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CARES Act: Miscellaneous Healthcare Benefits

by Michelle Smalenberger / March 31, 2020

fee only financial advisor deer park barrington chicago The CARES Act- Miscellaneous Healthcare Benefits draft

CARES Act: Miscellaneous Healthcare Benefits

Background: As a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) from 2011, most ‘over the counter’ drugs and medicines technically required a prescription to be considered a qualified expense. Meaning it could be paid from the different Health focused savings accounts like a Flexible Savings Accounts (FSA), Health Savings Account (HSA), or Medical Savings Account (MSA).

But with the CARES act,  all over the counter medications including female care products are now considered qualified medical expenses and can be paid for or reimbursed by the various health accounts.

Timing: This change is in effect now.

Details: While this may not seem like a significant change, this can go a long way in helping families with their medications and care. Essentially, being able to use an account that makes the purchases of these products free of income tax gives folks a very nice discount!

There are quite a few other little nuggets of benefit from the CARES act including:

  • Free Vaccine (When available)– When the vaccine is available for COVID-19, this will be free to you if you’re on Medicare. As most large insurers also cover other vaccines as ‘preventative’, it’s likely, though not confirmed, that they’ll follow suit and offer them limited to no copay or deductible.
  • 90 Day Supply of Medication – A big concern for many individuals during this time is having to leave home unnecessarily. During this time, folks with Medicare Part D are eligible for a 90-day supply of medications. Previously, this could have been reduced to just a one-month (30 days) supply.
  • Telehealth – In a time when social distancing is of primary focus for many, meeting with a mental health counselor may be even more difficult than usual. To alleviate this, the CARES act allows for an HSA Eligible HDHP to cover services before meeting your deductible. Further, during this time, some of the restrictions have been relaxed allowing for greater access to these professionals.

Interested in the other areas of the CARES Act? We are breaking down these details by section in the following resource. You can click to the particular section you’re interested in directly below if you’d like to read the specifics of those first.  We do encourage you to look through all of the sections that could potentially impact you since this is a very generous bill aimed at keeping our country’s economy strong during and after this pandemic.

Financial Design Studio CARES Act Summary

Like any benefit that becomes available to you it is critical to see if it makes sense to use the provisions allowed.  While a benefit might make your temporary financial situation better, it might not be beneficial in the long term. However, those who need these provisions were created for are likely in immediate need to use the benefits until employment returns to normal.


Recovery Rebates

Coronavirus-Related Retirement Distributions 

Enhanced loans from employer retirement plans

Required Minimum Distributions waived for 2020 

Qualified Charitable Contributions – NEW Above the line deduction 

AGI Limit for Cash Charitable Contributions Limit Temporary Repealed

Student Loan Borrower Relief

Miscellaneous Healthcare Benefits

Unemployment Benefits

Mortgage Forbearance Request


Business Owners:

Paycheck Protection Program & Forgivable Loans

Employee Retention Credit

Payroll Tax Payment Deferral 

Net Operating Losses Loosened

Wondering how this affects your future finances? Schedule a call with Financial Design Studio, financial advisors in Deer Park, to discuss your portfolio today.

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Michelle Smalenberger

I have a passion for helping others develop a path to financial success! Through different lenses on your financial picture, I want to help create solutions with you that are thoughtful of today and the future. I have seen in my life the power of having a financial plan while making slight changes of direction from time to time. I believe you can experience freedom from anxiety and even excitement when you know your finances are on track.