The Internal Revenue Service sent out an alert Friday reminding taxpayers that home testing for COVID-19 is an eligible medical expense for health savings accounts and flexible spending arrangements, noting that the cost to diagnose the virus can be paid or reimbursed by such vehicles for tax purposes.
The agency's message came the day after President Biden announced his latest mandate for businesses with 100 employees or more to require their workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or conduct weekly tests on unvaccinated workers. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki acknowledged during a press briefing Friday that such costs could be paid by workers, but that decision would be left to individual employers. At-home coronavirus tests can costs upwards of $100.
The Biden administration said this week as part of its plans to drive up testing that in order "to improve access to rapid tests for all consumers, top retailers that sell at-home, rapid COVID-19 tests—Walmart, Amazon, and Kroger—will offer to sell those tests at-cost for the next three months." The White House said in an explainer, "this means that Americans will be able to buy these tests at their local retailers or online for up to 35 percent less starting by the end of this week," adding that "the Administration has also taken action so that Medicaid must cover at-home tests for free for beneficiaries, and that states should ensure that any tools they use to manage at-home testing do not establish arbitrary barriers for people seeking care."
In its notice, the IRS further reminded Americans that personal protective equipment such as masks and hand sanitizer are also eligible medical expenses for HSAs, FSAs, health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), or Archer medical savings accounts (Archer MSAs).