2020 CARES Act: Period Products Eligible for FSA, HSA, & HRA
It's happening! U.S. lawmakers passed a $2 TRILLION stimulus package which now classifies “menstrual care products” as medical expenses and allows for pre-tax spending on period products.
What Exactly Does This Mean For Menstruators?
Sec. 3702 of the CARES Act states: “amounts paid for menstrual care products shall be treated as paid for medical care.” The rule defines a “menstrual care product” as “a tampon, pad, liner, cup, sponge, or similar product used by individuals with respect to menstruation or other genital-tract secretions.”
This means Flex Discs, Flex Cups, and other menstrual products used to care for your period flow are eligible for reimbursement through a FSA (Flexible Spending Account or Arrangement), HSA (Health Savings Account) funds, and some HRAs (Health Reimbursement Arrangement).
[Need a quick breakdown on what an FSA or HSA is? You can read more here.]
The CARES Act also allows for the purchase of OTC drugs and medicines without a doctor's prescription. This means you can also use your FSA/ HSA to purchase painkillers, like Midol and Pamprin, for management of PMS symptoms.
After years of period products being taxed as “luxury” items and denied classification as medical expenses, the passing of the #CARESACT is a big deal for all who menstruate.
When Can I Start Using My FSA/ HSA Card to Purchase Period Products?
GREAT question! Although the CARES Act was officially signed into law, it may take benefits administrators some time to apply the changes to their policies, so the best way to find out the answer to that question is to contact your benefits administrator. The Act will apply retroactively beginning January 1, 2020, so save your receipts (and maybe even look through those crumpled receipts in your bags or jeans- just sayin'!) for future reimbursement.
Is This A Temporary Change?
Although the CARES Act was passed in response to the current coronavirus pandemic, rules classifying period products as “medical expenses” was approved into law and should be permanent.
Does This Mean I Don't Have To Pay Tax On Period Products?
The CARES Act does not affect sales tax on period products aka the “pink tax,” but it allows for use of tax-free income to purchase period products if you have access to FSA or HSA funds.
What If My Employer Does Not Provide A FSA or HSA?
Unfortunately, you must have access to a funded FSA/HSA in order to take advantage of using tax-free money for the purchase of period products.