8 Surprising Things You Can Pay for With Your HSA

8 Surprising Things You Can Pay for With Your HSA
987654

If you have an Healthcare Savings Account, you probably know the basics: the money you put into it is tax-deductible, rolls over from year to year, belongs to you even if you lose your job, and can be used to pay for routine medical expenses like co-pays and prescription medicine.

But what you might not know is just how many things you can use the money in your HSA to pay for. In its annual publication of Medical and Dental Expenses, the IRS lists nearly 80 examples of tax-deductible medical expenses that you can use your HSA to cover, and some of them aren't what you'd expect. We picked out a few surprising items from this list, and if you'd like to see them all make sure to check out the IRS publication linked above.

1. Breast Pumps and Supplies

Breastfeeding a baby? Your HSA can cover the cost of breast pumps and other "supplies that assist lactation." (See page 6 of the IRS publication for details.)

2. Health-Related Home Improvements

Officially called "Capital Expenses" by the IRS, health-related home improvement costs, like constructing ramps for wheelchairs, widening doors, updating fire alarms and installing other necessary equipment to accommodate a disability, injury or illness, can be either partially or entirely covered by HSA funds. The amount of these funds you can use to pay for this kind of project varies depending on how much or little value is added to your property after the fact. (See page 6 for details.)

3. Cars

OK, you can't use the money you've saved in your HSA to buy a brand new Caddy on a whim, but if you have a disability that requires you to drive using special hand controls, you can use your HSA to cover the difference in cost between a regular car and a car specifically designed to hold a wheelchair or be driven by someone with a disability. (See page 7 for details.)

4. Fertility Enhancement

If you're struggling with fertility issues, you know how expensive fertility treatments, like in vitro fertilization, can be. You can use money from your HSA to pay for procedures like this, which help to "overcome an inability to have children." (See page 8 for details.)

 5. Guide Dogs and Other Service Animals

According to the IRS, you can use your HSA to pay for "the costs of buying, training, and maintaining a guide dog or other service animal to assist a visually impaired or hearing disabled person, or a person with other physical disabilities. In general, this includes any costs, such as food, grooming, and veterinary care, incurred in maintaining the health and vitality of the service animal so that it may perform its duties." That's pretty exciting news, in my book. (More info on page 8.)

6. Stop-Smoking Programs

Between your health and ever skyrocketing cost of a pack of cigarettes, there are already plenty of good reasons to kick your smoking habit once and for all. The fact that you can pay for prescription stop-smoking programs out of your HSA is just icing on the cake--although be aware that you can't use HSA funds to buy over the counter aids like nicotine gum or patches.

7. Medical Conferences

If you'd like to attend a conference on a chronic illness that you or a loved one (read: loved one must be a spouse or dependent) suffer from, you can use HSA funds to pay for the cost of both transportation and tickets to the event. Keep in mind that "the costs of the medical conference must be primarily for and necessary to the medical care of you, your spouse or your dependent," you need to spend the majority of your time at the conference attending the informational sessions, and you cannot deduct the cost of food and lodging.

8. Over the Counter Medical Supplies

You can save on your next trip to Walgreens by using your HSA debit card to pay for band aids, condoms, contact lens solution reading glasses and first aid supplies.

If you want to learn more about how Healthcare Savings Accounts work, you can head over to IRS.gov or read a breakdown of HSA plans on CNN Money.