by WEX Health
Half of U.S. elementary school and high school students will not be going back to a physical school building due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, they will learn via virtual learning environments. And, depending on where you live, you may or may not be making a cautious return to the office yourself this fall.
Our back-to-school health savings account (HSA) and flexible spending account (FSA) tips blog post looks a little different from last year. But the topic is as relevant as ever. With many of you looking to maximize your savings — and be sure your medicine cabinets are fully stocked — to ride out this economic and health crisis, you may be relieved to know that you can use your benefits debit card to pay for the following purchases this fall:
- Thermometers. While personal protective equipment (PPE), such as gloves and surgical masks are not currently HSA-eligible, you can use your HSA to purchase a thermometer now that we’re all taking our temperature more than ever.
- Sunscreen. The need for protection from UV rays is year-round, and COVID-19 has more of us spending time outside. You can use your HSA to pay for sunblock, lip balm with an SPF of 15+, and thousands of other over-the-counter products.
- Eye exams, corrective eyewear, including prescription sunglasses. Speaking of physicals, your child’s physician will likely check their eyesight during their physical. But should he or she need the services of an optometrist or ophthalmologist, you can also turn to your HSA to cover the cost of both the eye exam and any corrective eyewear, including prescription glasses and contacts.
- Vaccinations. Need to get up to date on immunizations before school starts? They’re eligible for reimbursement with an HSA.
- School and sports physical exams. You can take care of this standard checkup with the funds you’ve saved into your HSA. For children heading back to school or onto a sports field, these annual exams are necessary to assess their physical well-being, build their medical history and gather the necessary paperwork to ensure that they’re up to date on state-required vaccines.
- OTC medicines. Thanks to the 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, you can now use HSA or FSA pre-tax dollars to purchase over-the-counter medications with your pre-tax dollars — these include allergy medicine, pain relievers, heartburn medication, acid reflux relief and cold and flu remedies.
- Allergy testing. There’s nothing like pollen and ragweed to cause stuffiness in the summer and autumn seasons. Use your HSA for allergy testing so that you can avoid angry sinuses.
- Band-Aids. For children, tumbles are almost inevitable. Gauze, bandages, and first-aid kits are covered under your HSA.
For more insights about HSAs, subscribe to our blog and be sure to participate in our annual HSA Awareness Day on Oct. 15, 2020.