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5 surprising summer health care products you can buy with your FSA or HSA dollars

Mother applying sunscreen protection for her daughter

You can save some money on warm-weather health and wellness essentials using your medical expense accounts. Here’s how.

Whether you enjoy beaches or hikes, theme parks or cruises, summer is the perfect time to escape to your favorite places. The long, warm days give you plenty of chances to have fun and spend time with family and friends.

But they can also bring with them unexpected health problems. And some of them may get pricey. That’s where a flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA) can come in handy. Normally, FSAs and HSAs are health accounts you can get through your employer. But you may also be eligible for an HSA if you’re self-employed. You can then put tax-free money into it to help pay for medical expenses your insurance doesn’t cover.

HSAs are available if you have a high-deductible health plan. That’s a type of insurance plan that has a lower monthly bill (premium) but a higher deductible. That’s the money you have to pay before your insurance pays the rest.

These types of medical expense accounts can be used to cover everything from out-of-pocket medical costs, such as copayments and prescription drug costs, to health and wellness products, such as first-aid supplies. Copayments are a fixed amount you pay for covered health appointments and prescriptions.

You can use your FSA and HSA dollars for yourself, your spouse and your children. And there are products available for both men and women. You can also use your accounts to buy products that can keep you and your family healthy no matter where your summer adventures take you.

Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Father and toddler son shopping for health essentials online
Stock up on all your health essentials

Optum Store has the products you love at everyday low prices. Use your HSA/FSA dollars to save even more.

1. Sun protection products

If you’re headed outside this summer, sunscreen is a must. That’s because skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer, and in rare cases it may be deadly.1 Make sure you’re protecting your skin when you’re out in the sun.

You can use your FSA or HSA dollars to buy broad-spectrum sunscreens with an SPF of 30+.2 And don’t forget your lips: Cancer can form there, too. You can protect your lips by using your FSA or HSA to buy lip balm that has an SPF of 30 or higher. That’s the recommendation from the American Academy of Dermatology.3

For additional protection:2

  • Spend less time in the sun, especially between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the sun’s rays are the strongest.
  • Wear clothing that covers your skin.
  • Make sure your sunscreen is “broad spectrum,” which means it protects against both types of the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays (UVA and UVB).4

And don’t forget your shades. Regular sunglasses don’t count as an FSA or HSA expense, but prescription sunglasses do. They protect your eyes from the harmful rays of the sun.

You can buy sunscreen and other summer-related items at the Optum Store — all from the comfort of home. Start exploring.

2. Motion sickness medication

Are you taking a long car ride this summer? Or going on a cruise? If motion sickness affects you or a family member, you can buy medicine to help motion sickness with your FSA or HSA dollars. You can also use your funds to fill a prescription for a scopolamine patch. These are patches prescribed by your doctor that you stick on your skin before traveling to help ease nausea and motion sickness.

3. Stomach remedies

Riding on cruise ships and driving up twisty mountain roads aren’t the only things that can upset your stomach. If you’ve ever eaten a deep-fried delight at the state fair or a spicy burger at a backyard cookout, you may know how quickly tasty food can turn on you.

You can use your FSA or HSA dollars to buy a range of stomach and heartburn remedies. These include:

  • Antidiarrheal medications
  • Chewable antacid tablets
  • Multi-symptom drugs

Prescription stomach or heartburn remedies may also be covered if you need one of those.

Stock up on all your health essentials. The Optum Store has the products you love at everyday low prices. Use your HSA/FSA dollars to save even more. Shop now.

4. First-aid supplies

If your summer plans take you off the beaten path, you might not have easy access to your medicine cabinet. The next best thing? You can create your own first-aid kit to keep you and your family prepared on your adventures. Here are some important items to include that you can get with your FSA and HSA funds:

If you don’t have time to make your own first-aid kit, no problem. Your FSA or HSA dollars will also cover the cost of ready-made kits. You can carry a small one in a purse or backpack. Or grab a larger one for longer vacations.

Use your HSA/FSA to save on thousands of health expenses, from medical copays to pain relievers. See if your health expenses qualify with our free medical expense tool.

5. Personal protective and cleansing products

You’re probably familiar with personal protective equipment and other related products from the COVID-19 pandemic. Examples include face masks and N95 respirator masks, as well as hand sanitizer and hand-sanitizing wipes.

While face masks are no longer a requirement on airplanes, they’re still a great way to help keep your seatmate’s germs away from you on flights. Or, if you’re traveling with a summer cold, you’ll be a good fellow traveler by minimizing sharing your germs with your seatmate.

Those wipes and sanitizer can also come in handy on summer vacation. You can use wipes to help clean off an airplane’s tray table or your kids’ mess in the back seat of your minivan. And hand sanitizer? You can use it after touching just about any surface. That could be anything from the rails of that cruise ship to the candy machine at a rest stop.

Have summer health care expenses that didn’t make our list? They could still be eligible. To find others, use the Optum Financial qualified medical expense tool.

Confused about medical expense accounts? Check out this episode of Until It’s Fixed to learn more.


  1. National Cancer Institute. Cancer stat facts: melanoma of the skin. Accessed May 4, 2023.
  2. American Academy of Dermatology. How to practice safe sun. Last updated April 18, 2022. Accessed April 20, 2023.
  3. American Academy of Dermatology. Sunscreen FAQs. Last updated February 17, 2023. Accessed June 6, 2023.
  4. Skin Cancer Foundation. Breaking down broad-spectrum protection: why your sunscreen needs to have it. Published June 28, 2018. Accessed May 10, 2023.

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