSA works. Look, it's all very well that you
> have decided that, should it be offered to you, you would reject an
> FSA, but I feel that it's important for people to understand the
> options and make an educated decision themselves. That's why I went
> to the effort to find out the details about psychotherapy, massage,
> etc. I already know how the plan works for my particular needs.
>
> It's no more true that no one should ever use an FSA than that
> everyone should always use an FSA.
>
> --
> monique, who spoils Oscar unmercifully

I mull over the FSA thing every January at enrollment time, and always
pass on it. Not that it's not a good deal re: tax savings, it is. And
we spend an easy 2 grand every year on medical. But I am terrible with
paperwork and getting things sent in on time. The way our FSA works,
that could be disastrous. Maybe this year I'll turn over a new leaf.

Sherry

Monique Y. Mudama
August 7th 06, 10:06 PM
On 2006-08-07, penned:
>
> I mull over the FSA thing every January at enrollment time, and
> always pass on it. Not that it's not a good deal re: tax savings, it
> is. And we spend an easy 2 grand every year on medical. But I am
> terrible with paperwork and getting things sent in on time. The way
> our FSA works, that could be disastrous. Maybe this year I'll turn
> over a new leaf.

That's definitely another risk. Several years ago, I withheld $500
and never filed paperwork for any of it. Dumb of me, but there it is.

I've seen two very useful innovations: One, sometimes the FSA is run
by the same company as the insurance, and you can elect to have them
automatically mail you a check whenever they process a claim for which
you will owe money.

Two, something that my current FSA does that's really sweet, you can
get a VISA card for the FSA. So instead of paying and getting
reimbursements, you can swipe the card and it's taken out of your FSA
directly.

A lot also do direct deposits, which is another nice to have.


--
monique, who spoils Oscar unmercifully

pictures: http://www.bounceswoosh.org/rpca

Monique Y. Mudama
August 7th 06, 10:09 PM
On 2006-08-07, jmcquown penned:
>
> Whatever, Monique. You're obviously the one in charge of whether or
> not you want to sign up for the FSA and if they don't cover whatever
> you think they should (vitatmins, massages, whatever) then take it
> up with the plan administrator. Or don't sign up. That's all I was
> saying.

I'd have to take it up with my congress critter, as the coverage is
federally mandated.

Anyway, as I said, this thread wasn't about what they should or
shouldn't cover. It was supposed to be about what they do and don't
cover, which is important to know in deciding whether to use the plan.

> How is Oscar's paw, by the way? Are the soaks helping?

Thanks for asking. I think they are, but we may have taken a step back
last night. The paw looked much better, and DH suggested taking off the
collar to see what she would do. Of course we realized shortly
thereafter that she was going after the paw with a vengeance.

At least the scabs are much smaller. I guess that's good.


--
monique, who spoils Oscar unmercifully

pictures: http://www.bounceswoosh.org/rpca

August 7th 06, 11:06 PM
wrote:
> Monique Y. Mudama > wrote:
>
> > That's definitely another risk. Several years ago, I withheld $500
> > and never filed paperwork for any of it. Dumb of me, but there it is.
>
> This has been an ongoing issue for me as well. I can't tell you how
> much money I've wasted in my life because of laziness/mental blocks/
> procrastination/just-don't-wanna-do-it attitude around paperwork!
>
> Here's a question about a minor issue: what does the "F" stand for in
> FSA? I've always heard it described as a *health* spending account. Does
> it stand for Federal?
>
> Joyce

August 7th 06, 11:08 PM
wrote:
> Monique Y. Mudama > wrote:
>
> > That's definitely another risk. Several years ago, I withheld $500
> > and never filed paperwork for any of it. Dumb of me, but there it is.
>
> This has been an ongoing issue for me as well. I can't tell you how
> much money I've wasted in my life because of laziness/mental blocks/
> procrastination/just-don't-wanna-do-it attitude around paperwork!
>
> Here's a question about a minor issue: what does the "F" stand for in
> FSA? I've always heard it described as a *health* spending account. Does
> it stand for Federal?
>
> Joyce

I think it's Flexible Spending Account. (But ours isn't all that
flexible)

I'm glad to hear someone else is a paperwork-procrastinator. I screwed
up on a rebate form just recently, put it off too long, and missed out.
It was only $35 but it just made me so mad at myself.

Sherry

Monique Y. Mudama
August 8th 06, 12:11 AM
On 2006-08-07, penned:
> Monique Y. Mudama > wrote:
>
> > That's definitely another risk. Several years ago, I withheld
> > $500 and never filed paperwork for any of it. Dumb of me, but
> > there it is.
>
> This has been an ongoing issue for me as well. I can't tell you how
> much money I've wasted in my life because of laziness/mental blocks/
> procrastination/just-don't-wanna-do-it attitude around paperwork!

Me too. I'd rather not think about it.

> Here's a question about a minor issue: what does the "F" stand for
> in FSA? I've always heard it described as a *health* spending
> account. Does it stand for Federal?

Flexible.

Go ahead, laugh!

--
monique, who spoils Oscar unmercifully

pictures: http://www.bounceswoosh.org/rpca

August 8th 06, 01:37 AM
wrote:

> I think it's Flexible Spending Account. (But ours isn't all that
> flexible)

Ah, of course. I have heard that term before. Maybe it's now a more
regulated thing. The last time I actually used one was almost 20 years
ago, so it has probably been changed a lot since then, including the
name.

> I'm glad to hear someone else is a paperwork-procrastinator. I screwed
> up on a rebate form just recently, put it off too long, and missed out.
> It was only $35 but it just made me so mad at myself.

Yeah. With me it's more like racking up late fees, finance changes,
overdraft fines, etc. It really adds up. I'm a dummyhead! :) It's hard
to get into good habits with these things if you have never learned it
correctly. I'm better than I used to be, but I've been working on it
since the 80s, so I should hope so!!

Joyce

jmcquown
August 8th 06, 03:07 AM
wrote:
> Monique Y. Mudama > wrote:
>
> > That's definitely another risk. Several years ago, I withheld $500
> > and never filed paperwork for any of it. Dumb of me, but there it
> is.
>
> This has been an ongoing issue for me as well. I can't tell you how
> much money I've wasted in my life because of laziness/mental blocks/
> procrastination/just-don't-wanna-do-it attitude around paperwork!
>
> Here's a question about a minor issue: what does the "F" stand for in
> FSA? I've always heard it described as a *health* spending account.
> Does it stand for Federal?
>
> Joyce

Flexible. But not so 'Flexible' that you can use it for whatever you wish.