What you should know about Annual Enrollment and Menstrual Health Products

Annual Enrollment and Benefits for People Who Menstruate

Keep reading to learn more about tampons, pads, liners, cups, period underwear, and other menstrual hygiene products covered through FSA and HSA benefits. We provided a shopping list at the end of the post!



What is Open Enrollment?

Open enrollment is a yearly period where people enroll for health insurance plans for the following year. It typically runs from November 1 to January 15, 2023. It's best to enroll by December 15 for your coverage to start on January 1.


Is open enrollment the only time I can enroll for a health insurance plan?

Nope! If you qualify for the Special Enrollment Period, you can enroll or make changes to your health care plan. To qualify for the Special Enrollment Period, you must be experiencing certain life events like getting married, having a baby, or losing your health coverage.


What are my healthcare plan options?

Preferred Provider Organization, a.k.a PPO Plan

PPO plans work by contracting with medical providers to create a network of participating providers that can support your care.


Perks of the PPO Plan:

  • Increased flexibility in choosing your providers

  • No need for a referral from your Primary Care Provider (PCP)

  • The plan can travel with you - access to providers and specialists in other states

  • Coverage for out-of-network providers

Disadvantages of the PPO Plan:

  • It tends to be a higher monthly cost

  • Annual deductible

  • You are responsible for coordinating your care

  • Health Maintenance Organization, a.k.a. HMO Plan

This plan limits your coverage to care from doctors who work or contract with the HMO.


Perks of the HMO Plan:

  • Your PCP can coordinate your care (integrated care; make referrals to other providers)

  • You do not need to file claims paperwork

Disadvantages of HMO Plan:

  • You are required to select a PCP

  • You need a referral to see a specialist

  • You only have access to out-of-network providers only in medical emergencies

  • You may be required to live or work within the service area to be eligible for coverage

Okay, so what does this have to do with period care?

Through the Cares Act, FSAs and HSAs are a way to put money aside, pre-tax income for medical expenses. Since feminine hygiene products were reclassified as "medical expenses," they are now covered!

Feminine hygiene products are eligible for reimbursement with a flexible spending account (FSA), health savings account (HSA) or health reimbursement arrangement (HRA). Feminine hygiene products are not eligible for reimbursement with a limited-purpose flexible spending account (LPFSA) or a dependent care flexible spending account (DCFSA). - FSAStore.com

Flexible Spending Account (FSA)

With a flexible spending account, you can submit a claim to the FSA (include proof of the medical expense + proof your plan didn't cover it). Then you are reimbursed for your cost.


How can I use my FSA?

  • You are limited to $3,050 (for individuals)

  • You can use your funds for deductibles and copayments

  • You can use it on prescription medications, crutches, sunscreen, menstrual supplies, and more.

  • Must be used within the calendar year

Health Savings Account (HSA)

With a health savings account, you can put money aside, untaxed, to pay deductibles, copayments, and other medical expenses or supplies. HSA contributions are eligible if you are enrolled in a high-deductible health plan (HDHP).


How can I use my HSA?

  • You can contribute up to $3,650 (for individuals)

  • You can rollover unused funds year to year

Menstrual Health Shopping List

Check out our period care shopping list, which is full of item ideas you may use for purchasing your FSA or HSA benefits.


Resources
  1. PayFlex - The Cares Act and Feminine Hygiene

  2. Healthcare.Gov - Preventative care befits women

  3. GoodRx - What is PPO insurance

  4. FSA Store

  5. HSA Store


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