Can I Use My FSA to Pay For Plastic Surgery?

Board Certified Plastic Surgeon Serving Areas Near Houston & Sugar Land, TX

Jan 10, 2011

Plastic surgery is a large investment in oneself that requires some advance financial planning in most instances.  Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA’s) are benefits offered by many employers to allow their employees to offset certain medical expenses by setting aside pre-tax dollars from employees’ salaries.  For example, an employee who earns $75,000 per year may elect to set aside $1,000 per month to his/her FSA thereby reducing his/her taxable income to  $63,000 per year.  This means that only the $63,000 is subject to FICA and Medicare taxes.  A question we often receive from patients at The Eisemann Plastic Surgery Center is whether they may use their FSA’s to offset the cost of a plastic surgery procedure such as liposuction or a tummy tuck.  Unfortunately, the answer is no.  The Internal Revenue Service makes a distinction between a cosmetic procedure and one that is medically necessary.  According to IRS regulations regarding FSA’s, the patient may use funds for a plastic surgery procedure only to correct a congenital defect, correct the results of a disease, or for medical reconstruction following an accident.  For example, a patient could not use her FSA monies for breast augmentation, but could use the monies to reconstruct her nose following injury in a motor vehicle accident.  However, if a patient is looking to offset the expense of plastic surgery through his/her FSA, all is not lost.  It may be possible to offset the expense of compression garments or prescription pain medication using FSA funds.  Patients should also be aware that they might qualify for financing plastic surgery through Care Credit or another lender.  Some applicants may qualify for no interest financing if the procedure if paid in full within the time period set by an offered promotion.