More than half of Americans feel that their mental health has been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation. And during April 2020, a federal emergency hotline for persons in emotional distress saw a 1000% increase in calls over the previous April. As Dr. Adrian James, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said, “[The COVID-19 crisis] is probably the biggest hit to mental health since the second world war.”
Given these trends, individuals are seeking to not just focus on physical health but achieve total wellness by also prioritizing their mental state and emotional well-being. According to the Global Wellness Institute, wellness is the active pursuit of activities, choices and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health. It extends beyond eating right and exercising to finding well-being as a whole person.
Health savings account (HSA) account holders have long known how HSAs encourage physical well-being by providing powerful tax savings on a vast array of medical expenses. However, what’s often less known is how HSAs support total wellness by offering those same savings on items and treatments related to individuals’ mental and emotional health, as well as alternative wellness therapies. Here are a few ways your HSA can help you achieve total wellness:
1. Mental health counseling
If you’d like to take advantage of professional counseling, you can use your HSA funds to pay for appointments with psychologists or psychiatrists, licensed social workers, and other mental health professionals. And if you are prescribed medication for a mental health issues, you can pay for that tax-free with your HSA as well.
2. Acupuncture and chiropractic treatments
If your doctor recommends acupuncture or chiropractic visits to help alleviate a medical condition you’re facing, you can use your HSA to pay for your treatments. It’s a good idea to ask your doctor for a letter of medical necessity (LMN) to show that your treatment was deemed medically needed. Your HSA can also be used to purchase acupressure mats and heating pads if you’d like to get relief from the comforts of home.
3. Massages and massage devices
Like acupuncture or chiropractic visits, you can use your HSA to pay for massages recommended by your doctor tax-free. Again, having an LMN is a great safeguard to show your treatments were considered medically necessary. And if you’d like to continue the treatment at home with cryotherapy massage balls or electrotherapy devices for nerve stimulation, your HSA dollars can pay for them tax-free too.
4. Alternative wellness treatments
If you provide an LMN from your doctor, you can use your HSA to pay for a variety of alternative wellness services, including reiki, naturopathy, energy therapy, and more. This allows you to enjoy the holistic benefits of these treatments while also saving money by using tax-free HSA dollars.
5. Service animal care
You can use your HSA funds to pay for the expenses of buying, training, and maintaining a service animal. In addition, your tax-free HSA dollars can be used to save money on food and grooming costs and veterinary care for your service animal.
While HSA funds can be used to help individuals save money at the doctor or pharmacy, their tax-savings benefits do not end there. By taking full advantage of lesser-known HSA-qualified services and treatments, individuals can use their HSAs to achieve their total wellness goals even during the COVID-19 pandemic. Looking to sign up for an HSA? Just click here to open an account.