Health savings accounts can now be used for thousands of over-the-counter products like tampons and allergy medicine

The CARES Act is best known for those stimulus checks mailed to many Americans to provide some financial relief during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has shuttered large parts of the U.S. economy.

But there are other ways the CARES Act might help you save a buck.

Do you have some type of health benefits account through your work? If so, you may now be able to purchase many popular items with those pretax dollars.

When President Donald Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) into law of March 27, it included many provisions, including one that expands the use of funds from Health Savings Accounts (HSA), Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRA) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA).

Previously, under the Affordable Care Act of 2011, these accounts could only be used for prescriptions or direct medical payments. But thanks to the CARES provision, many popular over-the-counter products are eligible.

Some of these include feminine products, such as liners or pads. OTC sinus and allergy medicines, cough and flu remedies, sleep aids and even contraceptives.

Thousands of products are now eligible, helping to save you money. More products are expected to be added in the months ahead.

It's worth noting that retailers must download updates into their point-of-sales systems, and some may be quicker than others to do so. Once that is complete, you can just purchase items through a regular checkout counter using your health benefit debit card.

Here's a partial list of some of the items now eligible for purchase with a health savings account under the CARES Act.

  • Most over-the-counter medicines, including anti-acids, allergy and sinus medicine, anti-diarrhea products, antifungals, cough, cold and flu remedies, pain relief, motion sickness and many more.
  • Baby electrolytes and dehydration
  • Acne medications
  • Antibiotics
  • Anti-itch and insect bite
  • Antiseptics & wound cleansers
  • Baby rash ointments/creams
  • Contraceptives
  • Denture pain relief
  • Digestive aids
  • Ear Care
  • Eye care
  • Foot care
  • Homeopathic remedies
  • Incontinence products
  • Nasal sprays, drops and inhalers
  • Skin treatments
  • Sleep aids and sedatives
  • Smoking deterrents


FEMININE PRODUCTS NOW ELIGIBLE
  • Anti-Fungal/Anti-Itch
  • Liners
  • Pads
  • Tampons
  • and more
.

Check with your health benefits provider if you have a question about a product's eligibility.
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