How to Use Your HSA to Save Money During Cold and Flu Season

Winter's quickly approaching and with it, cold and flu season. From covering copays to medication, we share the many ways you can use your HSA to save if you find yourself with a cold or the flu this year.

How to Use Your HSA to Save Money During Cold and Flu Season

As if the typical cold and flu season wasn’t enough, we’re about to go through it alongside a pandemic this year. Because 2020, right? While COVID peaks, yet again, in the U.S., we’ll also see cold and flu cases spike December through February. On average, adults will experience 2-3 colds a year, with children experiencing even more.  If you have a Health Savings Account (HSA), now is the perfect time to tap into those savings so you and your loved ones can prepare. 

Let’s break down some of the ways your HSA can step in to make sure you’re covered.

Get your flu shot

The first step in taking care of yourself during cold and flu season is making sure you have your flu shot. You can get one at your nearest CVS or Walgreens for a great price (if not free) or talk to your primary care doctor about getting one! If your insurance doesn’t cover the cost at a local pharmacy or through your doctor, use your HSA to take care of the copay. Do your kids need a flu shot, too? If they’re still a dependent, use that HSA! If your flu shot helps prevent any illnesses during the peak of the season, just think of all the money on OTC medication, copays and prescriptions you’ll save!

Stock up on over the counter (OTC) remedies

Earlier this year, the CARES Act was passed, which made over-the-counter medication HSA-eligible medical expenses. These include things like pain relievers, fever reducers, cough meds, antihistamines, decongestants, nasal sprays, nasal rinses, humidifiers, and more. This is a huge win for HSA-users, because those OTC costs can often add up. For example, if you got one of everything we just mentioned, it would be around $170. You can find a comprehensive list of eligible OTC items right here.

Cover copays at the doctor’s office

If you come down with a cold or the flu and you need to visit a doctor’s office, don’t let the cost get in your way of taking care of yourself or your family. A Gallup study earlier this year found that 1 of every 7 adults (14%) reported that they avoid seeking care over cost concerns. Whether you’re able to get in with a primary care doctor or simply visit the nearest urgent care facility, your HSA can take care of whatever copay you encounter! Additionally, if you want to curb any chances of spreading the cold or flu, you can now use your HSA to utilize telehealth services--another benefit of the CARES Act passing earlier this year. 

Get the prescriptions you need to get better

If your doctor prescribes antibiotics or other common flu medication like Tamiflu, you use your HSA to pay for the prescriptions. You can also take advantage of programs like GoodRx to ensure you’re paying the best possible price on your medications. Always double check prescription prices because insurance copay prices aren’t always the lowest!

Take care of yourself!

It’s imperative that we stay diligent as we enter the cold and flu season. Some of the symptoms are similar to COVID-19, so if you’re unsure, there’s nothing wrong with also getting a COVID test (pay with an HSA if you need to!). As long as you stay on top of your health, keep washing hands, wearing masks, and limiting human contact, we’ll get through this! And having an HSA by your side never hurts.


*Updated on 7/23/21 First Dollar's partnership with RxSaver has been merged with GoodRx upon its acquisition. Find prescription savings via GoodRx on their website or app.


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