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COVID-19 and your Optum Bank health care spending and savings accounts

During these unprecedented times, it remains Optum Bank's top priority to keep you informed and to answer your questions. Our goal is to serve as a trusted resource to ensure you have accurate and timely information about health care spending and savings accounts. We recognize that laws and regulations are evolving quickly, and there are many unanswered questions at this time. We are monitoring the situation and keeping an eye on regulation changes. 

Please see below for the latest developments and up-to-date information on regulation changes related to health care spending and savings accounts.

Frequently asked questions about COVID-19

In most cases there is no need. All major health plans have waived member cost sharing, including copays, coinsurance and deductibles for COVID-19 diagnostic testing provided at approved locations in accordance with CDC guidelines for all commercial insured, Medicaid and Medicare members. In addition, many self-insured customers are also choosing to implement similar actions.

Many major health plans have waived member cost sharing for the treatment of COVID-19. Check with your individual plan to determine your specific coverage.

This means that HSA funds are not required for COVID-19 diagnostic testing and treatment (per the above criteria) provided at approved locations in accordance with CDC guidelines. In the event that a plan is not waiving these costs, individuals will be able to use HSA funds for those costs without jeopardizing the qualified status of their high deductible health plan.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, signed into law March 27, 2020, contains important updates on the use of health savings accounts (HSAs), flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and health reimbursement accounts (HRAs). These changes expand qualified medical expenses and access to remote care.

Telehealth services

  • High-deductible health plans (HDHPs) with an HSA may* provide pre-deductible coverage for telehealth and other remote care services. This provision will last until December 31, 2021 (plan year must begin prior to this date).

Certain over-the-counter (OTC) drugs and medications as qualified medical expenses

  • The CARES Act restores the ability to use HSAs, FSAs and HRAs to purchase certain OTC drugs and medications, like aspirin and other pain medications, allergy medication, etc., without a doctor’s prescription. 
    • For the first time, menstrual care products are considered qualified medical expenses for payment or reimbursement with an HSA, FSA or HRA.
    • Both provisions for OTC and menstrual products apply to amounts paid or expenses incurred on or after January 1, 2020, and are ongoing without an expiration date.* 
  • Important note for HSAs:

You may use your debit card as you normally would since no claim reimbursement process is required. Please retain copies of your receipts as needed for tax purposes.

  • Important note for FSAs and HRAs: 

You can use your account funds to purchase these products starting today. However, you may attempt to purchase OTC drugs and medications or menstrual care products with your Optum Bank payment Mastercard® and be unable to. This is because individual merchants, like pharmacies and convenience stores, must update their point of sale (POS) system to now recognize these products as qualified medical expenses for FSA and HRA. 

Use your payment card as you normally would for these purchases, and if the sale will not process, you can pay out of pocket with the option to reimburse yourself with account funds. As a reminder, keep your itemized receipt or explanations of benefits, which are needed to verify each purchase so you can be reimbursed. To submit a claim for reimbursement, sign in to and select "File a claim" from the "I want to" section.

  • Resources:
    • Check out these videos for step-by-step instructions:
    • If you would like to submit a manual claim reimbursement, sign in to your account at and select “Help & Tools”, and then “Forms & Documents” to access the Reimbursement Claim form.
    • To search qualified medical expenses, visit


*This communication is subject to your specific plan documents and personal circumstances, and is not intended as legal or tax advice. Health savings accounts (HSAs) are individual accounts offered or administered by Optum Bank®, Member FDIC, and are subject to eligibility requirements and restrictions on deposits and withdrawals to avoid IRS penalties. State taxes may apply. Fees may reduce earnings on account. Flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and health reimbursement accounts (HRAs) are administered by OptumHealth Financial Services and are subject to eligibility and restrictions. Federal and state laws and regulations are subject to change.

If you manage your transportation benefit purchases through the Commuter Benefits site

Refunds and cancellations for April orders:

  • April orders cannot be cancelled at this point.
  • In the event that you do not need your purchased transit product for April, please find out about the product return policy specific to your transit authority.
  • For May orders that have already been placed, you may edit or delete your order (up to the 10th of the month in most cases). You can make changes right from your order dashboard. Under the Options button, select Edit Order or Delete Order.
  • If you have a smart card or prepaid debit card, there is no need to return it. Funds can be used for future commutes even if it is not used in April.

Policies for orders in upcoming months:

If you do not plan to use your commuting order for May or other upcoming months, you may opt-out of specific month(s).

Follow these steps to opt out, if needed:

  • Sign in to your online account and select Transportation Services to be directed to the ordering site.
  • Locate your existing order for a particular month on the dashboard.
  • Under Options, select Edit Order.
  • Under the question “Are there any months you do not need this order?”, select the month(s) you need to opt out.

If you have the Commuter Check Prepaid Mastercard®, funds on the card do not expire and can be used at any time.

If you make transportation purchases with your Optum Bank payment Mastercard®

  • You may have made purchases for your commuting needs (i.e., bus passes, train passes, smart card, parking fee) using the Optum Bank payment Mastercard®.
  • If your commuting needs have changed related to the transportation products you have purchased, and you need to request a refund or cancellation, those transactions must be handled directly with the vendor or merchant that you made the purchase through."

The IRS issued guidance in May 2020 which gave employers increased flexibility for participants to change elections and spend unused funds beyond usual grace periods and other plan deadlines. However, these changes were optional. Please check with your employer for any plan-specific changes applicable to your situation. 

There are options to modify, suspend or add an election. 

  • Suspend your election: If your daycare has closed and is not billing you for services, you may consider suspending your election. Should you choose to do this you may re‐elect once your daycare services resume.
  • Modify your election:
    • You may increase or decrease your election if your daycare provider has adjusted their fee schedule during this time.
    •  If a child is switched from a paid provider to “free care” (i.e. neighbor or relative) or no care. An election change should be permissible whenever there is a change in provider.
  • Add an election: Should your family needs require that you seek new provider services that have a cost, you may add an election. For example, you could consider hiring a babysitter to care for your children while you are working in your home. This will qualify so long as the babysitter is over the age of 19 and is not your spouse, the parent of the child, or anyone you can claim as a dependent on your tax returns.

Yes. Optum Bank customers will continue to have full access to their respective funds, transactions and accounts. As an online bank with no physical branches, Optum Bank supports 24/7 access to accounts at and through the Optum Bank mobile app. There will be no interruption to online banking services enabling account holders to view their balance and transactions, submit receipts and pay bills or reimburse themselves, or any additional functionality.

Funds in your HSA held on deposit at Optum Bank are available for your spending and saving needs. Those funds are fully insured by the FDIC, up to $250,000 per designated beneficiary. Funds held in self-directed investment options are not FDIC insured, are not guaranteed by Optum Bank, and may lose value.

Optum Bank maintains liquidity well in excess of regulatory requirements to ensure customers have full access to their respective funds today or for a future medical expense. The Bank anticipates ample liquidity based on our assets structure which is primarily comprised of liquid investments such as cash and cash equivalents, U.S. Government and agency bonds, asset‐backed securities and high-quality corporate bonds. The investment portfolio has a weighted average credit rating of “Single A” by the credit rating agencies, and is well diversified by asset class and issuer. Optum Bank is unique in that the loan and lease assets represent less than 15% of the Bank’s total assets. Management monitors liquidity daily and evaluates the Investments amid changing market and Bank conditions. The Bank anticipates strong liquidity to continue to serve our customers’ health care spending needs.

Yes. You now have until July 15, 2020 to make HSA contributions, to align with your federal tax filing and payment deadline. If contributions are made up until the extended date, a revised 2019 5498 tax form will be available in August 2020.

At this time, we anticipate no disruption or impact to our services. Our primary contact center is located in Salt Lake City, UT with additional locations in Duluth, MN, Oldsmar, FL, Cypress, CA and San Juan, Puerto Rico. In the event that any of our sites become inoperable, we use state-of-the-art, skill-based telecommunications technology to route calls from the affected site to any of our other contact centers.