Good news for healthcare access and affordability: If you have a flexible spending arrangement (FSA) or health savings account (HSA) you can now use these pre-tax savings for purchasing over-the-counter (OTC) medicines.

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Here’s what you need to know:

  • OTC medicines include products used to self-treat conditions such as the common cold, allergies, or body pain. Previously, people with FSAs/HSAs needed a prescription from their healthcare provider to use their pre-tax savings to cover those costs.
  • Now, FSA/HSA holders can use their debit card when buying eligible products.
  • Menstrual or feminine care products are also recognized as eligible expenses – including pads, tampons, cups, and other period care items.
  • This policy change applies to eligible products purchased since January 1, 2020.
  • If you purchased eligible products this year and still have the receipts, you can likely be reimbursed by submitting the necessary paperwork to your FSA/HSA administrator.

Connect with your healthcare plan administrator to confirm the eligibility of specific products and additional benefits under your specific plan.

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Curious about how this came to be? The FSA/HSA eligibility of OTC medicines and menstrual care products was included within the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Securities (CARES) Act passed in March 2020. View our FAQs for more background.

FSAs/HSAs are a valued employee benefit across the workforce that provide important savings opportunities for individuals and families. Now, millions of Americans can better manage and plan their healthcare expenses by using pre-tax funds for menstrual care products and OTC medicines that save them time and money.

Additional Resources

FAQ regarding the FSA provision

CHPA Statement Regarding OTC Measures in COVID-19 Legislation