After years of lobbying in Washington, menstrual care products are officially considered medically necessary items that you can purchase with your flexible spending accounts.
As part of the CARES Act, an amendment has been made to the Internal Revenue Code, which states that menstrual products—specifically tampons, pads, liners, cups, sponges or similar products—can now be purchased using your HSA (health savings account) or FSA (flexible spending account). These accounts are benefits offered by your employer where you can deduct pretax dollars from your paycheck and use them for prescription medications, copays and other medically necessary expenses.
Menstrual products weren’t always considered essential medical items that could be purchased with this benefit, but thankfully that’s changed. This victory has been a long time coming. According to The Hill, The House of Representatives passed a bill in July 2018 “allowing women to buy menstrual hygiene products with pretax money from health flexible spending accounts.” The bill never made it to the Senate, but the idea finally took off this year. Representative Grace Meng had been leading the charge for menstrual equality, saying in a statement that “there is no reason why menstrual products should not be included, and I am thrilled that we are on the path to finally changing that wrongheaded policy.”
There is still work to be done, however. Menstrual products are still being taxed while other essential items are not. But this is definitely a small step in the right direction.