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Health Savings Accounts & the COVID-19 pandemic

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Health Savings Accounts & the COVID-19 pandemic

Over 22 million Americans filed for unemployment between March 21, 2020 and April 16, 2020, according to the Washington Postfootnote1. The current unemployment levels rival only those seen during the Great Depression.

In the United States (U.S.), our health insurance is usually tied to our place of employment. This means that unemployment doesn’t only come with loss of income, but also with loss of insurance coverage. In a time of a national and global medical emergency – this can be even more stressful. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey found that 29% of adults surveyed had reported that they have fallen behind on paying bills or have had problems affording household expenses like food or health insurance coverage since February due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Being under-insured or uninsured during a global medical emergency can be stressful, having a health savings account (HSA) can offer some relieffootnote2. An HSA could be thought of as a tax-free emergency fund for health care and allows those with an HSA to:

  • Continue to access and spend HSA dollars, even if you lose your job and/or insurance coverage or switch employers.
  • Use your HSA to pay health insurance premiums if you're collecting unemployment benefits.
  • Use your HSA to pay premiums for Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) health insurance received due to a change in job status.

Additionally, thanks to the CARES act, over the counter medications are HSA eligible without a prescription.

While an HSA won’t solve for all of the anxiety and uncertainty that individuals and families are facing due to COVID-19, it can provide some much needed relief during a stressful time.

For more information on COVID-19, visit the PayFlex COVID-19 Resource Center. If you have questions on how COVID-19 impacts your PayFlex accounts, review our frequently asked questions.