HomeResourcesArticles
April 6, 2020

CARES Act Updates

Donna Wilkinson
Donna Wilkinson
General Counsel

In March, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Secutiry Act. This page contains news, videos and Frequently Asked Questions about the CARES Act.

April 6, 2020 – WASHINGTON – The CARES Act includes the Paycheck Protection Program, which guarantees loans to small businesses affected by COVID-19. Ameriflex Senior Counsel, Donna Wilkinson, explains the details in the video above.

March 27, 2020 – WASHINGTON – The House of Representatives voted on Friday to approve a historic $2 trillion stimulus package aimed at mitigating the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The legislation, which passed in the Senate earlier this week, now heads to the White House where it is expected to be immediately signed into law by President Trump.

The package represents the biggest relief bill in the nation’s history; with measures that include the issuance of direct payments to millions of Americans, the expansion of unemployment benefits, loans and tax breaks for businesses, and billions of dollars in aid to help state and local governments, as well as the struggling healthcare system. Of the many provisions contained within this massive piece of legislation, there are a few items of note for the healthcare benefits community; in particular, some changes in rules governing the use of healthcare spending accounts. Here is a brief summary:

Payments for Telehealth: The bill allows payments for “telehealth and other remote care services” to be permitted, below the deductible, in a health savings account (HSA)-qualified high-deductible health plan. This means that telehealth expenses could be covered pre-deductible without compromising HSA eligibility, although it remains unclear what “other remote care services” entails. The provision is effective on the date of enactment of the legislation, and will remain in place until December 31, 2021.

Over-the-Counter Drugs and Menstrual Care Products: The bill removes the restriction on the use of flexible spending account (FSA), health reimbursement arrangement (HRA), and HSA funds for the purchase of over-the-counter (OTC) drugs and medicines. Effective for expenses incurred on or after January 1, 2020, consumers may use FSA, HRA, and HSA funds to pay for OTC drugs without the need for a prescription. The same provision also adds menstrual care products to the list of OTC items for which FSA, HRA, and HSA consumers may use their funds tax-free. The OTC and menstrual care product measures do not have an expiration date – which is good news for healthcare spending account holders and a big win for industry advocates who have long been pushing for these important changes on behalf of the consumers they serve.

Despite the magnitude of this stimulus package, there are indications that Congress may discuss one or more additional spending bills to supplement what was just passed. We will be keeping an eye on any activity that would impact our partners and clients, and will share any new developments as they occur.

Read the CARES Act Bill passed by Congress in March.


CARES Act Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Now that Congress has passed the CARES Act, and over-the-counter medications, menstrual products, and teladoc expenses (for Health Savings Accounts) are covered, is there anything the employer or employees need to do to make sure these expenses are approved?

A: Yes, the CARES Act has 3 direct inclusions that immediately expand the usage of health savings accounts (HSA), flexible spending accounts (FSA), and health reimbursement arrangements (HRA).

  1. Telehealth services can now be covered pre-deductible under a High Deductible Health Plan. The end date of this provision is Dec 21, 2021.
  2. Over the counter (OTC) drugs and medicines are now eligible for reimbursement from an HSA, FSA, LPF or HRA. This is a permanent change.
  3. Menstrual products are now eligible for reimbursement from an HSA, FSA, LPF or HRA. This is a permanent change.

Employers and employees do not have to make or request any changes on their end for these new provisions to be covered.

Although this provision was signed into law, employees cannot immediately make these purchases using their MyAmeriflex card. Several steps need to occur before eligible items will be approved when swiping a MyAmeriflex card:

If employees try to purchase these items with their MyAmeriflex card before systems have been updated and the transaction is denied, they can submit a claim for reimbursement by going to myameriflex.com and clicking on “Log In To Your Account” to access our Participant Portal. Employees will want to upload an itemized receipt when submitting their online claim. An itemized receipt includes the following:

  1. Date of service/expense
  2. What products were purchased
  3. Amount of the expense
  4. Name of the merchant/provider.


Q:
 If an employee goes to swipe their MyAmeriflex card for new expenses covered under the CARES Act, and their card is denied, can the employee submit a manual claim for reimbursement?

A: Yes. If employees attempt to purchase these items before systems have been updated and the transaction is denied, they can submit a manual claim for reimbursement. In addition, this provision is effective for any qualified purchases made after December 31, 2019. Employees can submit claims for reimbursement for purchases made between that date and when the law passed.

To submit a manual claim, employees can go to myameriflex.com and click on “Log In To Your Account” to access our Participant Portal. Employees will want to upload an itemized receipt when submitting their online claim. An itemized receipt includes the following:

  1. Date of service/expense
  2. What products were purchased
  3. Amount of the expense
  4. Name of the merchant/provider.


Q:
 Are vitamins and supplements now covered under the CARES Act?

A: Over the counter (OTC) medicines or drugs must be for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of a disease and cannot be “merely beneficial” to the general health of an individual. Generally, vitamins and supplements are not considered OTC expenses covered under FSA, HRA or HSA plans. However, if your medical provider does deem a vitamin or supplement medically necessary for the treatment of a specific medical condition, please have your provider complete the Letter of Medical Necessity Form and submit the completed form to the Ameriflex Claims Department noted at bottom of the form.

You must submit a new Letter of Medical Necessity Form each plan year—they cannot be approved indefinitely. Submitting this form does not guarantee that the expense will be reimbursed.

To confirm if your Letter of Medical Necessity form has been approved, log into your Ameriflex account.

Other Recent Posts
On May 10, 2021, the IRS released the 2022 limits for health savings accounts (HSA) and high-deductible health plans (HDHP). Below is a comparison of the 2021 and 2022 limits for HSAs and HDHPs. Interested in learning more about Ameriflex’s HSA administration options? Get in touch with our team for more information.
As your COBRA administrator, Ameriflex is committed to helping you navigate the new rules and changes to COBRA under The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA). Here, you will find the latest information regarding the COBRA subsidy, including administrative updates from Ameriflex, FAQs, and next steps. COBRA Premium Subsidy Overview  On March 11, 2021,...
IRS approved PPE as 213(d) The IRS issued new guidance clarifying that the purchase of personal protective equipment, such as masks, hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes, are qualified medical expenses if used for the primary purpose of preventing the spread of coronavirus. The announcement applies to expenses incurred on or after January 1, 2020. This will permit...
Stay Updated

Join us to stay on top of the latest healthcare news, legislation and product features from Ameriflex

We value your privacy
We will not rent or sell your information