Washington, DC—Today, Representatives John Curtis (R-UT), Kendra Horn (D-OK) and Ami Bera, M.D. (D-CA), introduced the bipartisan Protecting Individuals and Families Act, which permits millions of Americans to use their health savings accounts or flexible spending accounts to purchase face masks to protect against COVID-19. The legislation would also permit individuals to purchase hand sanitizers as well as surface cleaners to stop the spread of the virus using these tax-advantaged savings accounts.
“Millions of Americans across the country use these accounts to help save for future medical expenses or unexpected life events,” said Curtis. “We ought to give people the option to use these hard-earned savings to purchase a face mask or cleaning supplies that can limit the spread of COVID-19, which no one expected and is a clear threat to our health and well-being. This bipartisan, commonsense legislation unlocks the ability for Americans and their families to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their community from the spread of this virus, and I urge my colleagues to join me advancing this important measure.”
“I am proud to introduce the Protecting Individuals and Families Act with Congressman Curtis. As we continue to navigate life in the midst of a pandemic, allowing Americans to use their Health Savings Accounts to purchase personal protective equipment like face masks and antibacterial wipes just makes sense. In order to reduce the spread of this virus and restart the economy, we have to follow the advice of public health experts to wear masks and maintain social distance,” said Horn. “Purchasing PPE ensures we have a healthier workforce and a stronger economy. This bill will make it easier for individuals and families to do just that.”
“In April, I urged the CDC to recommend that people wear face coverings in public, and I am pleased they did shortly after,” said Bera. “We should use all of our tools at our disposal to help people buy critical tools like masks and hand sanitizer—we know it will help us in the fight against COVID-19. And this bill—which would let people use their own FSA or HSA funds to purchase these items while we respond to the pandemic—is a great way to do just that, and I am proud to help lead this effort.”
Other cosponsors of the legislation include Reps. Mike Kelly (R-PA), Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ), and Andy Harris, M.D. (R-MD).
The Coronavirus Aid, Response, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed in March 2020 and made permanent changes to health savings accounts. Individuals can now purchase over the counter medications using their health savings accounts, but face masks, specifically, do not count as eligible expenses under federal law.
The bipartisan Protecting Individuals and Families Act qualifies face masks, federally approved hand sanitizers, and federally approved surface cleaners to count as eligible HSA or FSA expenses through the duration of the Public Health Emergency. This change gives millions of Americans the option to take extra precautionary measures they believe are needed to keep themselves and their families safe during this uncertain time, which is especially important as workplaces and schools reopen throughout the country.
Click HERE to read the text of the bill.