New data from FSAstore.com shows FSA users are increasing contributions and anticipating approval of PPE eligibility

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FSAstore.com reminds consumers that new deadline options and contribution rules reinforce the need to understand your deadlines as March 15 grace period approaches

The renewed interest by Congress to expand eligibility to include much-needed PPE and other medical products will empower American families to use tax-free dollars to protect themselves during and beyond the pandemic.

As we near the March 15 deadline for the flexible spending account (FSA) grace period, a new consumer survey from FSAstore.com, the first and leading online marketplace for exclusively FSA-eligible products, finds that FSA holders are contributing more to their accounts in 2021, making better use of the money they set aside, and hopeful that personal protective equipment (PPE) will be approved as an eligible expense.

The survey, conducted in January, reflects responses from 1,100 FSAstore.com customers, measures consumer behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic and reactions to changes made through legislation such as the CARES Act and the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021 (CCA). In March 2020, the CARES Act expanded eligibility for FSAs and health savings accounts (HSAs) to include over-the-counter medicines and menstrual care products. In January 2021, the CCA legislation introduced a series of optional, temporary changes related to spending deadlines, enrollment, and contributions that employers can implement to help employees maximize their contributions.

The following are three key consumer insights from the FSAstore.com survey:

1.    FSA contributions are growing
With public health still top of mind and new product categories now eligible, FSA users are setting aside slightly more in 2021 than they did in 2020. Average contributions (which could include multiple FSA accounts and employer matching) among FSAstore.com customers increased from $1,800 in 2020 to $1,860 for the 2021 benefit year. For reference, the contribution limit for FSAs in 2021 is $2,750.

2.    Rollover options have a mixed impact
While the CCA gives employers the option to allow employees to roll over all unspent FSA funds to the following plan year, FSA users did not indicate that this would influence their spending habits. In fact, most respondents (62%) did not plan to change their spending habits even if a roll over was offered, while 30% said they would spend more. On a related note, 64% of respondents in this FSAstore.com survey said they forfeited less than $25 from their FSAs in 2020, suggesting that FSA users are increasingly savvy about navigating annual spending deadlines and are maximizing their funds to care for everyday health.

3.    Consumers want PPE eligibility
Personal protective equipment like masks and other safety precautions like hand sanitizer has become essential over the past year, yet such items still are not eligible for FSA spending. H.R. 373 would expand eligibility to include PPE and hand sanitizers. FSA users are ready for this change, with more than 70% of respondents saying they would allocate $50 or more in their FSAs each year to pay for PPE.

“With a series of changes on the legislative level, the expansion of FSAs are pivotal for consumers’ health and financial wellness needs,” said Rida Wong, president of Health-E Commerce, the parent brand for FSAstore.com and HAstore.com. “In addition, the renewed interest by Congress to expand eligibility to include much-needed PPE and other medical products will empower American families to use tax-free dollars to protect themselves during and beyond the pandemic.”

Wrap up the 2020 FSA plan year with the FSA Grace Period Spending Guide
While the 2021 plan year is well underway for many, 2020 isn’t quite over for users with the FSA grace period, which allows employers to give employees 2.5 months to spend their remaining funds (and potentially even more time if an employer has adopted permissible changes offered under the Consolidated Appropriations Act). The grace period typically ends on March 15.

With some savvy spending, FSA users can maximize their account’s potential. The FSA Grace Period Spending Guide will help FSA users find the hottest eligible products they need to stay healthy, including:

  • Sunscreen
  • Diagnostic products
  • Over-the-counter medications
  • Feminine care products
  • Baby and mom products
  • Pain relief
  • Glasses, contacts, and accessories

To learn more about FSA deadline options and the grace period, visit http://www.fsastore.com.

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About FSAstore.com
FSAstore.com is flex spending with zero guesswork. It’s both the largest online marketplace for guaranteed FSA-eligible products and an educational resource that you can actually understand. It’s the company's mission to help millions of FSA holders manage and use their accounts, and save on more than 6,000 health items using tax-free funds.

About Health-E Commerce
Health-E Commerce is the parent company of FSA Store, HSA Store and WellDeserved, a family of brands that serve the 70+ million consumers with pre-tax health and wellness accounts. The company has also created Caring Mill, a popular private-label line of health products that benefits Children’s Health Fund and enables customers to make a donation with each purchase. Since 2010, the company’s brands have led the direct-to-consumer e-commerce market for pre-tax health and wellness benefits. Health-E Commerce plays an essential role in expanding product eligibility for important new categories within the IRS-approved list of eligible medical expenses like sunscreen and breast pumps. The company leads a committee of industry experts to promote the important national conversation around product safety and authenticity.

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Barbara Tabor
TaborPR
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