President Trump has signed the CARES Act (H.R. 748), approved today by Congress. This $2 trillion bill is designed to provide economic relief for American citizens and businesses due to the COVID-19 healthcare emergency that has greatly impacted the U.S. economy. The bill provides direct stimulus payments to individuals and extended unemployment benefits. In addition, the legislation impacts how workers can use their healthcare benefits accounts.
Telemedicine Coverage Under an HDHP
Effective immediately, payments for “telehealth and other remote care services” are approved under a high deductible health plan (HDHP). Typically, an HDHP is only permitted to pay benefits after the deductible has been met, with the exception of preventive services, in order for HSA owners to continue making contributions to their HSAs. This authorization does not expire until December 31, 2021. The newly eligible expenses will be allowed for everyone retroactive to January 1, 2020.
OTC Medications and Menstrual Care Products
The CARES Act has also expanded the qualified healthcare expenses that can be purchased with a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), Health Savings Account (HSA), and Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA). Over-the-counter (OTC) medications, including non-prescription pain relievers and cold/flu medications, may once again be purchased with an FSA, HSA, or HRA without a prescription. Although once classified as eligible healthcare expenses, most OTCs were disallowed beginning in 2011 under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In addition, expenses for menstrual care products have been added to the list of expenses eligible for FSA, HSA, and HRA purchase. There is no expiration date on these provisions, and the newly eligible expenses will be allowed for everyone retroactive to January 1, 2020.
Updating the merchant codes for the debit cards through SIGIS will take time, and merchants will be updating their own systems according to their own timelines. This means participants could experience inconsistencies from merchant to merchant for 4-6 weeks of the President signing the bill into law. Participants who are unable to use their FSA or HSA debit cards to purchase the OTC drugs, medicines or menstrual care products are encouraged to use another form of payment and submit for reimbursement to Corporate Coverage TPA through our secure online portal, mobile application or a claim form.
This new legislation comes on the heels of several additional recent measures that extended the tax filing and HSA contribution deadlines to July 15, and allowed for coronavirus treatments to be covered by an HDHP.
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