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OTC Products Are Now Covered by HSAs and FSAs Under CARES Act

August 13th 2020
Contemporary Clinic Staff

Contemporary Clinic® interviewed Amanda Bowles, the director of the Shopper Science Lab at GSK Consumer Healthcare, on the expansion of coverage eligibility for OTC and menstrual products by health savings accounts and flexible spending accounts this year following the passage of the CARES Act.

Contemporary Clinic® interviewed Amanda Bowles, the director of the Shopper Science Lab at GSK Consumer Healthcare, on the expansion of coverage eligibility for OTC and menstrual products by health savings accounts (HSAs) and flexible spending accounts (FSAs) this year following the passage of the CARES Act.

The discussion included how this change affects Americans, the duration of the expansion, the role of FSAs and HSAs in the lives of Americans thus far, and the difference between FSAs and HSAs and what that may mean for account holders this year.

“We know that households today spend on average more than $400 a year on OTC products. In fact, the latest number I saw was $442 a year on average. So, if these purchases are made entirely through a tax-advantaged account, the average family could realize some measurable tax savings,” said Bowles. “Being able to use this pre-tax money for OTCs might mean that someone can afford to stock up on the products that they want to have on hand going into the cold and flu season or to plan ahead for their digestive health or pain management needs. It really puts the consumer in better control of their health and their health care spending.”

Bowles also discussed where pharmacists can go to see a complete list of what is covered and isn’t covered now by FSAs and HSAs, how the expansion of OTC eligibility helps to support the health care system during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, how the expansion of eligibility benefits pharmacies, and what the value of a pharmacist is in the education of consumers about eligibility changes when they occur.

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