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Flexible Spending Question For International Surgery... Help!



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I am hoping someone can help me with this or has an experience to share.... I am posting this in the Insurance forum also...

I have set aside $7500 in FSA funds (Flex Dollars) for my surgery in MX with Dr. Rodriguez.

So, I called my insurance company (United HealthCare) to discuss what i will need to submit a claim if my card doesnt work in MX. Right off the bat, the lady tells me that they WILL NOT accept anything International. When I asked her why not, she had no answer. I asked here if that was a UHC rule or the IRS. She said that UHC goes strictly by the IRS guidelines. So, I asked her to find for me where it said that FSA could NOT be used for international medical needs. She couldnt obvioulsy because there isnt any place on the IRS website under FSA that says yes or no to international surgeries being covered. She said to do my homework and have all the bills in USD$ ready for submission. Needless to say, that wasnt a good enough answer for me. This is not something that I can take a chance on not being reimbursed for.. this is alot of money!

So I spoke to my coordinator yesterday and the $10 credit card (my FSA Mastercard) went through! Yay!, right? Not so fast. I then get an email stating that "I cannot however guarantee that they will accept all of this for reimbursement of FSA claim since it is out of country. I just want you to be clear that while we will help with the forms there are sometimes codes etc that are requested on the forms that are not necessarily internationally interchangeable. We will do our best to help but since this a self pay surgery we cannot be responsible if the claim is not reimbursed" Crap! Now I am all confused, again!

Can anyone give me any advice on how to handle this? What was your experience using FSA dollars and how did you handle using the flex card or submitting the paperwork to get reimbursed?

I would also like to say that I have scoured the internet looking for information and cannot find anything that says I CANNOT use my FSA for international medical needs. The following website states that it IS allowable but I dont know if this will hold up in my defense of getting reimbursed!

https://www.myfbmc.com/customers/faq_fsa.aspx#fsa_18a

Q

Can I be reimbursed for medical services obtained in a foreign country?

A

The services can be reimbursed, but not the lodging or transportation expenses. When you submit your claim, you must include English translations for any foreign receipts that are not in English. Also, you must convert the cost to the applicable U.S. dollar amount, using the currency exchange rate as of the date that the service was provided

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Who is your cordinator? I think i saw were a lighter me said you could use it threw them. Im interested because thats what im planning on using

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I am going through BeLiteWeight. They were just given the medical status for FSA but haven't worked out the kinks with the new system.

I am going to get the letter of medical necessity and the detailed bill and call it good. I NEED this surgery.

http://www.obesityhelp.com/forums/mexico/4075601/Using-HSA-FSA-funds-for-lap-band-surgery-in-Mexico/

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My sister used her FSA card through Linda at a lighter me. jn26845 is correct they can run your card. We looked long and hard and Linda was the only one that I could find that ran the card without any problems. We also tried be light weight and it was a no go. I don’t know about a law that says FSA can or cannot accept an international transaction. I do know that when Linda ran the card it was not an international transaction but was coded properly used for a medical transaction. Good luck!

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thanks Gottago. Unfortunately, Dr. Rod doesnt use A Lighter Me so I am going to have no choice but to take the chance of using my card and having all my paperwork in order just in case. I will keep everyone posted on how the financial journey goes since my surgery is now in 3 short weeks!

If anyone else has any experiences/suggestions, keep 'em coming! :smile1:

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I have been on the phone this week with my FSA with exactly the same question. They CAN and DO cover out of country medical expenses, INCLUDING bariatric surgery, as long as you can get a doctor to write a note stating that the procedure is medically necessary. This is just to ensure you don't go for cosmetic surgery. But it is legit and IRS will not give you grief. If anything, Your FSA company is being like most of them are one way and another--they look for ways to stall reimbursement. Stay on them and insist that they reimburse you. Good luck.

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Also--receipts must be in English, and travel is covered: plane fare for you and one travel companion who will take care of you while you are having surgery (as long as this is the sole reason why you are traveling, and upto $50.00/day EACH for you and a travel companion for hotel (as long as the hotel is not extravagant).

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OMG! adamsmom, this is awesome to read! I have been so upset about all this and hubby is upset cuz we "might have all this money sitting around to use" and really dont need it.

Thank you so much for the reassurance! I am planning on getting all the info that you suggested and I have even "stolen" forms from other insurance companies to have the doc fill out for me. THANK YOU!!

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My surgery is Feb 10th and I have gone through this exact thing. So I had my coordinator get me an invoice for surgery dated January 20th. FSA will not fund the money ahead of time and I do not have the ability to pay and then get reimbursed. They funded my claim with no other forms needed. I am going on Monday to get a cashiers check for my dr.

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