CARES Act Might Help You Save A (Pre-Tax) Buck


The CARES Act is best known for those stimulus checks mailed to many Americans to provide some financial relief during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has shuttered large parts of the U.S. economy. But there are other ways the CARES Act might help you save a buck. When President Donald Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) into law of March 27, it included many provisions, including one that expands the use of funds from Health Savings Accounts (HSA), Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRA) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA).

Do you have a health benefits account through your work? If so, you may now be able to purchase many popular items with those pretax dollars. The CARES Act includes important provisions for users of health savings accounts (HSAs), flexible spending accounts (FSAs), and health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), specifically: Over-the-counter drugs and medicines not prescribed by a physician can now be reimbursed pre-tax.

Menstrual care products are now considered eligible expenses. Examples include tampons, pads, liners, cups, sponges, or similar products.

Health plans can now cover telehealth services pre-deductible without impacting HSA eligibility.The changes to eligible expenses are retroactively effective January 1, 2020. It's worth noting that retailers must download updates into their point-of-sales systems, and some may be quicker than others to do so. Once that is complete, you can just purchase items through a regular checkout counter using your health benefit debit card. Here's a partial list of some of the items NOW eligible for purchase with a health savings account under the CARES Act:

  • Most over-the-counter medicines, including anti-acids, allergy and sinus medicine, anti-diarrhea products, anti-fungals, cough, cold and flu remedies, pain relief, motion sickness, and many more.

  • Baby electrolytes and dehydration

  • Acne medications

  • Antibiotics

  • Anti-itch and insect bite

  • Antiseptics & wound cleansers

  • Baby rash ointments/creams

  • Contraceptives

  • Denture pain relief

  • Digestive aids

  • Ear, eye, and foot care

  • Homeopathic remedies

  • Incontinence products

  • Nasal sprays, drops and inhalers

  • Skin treatments

  • Sleep aids and sedatives

  • Smoking deterrents

FEMININE PRODUCTS NOW ELIGIBLE

  • Anti-Fungal/Anti-Itch

  • Liners

  • Pads

  • Tampons

  • and more

Check with your health benefits provider or RCB & Associates, LLC if you have a question about a product's eligibility.

In part by WTVD-TV

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