Eligible Expenses

IRS Publication 502 defines medical expenses as:

The costs of diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, and the costs for treatments affecting any part or function of the body. These expenses include payments for legal medical services rendered by physicians, surgeons, dentists, and other medical practitioners. They include the costs of equipment, supplies, and diagnostic devices needed for these purposes.

 Medical care expenses must be primarily to alleviate or prevent a physical or mental defect or illness. They do not include expenses that are merely beneficial to general health, such as vitamins or a vacation."

What medical expenses are reimbursable?

Note: The current IRS Publication 502 always supersedes MSRS' documentation regarding reimbursable health-care related expenses. This list can and does change periodically.

What you should know

  • The medical expense must occur after you retire, end Minnesota public employment, or are collecting a disability benefit from a Minnesota pension plan.

  • An expense is incurred the date service is provided, not the date the bill is paid.

  • You cannot include medical expenses that were paid by an insurance company or other source, such as another tax-preferred medical savings plan.

Dual-Use Expenses

Dual-use expenses are those that can be used either to treat a medical condition or to promote general health. Some examples of dual-use expenses include fish oil, sunscreen, and glucosamine. For a more complete list of dual-use expenses, please see Eligible Medical Expenses.

If medically necessary, a dual-use expense can be reimbursed 
The reimbursement request must be accompanied by a prescription or Letter of Medical Necessity signed by a qualified medical practitioner*. The prescription must:

  1. Specify the condition requiring the treatment or expense.

  2. Recommend the purchase of the particular item or service to treat the condition.

  3. Be dated prior to purchasing the dual-use expense.

  4. Be updated by a qualified medical practitioner* on an annual basis to continue to be eligible for reimbursements.


*Qualified medical practitioner includes: medical doctor, chiropractor, physician assistant, ophthalmologist, dentist, nurse practitioner, and osteopathic doctor (OD)

Please note: While a naturopathic doctor can be certified by the State of Minnesota to help consumers make informed decisions, federal and Minnesota state governments do not recognize them as having the ability to write prescriptions.