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Your HSA COVID-19 Prep Cheat Sheet: What We Carry and Why
As the U.S. makes preparations to ride out the COVID-19 wave, millions of Americans with health savings accounts (HSAs) are turning to their employee benefits to help them cover the cost of qualified medical products for virus preparedness.
Our customer service team has received an overwhelming response from concerned customers, and we wanted to get on top of the biggest questions quickly so you can get the best info to prepare for COVID-19.
Are masks HSA-eligible?
Surgical masks and those designed to prevent the spread of pathogens like the N95 mask, are currently not HSA-eligible. At this juncture, masks would only be covered by health savings account (HSA) funds if an account holder obtains a Letter of Medical Necessity (LMN) from a health professional.
But, the CDC recently called for all Americans to wear face masks in public to help stop the spread of COVID-19, and masks have emerged as a critical tool to stop community spread. While the IRS has not issued guidance on mask eligibility, we hope they will reconsider their status in the future.
HSAstore.com has launched a petition to make masks, hand sanitizer and other necessary virus preparedness items eligible for purchase with HSA dollars. We hope you’ll lend your support!
Are surgical gloves HSA-eligible?
Surgical gloves are also not HSA-eligible, although without any clear guidance from the IRS, these too could be considered an eligible expense by some administrators. In most cases, it's best to check with your administrator first to check their eligibility status under your plan.
Is hand sanitizer HSA-eligible?
Even with the passage of the CARES Act in March 2020, hand sanitizer continues to fall outside of the rules for HSA eligibility and cannot be purchased with HSA funds without a Letter of Medical Necessity (LMN) from a health professional. The most common active ingredient in hand sanitizer is alcohol, and products must contain at least 60 percent alcohol to be considered antibacterial.
Other products such as rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide are HSA-eligible, but most Americans turn to hand sanitizer as a quick solution to disinfect their hands and commonly touched surfaces.
Once again, HSAstore.com is pushing Congress to act and make these much-needed products eligible, and you can help today by signing our petition.
Are antibacterial products HSA-eligible?
Currently no. While first aid products like rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide would be covered, antibacterial wipes and other surface disinfectants are not covered by HSA funds. As always, we'll keep you posted if anything changes!
What are the best options to combat COVID-19 with my HSA?
In truth, the vast majority of preparations that the CDC recommends to combat the spread of COVID-19, such as washing hands, avoiding large crowds and wiping down commonly used surfaces with antibacterial products, are not practices that can be aided by your HSA at this juncture.
The fact is, HSA regulations need to expand to allow for preventive products like hand sanitizer, antibacterial products and more to help combat this public health crisis.
HSAstore.com is taking direct steps to help HSA users:
- We have recently launched our new Virus Preparedness category to ensure families can find the most popular HSA-eligible items purchased during flu season. In response to the growing pressure of the broader market, we have taken further steps as advocates of our tax-free health community to make virus preparedness our top priority.
- We have launched TaxFreeBetter.com, an advocacy site for FSA/HSA users to learn how they can support future expansion of tax-free healthcare accounts. Visit TaxFreeBetter.com and use our form letters to send a personalized letter to your member of congress. Simply click the "Contact Your Member of Congress" tab at the bottom of the page and follow the directions to voice your concerns to your representative directly.
- PPE/Hand Sanitizer Petition: We have launched a public petition on Care2.com to drive public support for legislative action to make masks and hand sanitizer eligible for purchase with tax-free funds. This would provide an invaluable service to millions of American families who need every resource to protect themselves during this public health crisis. We encourage our customers to lend their voice by signing our petition.
- With millions of Americans struggling with the unexpected financial burden brought on by the coronavirus outbreak, HSAstore.com is looking to the IRS to clarify the eligibility status of key items like hand sanitizer, antibacterial wipes and more. It's our hope that the IRS will provide guidance so that HSA users will be able to confidently use their tax-free funds to cover these much-needed items.