And the crowd goes wild! The U.S. government passed the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act in March 2020 that initiated a $2 trillion stimulus package that allows for the reimbursement of period products. If you’re interested in taking advantage of the opportunity to use your FSA towards a menstrual cup at no-tax, check out the details below. The Act retroactively went into effect January 2020, so make sure to save your receipts!
If the term “FSA” is foreign to you, we’ve included a section describing what it is and the eligibility process. If you already have an FSA (or HSA/HRA), go ahead and skip to the section about the reimbursement process.
What is an FSA?
According to HealthCare.gov, a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) is “a special account you put money into that you use to pay for certain out-of-pocket health care costs.” These expenses are not taxed, which means you save the amount equal to the money you set aside for your FSA. Using an FSA is designed to reduce your taxes and is offered by an employer. It’s important to note that it follows a “use it or lose it” rule, so if you are putting money aside for an FSA, make sure you are spending the equivalent on eligible, non-taxed items.
Who is eligible for an FSA?
According to the IRS, W-2 common law employees are eligible for an FSA. Anyone who owns 2% or more of a corporation, sole proprietorship, or partnership, is not eligible. Ask your employer about the details and process of setting up an FSA as it may differ from workplace to workplace.
Are menstrual cups included in the reimbursement?
Yes! Menstrual cups fall into the feminine hygiene product category that is reimbursable by the new CARES Act. Any products that are “designed to absorb or manage the menstrual flow, and/or the flow of bodily fluids from the vulva, in support of personal hygiene and comfort” should be covered. We consider this a win for the period product world, and a big step towards other initiatives, like fighting the Period Tax and Period Poverty that exists all around the world.
This Act does not mean that period products no longer have a sales tax. It simply means that you can get reimbursed for period products with tax-free income.
How do I receive my menstrual cup reimbursement?
Simply submit your receipt to your plan administrator. It doesn’t matter if you paid with cash or card, but you do need to have a valid receipt. If you don’t know how to submit to your plan administrator, your Human Resources department should be able to help. If you’d rather not discuss it with them, you can always call the toll free number of your health insurance provider.
Please note that it may take your FSA plan administrator some time to implement a process for the reimbursement on their end, so make sure to ask them about the timeline.
Is the CARES Act permanent?
Even though the CARES Act was implemented because of Coronavirus relief efforts, it is a bill that is expected to stay.
Why should I invest in a menstrual cup?
To put it simply, there are a lot of reasons to invest in a menstrual cup, which means you’re only one decision away from doing any of the following:
- Saving money, lots of money. Think about how much money you spend on period products every month, now times that by how many months you’ll spend menstruating throughout your life. The average woman will spend around $6,000 on period products throughout her life. Menstrual cups are reusable, and most Intimina cups can last up to 10 years.
- Being nicer to your body. Intimina menstrual cups are made from 100% medical-grade silicone that avoid fostering bacteria, unlike most pads and tampons that contain small amounts of dioxins (a byproduct of bleach) and other undisclosed toxins. It’s better to be safe.
- Doing your part for Mother Nature. It’s estimated that the average woman uses between 5,000 – 15,000 pads and tampons throughout her lifetime. That’s an insane amount of plastic that takes thousands of years to degrade. If women menstruate for approximately 40 years, that means it only takes a handful of menstrual cups to replace the plastic waste.
If you’re still on the fence, check out this beginner’s guide to menstrual cups. It’ll give you an honest review of what to expect, like being patient until you get the hand of insertion or how surprised you’ll be with the small amount of blood.
How do I choose the right menstrual cup for me?
Intimina offers a wide range of menstrual cups, from beginner’s cups to post-birth cups, to cups that are sex-friendly. The most popular cups recommended by women are the Lily Cup and Lily Cup Compact, and finding the one that’s right for you depends on a few factors and preferences. You should start by measuring your cervix so that you know which size will work best for you and work from there!
The CARES Act is one small step for government, and one big step for women everywhere. It goes to show that there is power in numbers, and the more women voice their menstrual concerns, the easier it is to implement ideas that benefit us all.