Until recently, feminine hygiene products were not considered a reimbursable purchase under health flexible spending accounts (FSA). A flexible account is a special account that allows you to save a portion of your pre-tax money for healthcare-related expenses.
The reason for not allowing the purchase of products like tampons and liners was that they are available everywhere, from regular supermarkets to pharmacies, and are not really used for treating a condition.
Last week, however, the House passed a bill deeming feminine hygiene products eligible for purchase with pre-tax money. This bill has been long due and was proposed by Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.) as part of advancing “menstrual equality” and making hygiene products affordable for people from all walks of life.
As part of her effort, Rep. Meng has also managed to get the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide feminine hygiene products to organizations that provide assistance to the homeless population around the nation. She and her colleagues are also trying to make these products available, free of charge, in all the restrooms located in the House of Representatives. As a result of her immense effort in making hygiene products more accessible to all, it is reported that these items are now freely available for female inmates too.
Advocates for women’s rights have made it their mission to fight for women’s rights and have been trying to make these basic necessities free for all. And as of April 2018, schools in New York have started providing free hygiene products in school restrooms for girls aged 6 to 12.
Feminine hygiene products are an essential commodity for millions of young girls and women out there, but they can get really expensive too, considering the prices these products sell for. With bills like this one and the effort on the part of advocates, we can hope to see a day when feminine hygiene products become available free of cost for all.
Gaudiano, N. (2018, July 28). ‘Menstrual equality’: House passes measure allowing women to buy tampons, pads with health spending accounts. Retrieved from https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/07/27/house-oks-menstrual-equality-measure-help-women-buy-tampons-pads/849074002/
Gstalter, M. (2018, July 29). House passes ‘menstrual equality’ measure to allow tampon, pad purchases with health spending accounts. Retrieved from http://thehill.com/homenews/house/399360-house-passes-menstrual-equality-measure-for-tampon-pad-purchases-with-health
The One-Stop-Shop for Flexible Spending Accounts. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://fsastore.com/FSA-Eligibility-List/F/Feminine-Hygiene-Products-E300.aspx