Making the Most of your HSA (Health Spending Account) Benefits as an Athlete

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Athletes are no strangers to emergency rooms and doctors’ offices. In fact, every year approximately 8.6 million sports-related injuries are reported in the USA. While not all injuries are serious enough to warrant extensive medical treatment, even successive trips to the pharmacy can end up costing a small fortune. Thankfully, there are a number of ways athletes can reduce their spending when it comes to staying healthy. Having a Health Spending Account (HSA) can be of great benefit as it can help you save money on everything from doctor’s visits and emergency room trips to sports injury and rehabilitation supplies. Here’s a closer look at a few ways an athlete can spend their HSA funds.

Invest in Pain Relief and Recovery Supplies

Athletes who train hard frequently tend to go through a lot of medical supplies. Many of these supplies, including ice packs, ibuprofen and other painkillers, and sports tape are HSA-eligible expenses. Other common purchases that also qualify for HSA reimbursement are compression socks and sleeves and braces for your knees, wrists, ankles, and shoulders. Although a normal, relaxing massage won’t qualify as an HSA expense, massages that form part of injury rehabilitation may qualify as long as it is recommended by a medical practitioner. If an athlete has a lingering injury that requires frequent massaging, it might be a good idea to look for an HSA-eligible massage gun that will end up saving a considerable amount of time and money in the long run.

Doctor’s Visits and Rehab are Covered

As long as the treatment you seek out from a medical practitioner qualifies as an HSA expense, any visit to a doctor or physical therapist will be eligible as well. HSA funds can also be used as a reimbursement for certain treatment-related travel expenses. This can be a very useful way to spend available funds, especially if the specialist/therapist you are seeing is located an hour’s drive away. If a sports injury requires major surgery or comprehensive rehabilitation, maxing out the HSA might be something worth considering. Common sports-related surgeries such as ACL repairs, knee replacements, and ligament reconstruction all carry a hefty price tag, and using available HSA funds can be of great benefit as a nifty tax deduction will be passed at the end of the year.

Look After Your Mental Health Too

For countless athletes, performance anxiety, burnout, and even depression are a very real part of their everyday lives. Unfortunately, mental health stigma makes it very hard for some athletes to seek the care they require.  Luckily, many mental health services provided by psychiatrists, psychologists, and licensed therapists and social workers, are covered by HSA, making it considerably easier to access. Any medication prescribed by a mental health practitioner will also be HSA-eligible. Depending on the extent of the condition, a practitioner may also request certain lifestyle changes which, again, may qualify as HSA expenses. 

There are many ways an athlete can benefit from a Health Spending Account. In addition to using it for regular doctor’s appointments and medical supplies, it can also be used to stay on top of any mental health concerns that may arise.