With the COVID-19 pandemic not seeming to cease down, and with the flu season approaching soon, there are many reasons for people to stress out. Employees across the globe have been worried about the pandemic, which has become a major reason for their mental stress, affecting their holistic health and wellness. Also, the economy fall, and the related financial concerns have become another cause of stress.
Studies have shown that healthcare expenses are on the rise, and will probably see a 5.3% increase by 2021.
However, employees seem to find a little relief for their financial situation from their Health Savings Account (HSA) amounts.
With the pandemic being the cause of many health concerns, including stress, sleep disturbances, lack of physical activity, depression, and more, employees seem to be looking forward to using their HSA funds for mental health support, medical expenses, and more.
Alison Moore, Vice President of Marketing, HealthSavings, an HSA company, said that the pandemic has helped her discover new things for which she can use her HSA dollars wisely.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an average American spends almost $5000 every year from their pockets towards healthcare expenses. Instead, they could make wiser decisions of using their HSA with triple tax benefits to reduce spending from their personal savings.
Experts suggest that the HSA could be a crucial resource to help employees maintain their health and wellness during the COVID-19 or before the flu season sets in.
Here is a list of the HSA-approved services that employees can use to relieve themselves of any health and wellbeing related situations during the pandemic and other uncertain times.
Telehealth and Digital Health Solutions
With the social distancing norms and remote working changing the daily normal, employee wellness has gone for a toll as they are prone to mental stress. Since going out has been restricted, telehealth services and digital health solutions have made it easier to find access to quick healthcare. Employees can use their HSA wellness dollars towards these services. Be it for mental health support or for any kind of primary healthcare, these healthcare services can be covered under the HSA funds.
Other Health and Wellbeing Therapies
Funds from your Health Savings Account can also be used towards acupuncture services, yoga sessions, massage therapy, or chiropractic visits. However, it is always recommended to get a doctor’s prescription or note suggesting that these health and wellbeing therapies are a part of the medical procedure. This could especially be helpful during an HSA audit to prove that the procedures have been medically suggested by a professional.
Medications and Health Essentials
The stress due to the pandemic has had many people having sleepless nights. A good night’s sleep has many benefits to achieve holistic health and wellness, and also to perform well at work. Moore suggests that employees can purchase their sleeping aids, melatonin supplements, and other medications aiding to relieve sleep disorders, with their HSA funds. Also, employees can buy moisturizers or chapsticks with the HSA to soothe dry skin after all the handwashing and sanitizing due to the pandemic.
For Flu Shots
With the flu season fast approaching, the scare for a possible second wave of the coronavirus doing the rounds is high. To protect from the pandemic or even from the normal flu, it is advised to take the annual flu shot. Employees can use their HSA funds to get a flu shot right away, and protect their health and wellbeing during the fall.
The pandemic has affected the global economy, and many employees have been laid off indefinitely. The job loss has led to a loss of income and other workplace benefits that were available for the employees, including the corporate insurance and healthcare benefits. Many employees are receiving their healthcare benefits under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) that allows employees to access their employer’s health plans for a while even after losing their jobs. However, the premiums are expensive and employees can use their HSA wellness dollars to pay for it.
Most employees are not aware of the HSA savings, 401(k) retirement plans, or other investment schemes that could be of help for a better financial future or to meet unexpected expenses. Employers can help their workforce overcome their financial concerns by contributing to their savings through HSA or 401(k) plans. Also, they can offer free financial consultations with experts for the employees to learn about different investment plans and receive the right guidance to plan and make the best suited financial decisions.