Are face masks and medical gloves Health FSA-eligible?

Updated 3/29/21: The IRS has issued guidance in Announcement 2021-7 that personal protective equipment (PPE) that prevents the spread of COVID-19 is treated as an expense incurred for medical care under 213(d). This means that PPE can now be reimbursed through a Health FSA, HSA, and 213(d) HRA (HRAs that only reimburse deductible or coinsurance/out-of-pocket expenses are unaffected by this change).

The PPE can be for the participant as well as the participant’s spouse and dependents.

PPE includes:

  • Masks
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Sanitizing wipes
  • Disposable gloves
  • Any other equipment for the primary purpose of preventing the spread of COVID

This guidance is effective retroactively back to 1/1/20 so any PPE expenses incurred on/after 1/1/20 are eligible. ProBenefits had previously determined in April 2020 that masks were eligible items, and we have reimbursed claims for masks accordingly since then. We have also reimbursed claims for disposable gloves with accompanying letter of medical necessity; now the letter of necessity will no longer be required. Claims for PPE items that were previously denied can be resubmitted for open plan years.

Keep in mind this change applies to protective equipment only. Vitamins and supplements taken as a preventive regimen will still require a letter of medical necessity to be eligible for reimbursement.

Please note that it may take merchants some time to update their list of eligible expenses, so your ProBenefits debit card may not work for these expenses right away. But you may submit a reimbursement claim for these items at any time.