Primary Immune Tribune
December 2011
Happy Holidays from IDF
'Tis the Season
Insurers Are Not Doctors is Gaining Traction
Help IDF Make a Difference
XLA Important Research
Make your New Year’s Resolutions for 2012
IDF & USIDNET LeBien Visiting Professor Program
Since You Asked
IDF Calendar of Events
Since You Asked
IDF Question and Answer

Question:  The end of the year is fast approaching and I still have funds available in my health Flexible Spending Account (FSA).  Am I correct that if I do not use the funds I will lose it?  If so, how can I use up the remaining balance?   


Answer:  It is always best to keep track of your out of pocket medical costs so that you can appropriately contribute to your health Flexible Spending Account (FSA) because - YES it is a use it or lose it account.  In the past many people would use up their funds at the end of the year by stocking up on over-the-counter items such as ibuprofen, acne products, or antacids.  However, you need to be aware that these items do not necessarily qualify for reimbursement.  


Effective January 1, 2011, distributions from your health FSA are allowed to reimburse over-the-counter medicines only if they are purchased with a prescription.  The prescription, or a copy of it, must be submitted with the receipt in order to be reimbursed.  This new rule does not apply to over-the-counter medical devices such as crutches, bandages, or diagnostic devices (ex. blood sugar test kits).  So if you are in need of these items – stock up!  Otherwise, if you have any doctor’s visits that need to be scheduled try to get in before the end of the year.  You can submit those co-pays for reimbursement.



Question:  I have heard about several outbreaks of Whooping Cough.  This seems to be a serious respiratory infection.  As an elderly patient with CVID, is it vital that I have this booster vaccine, and is it safe for me to receive it?


Answer:  Whooping Cough, known medically as Pertussis, is a highly contagious respiratory tract infection.  There have been several outbreaks during the past few years.


This prompted the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices (ACIP) to update their recommendations in 2010.  They suggest that adults who are 65 years and older and are grandparents, child-care providers, or health care providers who have close contact or anticipate close contact with an infant under the age of 1, and have not previously received Tdap (the vaccine that protects against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis [whooping cough]), to receive a single dose of Tdap.  This is not a live vaccine.


So should you be vaccinated?  That really depends on your situation.  People with CVID cannot make antibodies to vaccines. The fact that they can’t produce antibodies to vaccines is why they are being treated with IVIG or SCIG. This means that they probably would not be able to make antibodies to pertussis when given the Tdap vaccine, so they probably would not benefit from it. Both IVIG and SCIG provide antibodies to pertussis.


As always, if you have questions, you should call or see your physician for advice.

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