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CARES Act

These past few months have been unprecedented as the world responds to COVID-19. Updates and changes to regulations and rules are coming to the benefits world at an unbelievable rate. We have created this site to share new and exciting benefits to those with health accounts, including health savings accounts (HSAs), flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs).*

This site will be updated as new information is available, so we encourage you bookmark it for future reference.

Tax deadline and HSA contributions

The deadline for 2019 federal income tax return filings and income tax payments has been extended to July 15, 2020. This extension also includes the ability for 2019 contributions to be made to HSAs and Archer medical savings accounts (MSAs) until July 15.

  • Members can contribute to their 2019 HSA any time up through July 15 through the secure member portal.
  • Please note the maximum annual contributions for 2019 have not changed ($3,500 for individuals and $7,000 for families. Starting at age 55, an additional $1,000 is allowed annually).

Telemedicine

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the "CARES Act") created a temporary safe-harbor allowing HSA-compatible health plans to cover telemedicine and remote care services before an HSA participant meets their deductible. In other words, health plans can cover remote care services in the same way they cover preventive care services without interrupting a participant's HSA eligibility.*

What does this mean for you?

  • Members can pay for telehealth expenses before meeting deductible and maintain HSA eligibility
  • Members in rural communities where physician access is not readily available can now see a doctor without leaving their homes
  • With many members required to stay at home due to COVID-19, telehealth services can allow members to speak with their doctor without actually having to go into the doctor's office

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Q: What is Telehealth?
A: Telehealth is the distribution of health-related services and information via electronic information and telecommunication technologies. It allows long-distance patient and clinician contact, care, advice, reminders, education, intervention, monitoring, and remote admissions.

Q: How does the CARES Act impact telehealth
A: The CARES Act provides for reimbursement for services for "telehealth and other remote care services" below the deductible and will be permitted in an HSA-compatible high deductible plan. This means that even if you have not yet met your deductible on an HSA-qualified health plan, you can now use telehealth services and still use your HSA.

Q: When do the new provisions start and how long will they last?
A: The telemedicine provision is temporary and effective for plan years beginning on or before 12/31/2021. So, these new telemedicine rules will apply to some plans through late 2022.

Effective

March 27, 2020

Expires

Based on plan start date (see FAQ)

Impacted accounts

HSAs

Applicable products

Telemedicine & other remote care services

telemedicine image

Over-the-counter drugs/medicines

The CARES Act includes a provision that allows members to use health account funds to pay for over-the-counter (OTC) medications without needing a prescription.

What does this mean for you?

  • Managed Healthcare Executive Magazine estimates the average American spends $442 annually on over-the-counter medication. By using FSA, HSA, or HRA funds to pay for these medications, members can then use their regular income to pay for other necessities.
  • Claims reimbursement - Members can submit claims for menstrual care products and OTC drugs without a doctor's prescription. The date of purchase must be after December 31, 2019.
  • Card purchases - Health care debit card use for OTC drugs without a prescription and menstrual products is dependent on the updated eligible product list managed by the Special Interest Group for IIAS Standards (SIGIS), then merchants updating their systems. In the interim, members will need to submit manual claims with the proper documentation.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Q: What are over-the-counter medications?
A: Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs are medicines that can be purchased without a doctor's or other healthcare professional's prescription.

Q: How does the CARES Act impact over-the-counter medication?
A: Previously, a member could not use health account funds to pay for over-the-counter medication unless they first received a prescription from a healthcare professional. The CARES Act now allows members to use health account funds to pay for over-the-counter medication without needing a prescription.

Q: When do the new over-the-counter medication provisions start and how long will they last?
A: The changes are retroactive to January 1, 2020. There is no listed expiration date on the provision, meaning the change is likely permanent.

Q: Which health accounts are impacted by this new change?
A: The new rules apply to health savings accounts (HSAs), flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs).*
*FSA and HRA plans vary by employer, and these changes do not necessarily change the benefits under your employer's plan.

Q: Can I submit claims now for OTC medication?
A: Yes. Our claims team can accept manual OTC claims incurred on or after January 1, 2020 without a prescription (in the case of an HSA, they apply to amounts paid on or after January 1, 2020).
Please note: Our websites and member portals have not yet been updated, so you may not find these products on eligible expense lists at this time.

Q: Will prior denied claims that are now eligible be reprocessed automatically?
A: Prior denied claims will not be re-processed automatically, but you can resubmit a claim for a newly eligible product that was previously denied, as long as the expense was incurred on or after January 1 and not reimbursed under another plan or program.
Note: Claims for OTC medication purchased before January 1, 2020 still require a prescription.

Q: Can members use their health debit cards now to purchase OTC medication?
A: The industry is working as quickly as possible to ensure you’re able to do so. The organization that manages the nationwide Eligible Products list used by stores and websites has updated its list to include OTC drugs and medicines and menstrual care products.

Merchants like HSA Store and FSA Store have loaded the list and have a number of eligible products available for sale on their website. Once other merchants upload the list, cards and other applicable payment methods will allow for auto-substantiation at the point of sale in most cases. You can also pay out-of-pocket and submit receipts for reimbursement.

Effective

January 1, 2020

Expires

No expiration date

Impacted accounts

HSAs, FSAs, and HRAs

Applicable products

Pain relievers, cough syrup and more

otc image

Menstrual Care

The CARES Act extended the list of HSA-, HRA- and FSA-qualified expenses to include menstrual care products. We're making updates to extend these provisions to you.

What does this mean for you?

Because women can now purchase menstrual care products directly with health account funds, they can save money on taxes and use their regular income on other necessities.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Q: What products are included in the new rule about menstrual products?
A: The IRS lists tampons, pads, liners, cups, sponges or similar products used by individuals with respect to menstruation. Note: Feminine hygiene products are not covered under the CARES Act (e.g., feminine moisturizers, feminine powders/deodorants).

Q: How does the CARES Act impact menstrual care products?
A: Previously, menstrual care products were considered personal hygiene products and not qualified medical expenses. The CARES Act now allows members to use health account funds to pay for menstrual care products directly.

Q: When do the new provisions start and how long will they last?
A: The changes are retroactive to January 1, 2020. There is no listed expiration date on the provision, meaning the change is likely permanent.

Q: Which health accounts are impacted by this new change?
A: The new rules apply to health savings accounts (HSAs), flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs).

Q: Can I submit claims now for menstrual products?
A: Yes. Our claims team can accept manual claims for menstrual care products incurred on or after January 1, 2020. (in the case of an HSA, they apply to amounts paid on or after January 1, 2020).
Please note: Our websites and member portals have not yet been updated, so you may not find these products on eligible expense lists at this time.

Q: Will prior denied claims that are now eligible be reprocessed automatically?
A: Prior denied claims will not be re-processed automatically, but you can resubmit a claim for a newly eligible product that was previously denied, as long as the expense was incurred on or after January 1, 2020 and not reimbursed under another plan or program.
Note: Claims for menstrual products purchased before January 1, 2020 are not eligible.

Q: Can members use their health debit cards now to purchase menstrual care products?
A: The industry is working as quickly as possible to ensure you’re able to do so. The organization that manages the nationwide Eligible Products list used by stores and websites has updated its list to include OTC drugs and medicines and menstrual care products.

Merchants like HSA Store and FSA Store have loaded the list and have a number of eligible products available for sale on their website. Once other merchants upload the list, cards and other applicable payment methods will allow for auto-substantiation at the point of sale in most cases. You can also pay out-of-pocket and submit receipts for reimbursement.

Effective

January 1, 2020

Expires

No expiration date

Impacted accounts

HSAs, FSAs, and HRAs

Applicable products

Tampons, pads, cups, sponges or similar products

menstrual image

*Plans vary by employer, and these changes do not necessarily change the benefits available under your employer's plan. Please review plan documents carefully or consult your employer for information about your company's benefits.