Costco FSA-Eligible Items: Departments, Products Listed

Short Answer: Costco accepts FSA funds for certain purchases. FSA-eligible items you can purchase at Costco include reading glasses, contact lenses, prenatal vitamins, and blood pressure monitors. Other items like over-the-counter medications may also be purchased with a valid doctor’s prescription. For the list of Costco FSA-eligible items, see below.

What Is an FSA?

A flexible spending account (FSA) is a bank account connected to your employer that accumulates pre-tax deposits from your paycheck. Sometimes, employers will contribute additional funds to your FSA as a benefit of employment.[1] FSA account holders are issued a debit card (or an FSA card) that can be used to purchase qualifying health care items. Eligible items can vary as individual employers determine what expenses to include. Common FSA-eligible expenses are dental care, optical care, and hearing aids.[2]

Keep in mind that any funds remaining in your FSA at the end of the year will not roll over into the next year; unused funds are forfeited.[1] To avoid lost funds, you might want to stock up on nonperishable items like contact lens solution or, depending on your account balance, purchase a big-ticket item like a wheelchair.

Does Costco Take FSA?

You can use your FSA at Costco to make eligible purchases. We contacted Costco’s corporate customer service department, as well as Costco warehouse locations in Florida, New York, Ohio, and Tennessee; all of the representatives we spoke with said Costco accepts FSA, but not all locations accept FSA cards at the main checkout registers. About 50% of the stores we contacted said FSA cards are only accepted at the pharmacy; FSA cards may also be accepted at Costco vision centers.

Keep in mind that you can, however, take FSA-eligible items from a different department to a Costco register that accepts FSA cards, such as in the pharmacy or vision center.

You can also buy FSA-eligible items at Costco.com, but customer service representatives told us that FSA cards often present processing issues when customers try to make online purchases. Because of this, it’s typically best to purchase in-stock items with your FSA card in person at your local Costco.

Costco FSA-Eligible Items

There are three departments at Costco that have FSA-eligible items: the pharmacy department, the optical center, and the hearing aid center. Since your employer determines which items are covered, we are unable to provide a list of FSA-eligible items that will apply to all account holders. Instead, we’ve listed the items and categories marked FSA-eligible on Costco’s website, and we’ve linked to each product.

The IRS allows you to purchase many other items, such as over-the-counter medicine, using an FSA card provided you have a valid doctor’s prescription.[3] If you do not have a prescription, you can still purchase these items using a different payment method. The FSA Store lists the following items as FSA-eligible with a doctor’s prescription:[4]

  • Acne treatment
  • Allergy medicine
  • Antacids
  • Anti-fungal treatment
  • Anti-itch treatment
  • Aspirin and baby aspirin
  • Chest rubs
  • Children’s medicine, including:
    • Cold and allergy medicine
    • Fever and pain relievers
    • Stomach and digestive aids
  • Cold and flu medicine
  • Cold sore treatments
  • Corn, callus, and wart remover
  • Cough drops and cough sprays
  • Cough medicine
  • Diaper rash cream
  • Ear drops and ear wax remover
  • External pain relievers
  • Eye drops
  • Feminine care
  • Hemorrhoid treatment
  • Laxatives
  • Lice treatment
  • Nasal spray
  • Oral pain relief
  • Pain relievers
  • Skin treatments (such as eczema cream)
  • Sleep aids
  • Smoking cessation assistance (gum and patches)
  • Stomach and digestive aids

More Information

If you’ve purchased items with funds from your FSA and find that you no longer want or need them, the IRS has strict rules about returning FSA-eligible items or getting cash from your FSA (as previously reported).