As a current satisfied Weight Watchers member, I follow the plan daily, track my points and happily pay the monthly fees for the core program.
Once my 6-month commitment period ended I had lost 18lbs and the last thing I wanted to do was stop the program. It’s hard to put a dollar amount on how great I feel ever since I lost my first few pounds. But being as cost conscious as I am, I knew that if there was a way to continue my weight loss journey and save some money at the same time I would find it!
When I initially joined, I searched for a promo code to reduce the cost while I used the program on a trial basis. I found a promo code that gave me one month free and the first 6 months for $10 a month and waived the $20 starter fee! This worked out better than the one-month option which will set you back $43!! That means for one month you pay $23 for the first month plus the $20 starter fee which isn’t waived.
I was feeling really healthy and I was telling people how much better I felt. Then, it struck me, could this program that’s helping me be healthy also be eligible for flex spending? I did some research to see if the Weight Watchers program would qualify as an eligible expense. I hope this information is helpful to you.
What Are Health Savings Accounts and Flex Spending Accounts?
Years ago, I had put some money into an Flexible Spending Account, also called an FSA or Flexible Spending Arrangement. This is a special account that you put money into to pay for certain eligible out-of-pocket health care expenses. The incentive to using these accounts is that any money you put into accounts is pre-tax, meaning you won’t pay taxes on this money. Therefore, by setting aside money into an FSA you’ll effectively save an amount equal to the taxes you would have paid on this money.
Another option that exists for saving money on medical expenses is an HSA or Health Savings Account. An HSA is essentially a type of savings account usually through your employer that allows you to set aside pre-tax dollars to pay for qualified medical expenses. You then use these untaxed dollars to pay for deductibles, copayments, coinsurance, and other eligible health care expenses which can in turn lower your out-of-pocket health care costs.
How Much Can You Save with an HSA or FSA?
How much you can save with an HSA or FSA depends on a few factors. The amount you plan to contribute to the account, your federal tax rate and your state tax rate. FSAStore.com has a very easy to use calculator to determine your savings. As an example, an individual from New York earning $85K that spends $240 on Weight Watchers per year will save $68 ($5.66 per month) by using an HSA or FSA.
Can You Pay for Weight Watchers with HSA Funds?
Weight loss programs including Weight Watchers are eligible for reimbursement with flexible spending accounts (FSA), health savings accounts (HSA) and health reimbursement accounts (HRA) with a letter of medical necessity. The letter must be from a physician and recommend weight loss for a specific condition.
Weight loss programs are not reimbursable for those using limited-purpose flexible spending accounts or dependent care flexible spending accounts. For more information on the difference between a limited-purpose FSA and a regular FSA see below.
What is a Limited-Purpose FSA
Limited-purpose FSAs allow participants enrolled in a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) to pay for eligible dental, vision care and post-deductible medical expenses. Participating in weight loss programs such as Weight Watchers does not qualify as a medical expense under the LPFSA. HealthEquity.com has a current list of qualifying medical expenses for LPFSA participants.
Follow these Easy Steps to Use Your HSA for Weight Watchers
- Contact your HR Department or benefits plan administrator. They will help determine if weight loss programs such as Weight Watchers is eligible for reimbursement under your plan. If yes, determine if a letter of medical necessity is required.
- Speak with a healthcare professional to determine if you qualify based on your health condition. If you qualify, obtain a letter of medical necessity from your provider. Here is a blank letter of medical necessity from Weight Watchers to give to your health care provider.
- Purchase a Weight Watchers membership (or continue an existing membership). Both Core and Premium plans will qualify.
- Print your Weight Watchers membership receipt. (This can be found in the email you received when joining or by logging into your account on WeightWatchers.com.) I had trouble finding this the first time so I included screenshots below to help.
- Mail or upload your receipt/s and letter of medical necessity to your HSA/FSA provider.
How Do I Check My Weight Watchers Subscription and Payment History
The Weight Watchers app is essential for everyday usage of the program. It helps me to stay on track allows me to look up foods, check point values, and record my eating throughout the day.
The WW app does have it’s limitations though when it comes to account management. To check your Weight Watchers subscription and payment history you’ll need to log into WeightWatcher.com as this feature is not available on the app.
- On the WeightWatchers.com homepage, click the head and shoulders icon in the top right corner and log into your account.
- Once logged in, click the account drop down menu as shown in the red box below.
- Choose the Settings option from the down down menu.
- Scroll down to Accounts and Billing and enter your Weight Watchers account password to unlock access to your subscription information and billing details.
- For subscription information including the type of plan you’re enrolled in, click view under plan enrolled.
- To see your payment history, click view under payment history. Doing so will give you the option to print all payment history.
- If you select print all payment history, this will generate a letter on Weight Watchers letterhead and include information such as your name, plan type, enrollment date, last payment date, amount charged, last 4 digits of credit card billed to, and transaction history.
- This is the billing statement you can submit to your HSA or FSA provider along with your letter of medical necessity.
Refer to your HSA/FSA providers specific claim instructions for more details on this process.
*Higher Edukitchen does not provide medical, healthcare benefit, or tax advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for medical, healthcare benefit, or tax advice. You should consult your own medical professional and/or FSA/HSA provider before engaging in any transaction. For additional information about FSA/HSA, log on to https://www.irs.gov/publications/p969 or consult your tax advisor.