The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act


  • The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed on March 27, 2020. This federal law expands how employees can use their Medical Flexible Spending Arrangement (FSA) and Health Savings Account (HSA) funds.

    Here’s an overview of what changed:

    • The CARES Act removes the requirement that you must have a prescription for over-the-counter (OTC) drugs in order to use Medical FSA or HSA funds for these expenses. OTC drugs include cold medicines, anti-inflammatories, and other products. This change is retroactive to January 1, 2020 and has no expiration date. Keep in mind that the IRS stockpiling rule is still in effect. If you buy more than three identical products in one transaction, you will not be reimbursed.
    • You can now buy menstrual care products using your Medical FSA funds. This includes pads, tampons, cups, and other similar products. This change is retroactive to January 1, 2020 and has no expiration date.
    • If you’re enrolled in a high-deductible health plan (HDHP), including consumer-directed health plans (CDHP), the deductible and coinsurance are waived for COVID-19 testing and treatment for telehealth services. Contact your plan for more information about your benefits. This provision began on March 27, 2020 and expires December 31, 2021.

    Navia Benefit Solutions posted CARES Act FAQs.

    HealthEquity created a member hub about the CARES Act for employees.