stylized image of a green HSA debit card with band-aid on it (Photo: Shutterstock)

The rapid spread of COVID-19 has emerged as one of the biggest health crises of our time, with plenty of uncertainty still to come. In response, many American families have turned to self-funded health care benefits like flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and health savings accounts (HSAs) to purchase over-the-counter medicines to prevent and manage symptoms, but until recently, these medicine cabinet staples required a prescription for purchase. That left consumers with a difficult choice: Pay out-of-pocket for OTC medicines and possibly let their tax-free funds go to waste, or take the unnecessary risk and added cost of going to the doctor’s office to obtain a prescription.

Thankfully, the passage of the CARES Act reverses this law and eliminates the dilemma. As open enrollment season approaches, employers and benefits managers can pave the way to increased FSA and HSA participation and a better employee experience with a little education about the new changes to eligibility and the convenience and savings they deliver.

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