Is an air purifier covered by HSA? Are they medical devices?
Thanks to the pandemic, many people have air purifiers in their homes these days.
However, there isn’t a yes or no answer to whether or not your air purifier can be covered by HSA.
There is a chance they may be eligible for reimbursement, assuming you have a Letter of Medical Necessity (LMN) and the primary purpose of purchasing a purifier is for the treatment, mitigation, or cure of an existing disease or medical condition.
Let’s delve into the different types of insurance or coverage that may be available for an air purifier and whether or not you’re eligible.
First, we’ll deal with the HSA.
Can my HSA cover my Air Purifier?
What is an HSA? Is it a form of insurance or something else?
A Health Savings Account is a pre-tax account that allows you to set aside money for qualified medical expenses.
Since you’re using pre-tax dollars, it’s a good way to lower your overall healthcare expenses, which can include but are not limited to the following:
- Other expenses
Contributing to an HSA is limited to those with a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP), a type of health plan that will only cover preventative services before the deductible.
However, you can use the funds in your HSA whenever you need to pay for qualified medical expenses.
For 2023, the HSA individual coverage contribution maximum is $3,850, while the limit for family coverage is $7,750.
The High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) limits are $7,500 for individuals and $15,000 for families.
Depending on your health insurance company, they may offer an HSA for those with HDHPs, so check with your insurer.
Opening HSA accounts at some banks and financial institutions is also possible.
Any contributions you make to your HSA are not subject to federal income tax, so money in the account grows tax-free.
Any money you don’t use in a calendar year rolls over to the next year and will be available for future health expenses.
This differs from an FSA account, where you lose money if you don’t use it.
Is an Air Purifier an Eligible Medical Expense?
Since an HSA only covers eligible medical expenses, are air purifiers considered eligible?
With so many things, the answer is maybe.
A list of criteria must be met before an air purifier is deemed an eligible medical expense.
And even if you meet the criteria, there is no guarantee that your air purifier will be accepted.
In fact, most health insurance plans will not cover the cost of an air purifier.
So what makes an air purifier eligible?
First, if you’re purchasing an air purifier for general use, it’s very unlikely to be eligible for reimbursement.
To be considered, you must fall into the following category.
- You suffer from a condition such as asthma, severe allergies, or COPD, and you’ve been prescribed to use a purifier to treat, mitigate, or cure your existing disease or medical condition.
- You have a Letter of Medical Necessity (LMN). This letter written by your doctor will verify that the service or device you’ve purchased is for the treatment and prevention of your disease or medical condition, as mentioned above.
An LMN needs to include the following to be considered:
- Patient name
- The diagnosis and treatment for which an air purifier is necessary
- The duration of the treatment (how long will you need to use the air purifier to help your condition)
- The signature of a licensed practitioner
- This information must be on an acceptable LMN form, which includes the following:
- HealthEquity LMN forms
- The official letterhead of your healthcare provider
- A doctor’s prescription or an LMN written out on a prescription pad
- Hospital or treatment center discharge papers
There are a lot of hoops to jump through to get your air purifier covered by your HSA.
But you must remember that you need to purchase your air purifier first and then try to get reimbursement.
You cannot apply for coverage and then buy the unit you need.
With that in mind, are there any more straightforward ways of getting insurance coverage for your air purifier?
Flexible Spending Account (FSA) Rules for Air Purifiers
Some workplaces offer health insurance packages with a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) as a benefit.
FSAs are in place to cover any qualified, annual medical expenses an employee may have—up to a limit of $3,050 in 2023.
You fund your own account through payroll deductions without being taxed on the amount.
The account is only good for the current year, so the funds don’t roll over if you have no eligible expenses in that year. They are forfeited.
Given that, it pays to consider whether an FSA is a good choice for your circumstances.
If you’re healthy and without treatments that cost you somehow, that money could be put to better use.
Not all healthcare plans have this option, so check with your company before assuming you have it.
If you’ve purchased an air purifier and wish to have the cost covered by your FSA, you’ll need to submit a claim for reimbursement, which you can do online, via snail mail, or even fax.
Regardless of your method, a debit or credit card receipt is not enough.
Your claim must include the following documentation to prove it’s a “qualified expense.”
- Your name and the name of your healthcare provider or the device’s merchant name
- Your receipt or billing statement
- An itemized statement from your healthcare provider and/or insurance company that includes a description of the service or device
- Date of service or purchase
Since an air purifier can serve a dual purpose, you’ll also need a Letter of Medical Necessity from a healthcare provider confirming that you need it for medical treatment.
The letter must include your diagnosis and what is necessary—in your case, an air purifier—to treat or cure your medical condition.
With all the necessary supporting documentation, you have a good chance of your claim getting accepted.
Are Air Purifiers Medical Devices?
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), some air purifiers can be considered medical devices.
In January 2021, the FDA began approving select air purifiers as Class ll medical devices.
Not sure what that means?
Class l Medical Devices
These include things like:
- Irrigating dental syringes
- Latex gloves
- Surgical masks
- Tongue depressors
Everything from that list poses minimal risk to the user. None of them need to go through a premarket approval process with the FDA.
Class ll Medical Devices
This class includes anything that could pose—for whatever reason—an increased or medium risk.
This category doesn’t require premarket approval either. Still, it requires FDA clearance, including medical electrical safety and performance testing.
If a company can offer data to the FDA, that will allow them to evaluate and prove that the device is “substantially equivalent” to an already marketed, legally recognized product.
Getting FDA approval means a product or device has been proven safe and effective as a medical device—based on valid scientific evidence.
Class ll devices could include:
- Air purifiers
- Motorized wheelchairs
- Smartwatches that include diagnostics like ECGs
Class lll Medical Devices
These devices pose the highest risk to patients since they are placed in the body.
- Breast implants
- Replacement heart valves
Air Purifiers That Have FDA Approval
One of the best ways to improve your chances of getting your HSA or FSA claim approved would be to purchase an air purifier that the FDA has recognized as a medical device.
That means buying the cheapest air purifier on Amazon isn’t probably a good idea.
The list of approved air purifiers continues to grow, and they aren’t cheap. Here are some that you’d want to check out.
- Molekule Air Pro Air Purifier
- Brondell Pro Sanitizing Air Purifier with AG+
- Filter Queen Defender Air Purifier
- AURABEAT AG+
- Aurabeat LSP-X1
Air Purifier covered by HSA – Final Thoughts
If you’ve purchased an air purifier and hope to get it covered by your HSA FSA, it will definitely take a lot of work.
But if you can get a Letter of Medical Necessity from your healthcare provider, that’s the first step.
Even if you look at online lists of what’s included in HSA-approved medical devices and can’t find air purifiers, don’t give up.
Talk to your plan administrators to see if you can get it included—assuming you have all the necessary documentation.
Ultimately, everyone’s circumstances are different, and someone may have better or other coverage than you do.
For some, getting their insurance to cover their new air purifier may be the answer; for others, the answer may be an HSA or FSA account.