5 Over-The-Counter Expenses Eligible in 2020 For Your HSA and FSA Funds

April 14, 2020

When the CARES Act was signed into law in 2020, popular over-the-counter drugs and medicines were made eligible expenses for you to purchase with your HSA and FSA funds without a prescription. The change is effective as of January 1, 2020. 

That's great news for health savings account (HSA) and/or medical flexible spending account (Medical FSA) participants. This legislation gives them more flexibility to save on popular purchases. For example, the average American shops for over-the-counter medications 26 times each year. We’ve compiled five of the most common expenses that are now eligible for your HSA and FSA funds without a prescription.

CARES Act over-the-counter expenses

Newly eligible over-the-counter HSA and FSA eligible expenses in 2020

Pain relief medications

Headaches. Muscle soreness. Sprains. There are so many reasons that you may need pain relievers. There are two common types of over-the-counter pain medications: acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), both of which are now among the eligible expenses available from your HSA and FSA. You can easily  purchase a variety of NSAIDs

Cold and flu products

Winter may be behind us, but cold and flu season never really goes away. As much as 20 percent of the U.S. population gets the flu, on average each season. Fortunately, the over-the-counter medicines you so often turn to when coping with a severe cough or congestion are now eligible expenses in 2020.

Allergy products

Thirty percent of American adults and 40 percent of children suffer from allergies. And the cost of allergies to the healthcare system is estimated at $18 billion. Those who do have allergies can now find relief with their HSA and FSA funds in the form of over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants. 

Heartburn medications

Heartburn is among the more common afflictions in this country. That’s why Americans spend billions of dollars each year on medicines that treat heartburn. The CARES Act means that these over-the-counter drugs are HSA and FSA eligible without a prescription.

Menstrual products

The CARES Act also included menstrual care products as eligible expenses for HSAs and FSAs. Over-the-counter eligible expenses include tampons, pads and menstrual sponges

Please note: SIGIS and merchants are updating their eligible expenses lists in order for these products to be approved by benefits debit cards, such as the Discovery Benefits debit card. We learned that SIGIS made its updated list (which includes over-the-counter drugs and medicines) available for merchants to download on Monday, April 13, 2020. The Discovery Benefits debit card will work on these new eligible over-the-counter purchases at merchants once that merchant has downloaded the updated list, which is expected to take place over the coming days and weeks. If your Discovery Benefits debit card does not work on one of these products, you can still submit these claims through your online account, the Benefits Mobile App by Discovery Benefits or by mail/fax.

Would you like to learn more about your employee benefits and the COVID-19 pandemic? Check out our resource page.

This blog post was written in April 2020 and updated in December 2020.

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