The CARES Act introduced new eligible items that you can purchase with funds from your pre-tax benefits accounts (FSAs, HSAs, and HRAs). Effective January 2020, menstrual care products are now considered eligible expenses. Over-the-counter drugs and medicines are also now eligible for purchase without a prescription.
Since the funds in these accounts are deducted from payroll pre-tax, you can save up to 40% on items that you already buy! You now also have more time to submit claims for coverage! A recent notice put out by the IRS and Department of Labor extended the run-out period for FSA and HRA plans based on the COVID-19 Outbreak Period.
Here are some item ideas that are good to have around the house.
1. Menstrual Care Products
This is a brand-new category of eligible items, and includes items such as pads, tampons, menstrual cups, sponges, and panty liners.
2. Pain Relievers
Headache? Backache? Joint pain? Migraine? These – and more – are never fun to deal with. Consider purchasing some pain relievers to make the recovery process literally less painful. Examples include aspirin, Excedrin, Tylenol, Advil and Motrin.
3. Cold & Flu Medications
4. Toothache Relievers
Because of COVID-19, it’s difficult get a non-emergency dental appointment to have your dentist check out a tooth that has been bothering you. Fortunately, there are some over-the-counter pain relievers like Orajel made specifically for toothaches that you can use for temporary relief.
5. Gastrointestinal Aids
Even if you’re a fan of spicy food, that doesn’t mean it’s a fan of you. You can help reduce heartburn, acid reflux and indigestion by taking an antacid to settle your stomach.
Other helpful gastrointestinal aids you can purchase include anti-diarrhea medicines, non-fiber laxatives, and nausea medications.
6. Allergy & Sinus Medicines
Allergy season tends to be at its peak in the Spring and Summer. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the nice weather! Get some fresh air (while abiding by social distancing guidelines, of course) by purchasing nasal spray and antihistamines like Benadryl, Claritin and Sudafed with your pre-tax dollars.
7. Sleeping Aids*
Non-herbal sleeping aids such as Unisom SleepTabs are eligible expenses that can help make it easier to get a good night’s rest.
*Certain commonly used sleep aids (e.g., Melatonin) are considered dual-purpose items and require a Letter of Medical Necessity (LMN) to accompany claims for reimbursement. Check out our guide on submitting claims for help with claims reimbursement and download our Certification of Medical Necessity form here.
8. First Aid Creams
Pair a soothing first aid cream with other first aid supplies such as band-aids to help prevent infection, relieve pain, and provide temporary relief to minor cuts, burns, and scrapes.
9. Acne Medicines*
Even if you’re not interacting with as many people face-to-face, these types of blemishes may still be apparent to those you see when buying groceries or those you’re videochatting with on Zoom. Instead of making the problem worse with makeup, look into over-the-counter acne treatments like Neutrogena On-The-Spot Acne Treatment to stop the problem at its source.
*Please note that some acne medications may not be considered over-the-counter, and you may need a Letter of Medical Necessity from your healthcare provider in order for it to be eligible. We recommend that you verify the eligibility before your purchase to avoid any issues.
10. Anti-itch Medications
Instead of itching that itch and unintentionally irritating your skin even more, sooth it with an anti-itch cream, spray, or antihistamine.
These are just some examples of eligible over-the-counter items you can purchase. See our Sample Chart of OTC items for more ideas.