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Flexible Spending Accounts and COVID-19: What you need to know

From: Human Resources

Update from Department of Human Resources Management Office of Health Benefits from April 8, 2020

Update: COVID-19 Provisions Regarding Flexible Spending Accounts

This will expand upon information provided in the March 25 edition of E-News regarding COVID-19-related provisions for Health Care Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs):

Expenses incurred after December 31, 2019, for over-the-counter (OTC) drugs and medicines may be submitted for reimbursement from Health Care FSA funds without requiring a prescription from a physician. This includes drugs and medicines needed in quarantine and social distancing, and also adds feminine hygiene products to the list of eligible OTC items.

NOTE: Due to the new legislation, some vendor locations or online sources may not be updated to recognize these items in their Inventory Information Approval System. A vendor's approval system is not within PayFlex's control, so if the PayFlex card does not work at the point of sale, participants may pay upfront and submit the receipt for reimbursement.

This provision does not currently have an expiration date.



In these rapidly changing times, it is important to stay updated about your healthcare policy. Eligible Virginia Tech employees may be enrolled in a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), which allows employees to set aside money each pay period for use on qualified healthcare and dependent care expenses. The following is the most recent available information regarding the impacts of COVID-19 on flexible spending accounts.

Can the plan year be extended?
Unfortunately, no, the plan year is a 12-month period and, per the IRS, cannot be extended.

Can my annual election be reduced as the result of a change in planned surgery?
At this time, guidance is not available regarding funds set aside for planned medical procedures that have been postponed due to COVID-19.

Can a Dependent Care FSA annual election be reduced due to closure of school, daycare, or after-school activities due to the pandemic?
A change in the cost of childcare services is considered a Qualifying Mid-Year Event (QME) or Life Event. The employee may make an election change by submitting the enrollment form indicating the new election amount. The change will be effective the first of the month following receipt of the completed enrollment form and appropriate documentation. To complete the form:

  1. Complete the enrollment form.
  2. Select “Qualifying Mid-Year Event/Documentation to Support the Event” in section 2.
  3. Provide supporting documentation (statement from day care provider, etc.)
  4. Submit this form electronically or via fax, mail, or interoffice to Human Resources.

If you have questions, contact the HR Service Center at or 540-231-9331.