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What is the IRS Guidance When it Comes to Plan PPE Allowance

Written by Aimee Reynard
Updated 1 month ago

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced that amounts paid by individuals for certain personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks, hand sanitizer, and sanitizing wipes, for the primary purpose of preventing the spread of COVID-19, are treated as expenses incurred for medical care under IRS Code 213(d). 

What this means for you is that these amounts may be deductible under that IRS code or reimbursed under an HSA, HRA, or FSA if the expenses were not compensated by insurance or otherwise.

Group health plans that do not currently permit the reimbursement of COVID-19 PPE expenses may be amended to permit them if they were incurred on or after January 1, 2020.  

IMPORTANT NOTE:  While an employer is not required to amend their plan to cover PPE, SIGIS, the organization which manages requirements published by the IRS for debit card transactions, is actively working with merchants to allow for PPE to be covered using a debit card. It’s important to note that even if an employer does not amend their plan to allow for these new expenses, an employee may be able to use their Ameriflex card where merchants approve PPE as a qualifying health expense, without the employer amending their plans.  

Employers that wish to amend their plan now can do so by completing the below form, which authorizes PPE to be covered retroactively to January 1, 2020.  Employees may submit manual claims for PPE expenses paid out of pocket.  Manual claims will only be approved if the employer has confirmed that they want PPE to be covered under their plan(s). 

Click Here to Complete Form

Please note: If the employer does not wish to make any changes at this time, no action is needed.

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