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The Cares Act

The CARES Act and What It Means For Your Benefits

March 31, 2020

The CARES Act was signed into law on Friday as an additional piece of legislation crafted to help Americans during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. It includes a number of provisions that affect your employee benefits plans. We’ve outlined a few of the highlights below.


OTC products as eligible expenses

The CARES Act permanently reinstated over-the-counter products as eligible expenses for Health Savings Account (HSA), Flexible Spending Account (FSA) and Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) funds without a prescription. This reverses laws put in place by the Affordable Care Act nearly 10 years ago, which stated that those expenses were only eligible for reimbursement with a prescription. This change takes place retroactive to January 1, 2020.


Menstrual care included as eligible

Menstrual care products were added as eligible expenses as part of the legislation. That means employees can now use their HSA, FSA and HRA funds to purchase items such as tampons, pads and menstrual sponges. This change also takes place retroactive to January 1, 2020.


HDHPs and telehealth services

The CARES Act temporarily allows High-Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs) with an HSA to cover any telehealth or remote care expenses, even if the participant hasn’t reached his/her deductible. This change continues through 2020 and 2021 (for calendar year plans). This comes after the recently passed Families First Coronavirus Response Act required certain coronavirus-related telehealth expenses to be covered with no cost sharing.


The WEX Health Cloud platform helps employers, consumers and benefits administrators navigate the complex consumer-directed healthcare market by efficiently administering HSAs, HRAs, FSAs, VEBAs, COBRA, defined-contribution, wellness and transit plans.

The information in this blog post is for educational purposes only. It is not legal or tax advice. For legal or tax advice, you should consult your own counsel.


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