How many times have you typed something like this into Google?
“Tampons HSA eligible?”
“Can I pay for pads with my HSA?”
“Will my HSA card decline if I try to pay for tampons?”
If you’re anything like us, chances are you’ve asked those questions to the ether of the internet quite a few times… and for good reason. When you know that OBGYN visits and mammograms have always been eligible expenses with your health savings account (HSA), it seems only natural that feminine products like tampons and pads would be eligible too, right? Wrong.
Well, we’re here to give you a much needed positive update amid these crazy times… a glimmer of feminine hope, if you will.
Menstrual care products are now HSA-eligible!
What! Since When?
On March 25, 2020, Congress passed the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act, which is meant to help those whose income and financial security have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. The bill expanded health savings account (HSA) eligibility in three important ways, which we wrote about here.
But one of these expansions, in particular, is especially significant to women all over the country. In fact, it’s something we’ve been waiting for for many, many years.
The bill allows products including tampons, pads, liners, cups, sponges, and other similar products used by individuals with respect to menstruation to be purchased using an HSA, which is kind of like a personal savings accounts, except that the money in them is used to pay for eligible healthcare expenses. Like menstrual care (finally!) For more about all the benefits of an HSA, be sure to take a peek at this blog post.
US Representative Grace Meng called the legislation “a major leap forward” in the on-going fight for health equality. And she is so, so right.
While this new legislation does not eliminate what most know as the “pink tax” (menstrual care products are subject to a sales tax while other personal medical items are not), this update does mean that when you use your HSA to purchase feminine necessities, you’re doing so with what is already tax-free money! That means big tax-savings over time. And who doesn’t want that?
Taking the Win
Before last month, feminine care products were not, and had never been, eligible for purchase with HSA funds. Especially given everything going on in the world right now, this little win feels significant. It is.
As we said, this decision means big tax savings over women’s lifetimes. Check out this great article by HuffPo from a few years back. They did the menstrual, er, mental math for you around how much a woman’s period will cost her over her lifetime.
Consider these numbers, too:
Say you spend $500 on your period every year (that amount is probably a bit high, but for ease of math, bear with us). You’d be looking at a 15% tax savings, which is $75 per year. Multiply that by (again, roughly) 40 years of periods. That brings you to $3,000. If you apply a 5% compound interest rate, you’re looking at a lifetime net-positive of $9,512.
But even more than what this all means for tax savings, by including menstrual products as HSA-eligible items, it means that from the top-down, we’re well on our way to de-stigmatizing the negative perception that’s pervaded menstrual wellness as both a topic and a women’s health issue for decades.
There’s still work to be done (hello, pink tax), but for the moment, we’re just happy to bring you a little good news 😉
Now just remember to put those pre-tax dollars to work and swipe that Starship card when that time of the month comes around.