6 HSA-approved purchases that can help reduce employee stress

With the pandemic raging on — and flu season just around the corner — employees have plenty to be stressed about. But they might be able to find some relief from their HSA dollars.

Alison Moore, vice president of marketing at HealthSavings — an HSA company — says employees can be tapping into their HSA accounts for support for mental health, sleep issues, and even basic hygiene concerns brought on by the pandemic.

“Mental health is a huge issue right now because of the pandemic, and people may not realize they can use these pre-tax dollars to pay for the things they need,” Moore says. “I’m discovering that there are all these new things I’m dealing with because of the pandemic that I can actually spend HSA dollars on — and I work at an HSA company.”

The average American spends $5,000 out-of-pocket every year for healthcare costs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Instead, they could use the HSA’s triple tax benefits to lower their costs. During COVID-19, this resource could be crucial to maintaining good health before a second wave or the start of the flu season, Moore says.

“Don’t wait to go to the dentist, the eye doctor, or anything else; go out and get the preventative care you need now before things change and you don’t feel safe going out again,” Moore says.

Check out Moore’s list of HSA-approved services and items employees can use to help de-stress in these uncertain times:

Telehealth: Mental health and primary care
“Mental health services aren’t always covered on health plans, but employees can use HSA dollars to cover them,” Moore says. “Telehealth makes it easy to access care during the pandemic, and when employees need it.”
Alternative therapies
“HSA dollars can actually be used for chiropractic visits, massage therapy and yoga — with a doctor’s note explaining you need these things for a medical reason,” she says. “File the note in case your HSA is audited to prove a medical professional recommended this.”
Sleep aids
“Many people aren’t sleeping well right now because they’re so stressed out about the pandemic,” she says. “Everyone needs a good night’s sleep to perform well at work; you can buy melatonin, and other sleep aids, with your HSA dollars.”
Flu shots
“We’re worried about a second wave of coronavirus hitting during flu season; get ahead of the potential twin-demic by using your HSA to get a flu shot now.”
“All that hand washing and hand sanitizing is probably leaving your hands feeling dry and chapped,” she says. “But you can buy lotion, and even chapstick, with your HSA.”
COBRA expenses
“A lot of people are being laid off because of the pandemic and are receiving healthcare benefits from COBRA,” Moore says. “It’s expensive insurance, so being able to use your HSA dollars to help pay for it is a big help in a stressful time.”