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13 qualifying life events that trigger ACA special enrollment
Outside of open enrollment, a special enrollment period allows you to enroll in an ACA-compliant plan (on or off-exchange) if you experience a qualifying life event.

Latest News & Topics

Latest News & Topics

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Featured
Finalized federal rule reduces total duration of short-term health plans to 4 months
A finalized federal rule will impose new nationwide duration limits on short-term limited duration insurance (STLDI) plans. The rule – which applies to plans sold or issued on or after September 1, 2024 – will limit STLDI plans to three-month terms, and to total duration – including renewals – of no more than four months.
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Can I use my HSA to purchase over-the-counter medications?

Can I use my HSA to purchase over-the-counter medications?

Q: Can I use my HSA to purchase over-the-counter medications?

A: Yes, you can. The rules on this have changed over time.

As of 2011, the ACA prohibited the purchase of over-the-counter medications with health savings account (HSA) funds, unless a doctor wrote a prescription for them. But Section 4402 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act changed that. 

The law, which was enacted in March 2020, eliminated the sentence at the end of Section 223(d)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 that had previously prohibited the purchase of non-prescription over-the-counter medications with HSA money.

(The law used to say that qualified medical expenses “shall include an amount paid for medicine or a drug only if such medicine or drug is a prescribed drug (determined without regard to whether such drug is available without a prescription) or is insulin.” That provision was eliminated under the CARES Act.)

Section 4402 of the CARES Act also changed the rules to allow menstrual products to be purchased with HSA funds.

Both of these changes are permanent and were retroactively effective on January 1, 2020.


Louise Norris is an individual health insurance broker who has been writing about health insurance and health reform since 2006. She has written dozens of opinions and educational pieces about the Affordable Care Act for healthinsurance.org.

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