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CARES Act Expands List of Eligible OTC Items

The CARES Act allows health Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs), and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) to pay for or reimburse over-the-counter medication and menstrual products without a prescription.

This is a permanent repeal of the ACA’s prohibition on reimbursements under such plans for over-the-counter medication obtained without a prescription. This change is effective January 1, 2020.  The IRS may issue further guidance regarding the timing of any necessary plan amendments.

Here are five of the most common expense categories that are now eligible to use FSA funds without a prescription.

  1. Pain Relief Medications Headaches. – Over-the-counter pain and headache medications are now among the eligible expenses available from an FSA.
  2. Cold and Flu Products – Over-the-counter medicines taken to cope with a severe cough or congestion are now eligible expenses.
  3. Allergy Products – Those who have allergies can now find relief with their FSA funds in the form of over-the counter antihistamines and decongestants.
  4. Heartburn Medications – Over-the-counter Heartburn medications are now FSA eligible without a prescription.
  5. Menstrual Products – This entirely new product category is now FSA eligible! Eligible products include tampons, pads, and menstrual sponges.

There may be a delay in being able to use your Payment Card to pay for these newly eligible product purchases. We expect most merchants will be ready by the end of June. Remember, when using your Payment Card always keep the receipt in case it is needed to confirm that your purchase is eligible for reimbursement.

For more information on what items are eligible you can search by item or review the entire list at the FSA Store.

For more information on the tax-saving benefits of Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs), and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), visit