Recent COVID-19 Regulations: Information and Solutions To Help

Coronavirus Resources & Information – Member

Our Benefit Plans And COVID-19: Information and Solutions To Help

Welcome to our COVID-19 Information and Solutions page. Here you can find information on a variety of topics specific to the plans you are enrolled in with Benefit Strategies. This includes information on changes you can make to your enrollment and/or election amounts, as well as changes that have been made at the federal level that impact enrollment, claims, eligible expenses, payment deadlines and elections.

We will keep this page updated with any COVID-19 related changes or impacts. We are continuously monitoring the situation and updating our information as quickly as possible.

Our customer service team is ready to assist you should you need additional information on any of the information on this page.


  • Personal Protective Equipment Now Considered 213(d) Eligible Expenses

      On Friday, March 26th the IRS released Announcement 2021-7, which adds Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to protect against COVID-19 as eligible expenses under Code 213(d). This means PPE expenses are now eligible under FSA and HSA plans. Also included are HRA plans that have all Section 213(d) expenses defined as an eligible expense.

      Specifically, PPE includes:

      • Masks
      • Hand sanitizer
      • Sanitizing wipes

      What this means for you

      This change is retroactive and effective for expenses incurred on or after January 1, 2020.
      Please note: If your 2020 plan year runout period has already concluded, no further claims for that plan year can be filed.

      Coding of the merchant codes on the debit cards through SIGIS will take time, and merchants will be updating their own systems according to their own timelines. This means you could experience inconsistencies from merchant to merchant for 30 days or more after the SIGIS update.

      If you are unable to use your FSA or HSA debit cards to purchase the PPE, please use another form of payment and submit for reimbursement to Benefit Strategies through our secure online portal, mobile application or a claim form.

  • Information on Qualifying Events For Enrollment and Election Changes
      COBRA - NEW

      For information on subsidies and your special enrollment opportunity please review this notification.

      Important Subsidy FAQ

      For information on your COBRA deadline relief please review this notification.

      Important Deadline Extension FAQ

      Healthcare FSAs and Limited Purpose FSAs

      The IRS permits changes to an election for the below situations (called Qualifying Events). We are continually monitoring regulations to determine if any new Qualifying Events will be permitted due to the extraordinary circumstances being experienced across the country.

      Qualifying Events Due to Employment Changes:

      • You or your legally married spouse’s termination of employment
      • Your legally married spouse’s commencement of employment
      • You or your legally married spouse’s change from part-time to full-time, or full-time to part-time status
      • You or your legally married spouse’s unpaid Leave of Absence (LOA)

      Other Qualifying Events:

      • Marriage
      • Divorce
      • Birth or Adoption
      • You or your legally married spouse’s or your dependent’s death

      How To Make A Change To Your Health FSA Election If You Have Experienced A Qualifying Event:

      You will need to contact your employer so they can update your payroll records and they will then notify Benefit Strategies to make the change in our system. Keep in mind your employer may have deadlines for the changes to be made in time for the following payroll.

      Dependent Care FSAs

      The IRS permits changes to an election for the below situations (called Qualifying Events). We are continually monitoring regulations to determine if any new Qualifying Events will be permitted due to the extraordinary circumstances being experienced across the country.

      Qualifying Events Due to Changes in Childcare Arrangements:

      • You no longer need childcare
      • You no longer need childcare as frequently
      • You have had a change in the amount you pay for childcare (increase or decrease)
      • You now need childcare - this is a Qualifying Event to add the Dependent Care FSA if you are not currently enrolled.

      Qualifying Events Due to Employment Changes:

      • You or your legally married spouse’s termination of employment
      • Your legally married spouse’s commencement of employment
      • You or your legally married spouse’s change from part-time to full-time, or full-time to part-time status
      • You or your legally married spouse’s unpaid Leave of Absence (LOA)

      Other Qualifying Events:

      • Marriage
      • Divorce
      • Birth or Adoption
      • You or your legally married spouse’s or your dependent’s death

      How To Make A Change To Your Dependent Care FSA Election If You Have Experienced A Qualifying Event:

      You will need to contact your employer so they can update your payroll records and they will then notify Benefit Strategies to make the change in our system. Keep in mind your employer may have deadlines for the changes to be made in time for the following payroll.

      Parking and Transit Accounts

      IRS regulations allow participants to make changes to Parking and Transit elections at any time. This includes decreasing or increasing your election amount or suspending enrollment in the plan.

      How To Make A Change To Your Parking and/or Transit Account Election or Suspend Enrollment:

      You will need to contact your employer so they can update your payroll records and they will then notify Benefit Strategies to make the change in our system. Keep in mind your employer may have deadlines for the changes to be made in time for the following payroll.

      Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)

      IRS regulations allow HSA account holders to make changes to the amount they are contributing to their HSA at anytime. This includes no longer making any contributions.

      NEW! Wish you had put more away in your HSA for 2020? It’s not too late! The IRS has announced the deadline to make 2020 contributions to an HSA is May 17, 2021.

      How To Make A Change To Your HSA Contribution Amount:

      You will need to contact your employer so they can update your payroll records and they will then notify Benefit Strategies to make the change in our system. Keep in mind your employer may have deadlines for the changes to be made in time for the following payroll or other policies surrounding timing of HSA contribution changes.

  • CARES Act Provides New Section 213d Eligible Expenses
      • The CARES Act
      • What this means for you

        Over-the-counter items eligible under an FSA

        New! Two permanent changes to FSA and HSA eligible expenses have been made under the federal CARES Act law signed March 27, 2020. Both of these changes are retroactive and effective for expenses incurred on or after 1/1/2020.

        1) Over the Counter (OTC) drugs and medicines no longer require a prescription to be eligible. This includes products such as cough syrup, allergy medicine and pain relievers.

        2) Menstrual care products (i.e. tampons, liners, pads, cups, etc.) are now eligible.

        Eligible Expense Lists

  • Online Shopping Options for FSA and HSA Eligible Expenses
Blog

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Manchester, NH 03101
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Benefit Strategies
P.O. Box 1300
Manchester, NH 03105-1300

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Phone: 603-647-4666
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Email: info@benstrat.com

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