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Empower women employees to manage their health with tax-free funds

Author: Keri Kaiser

Talk of women’s health concerns, from periods to pregnancy to menopause, used to be taboo. And, while it’s not exactly watercooler conversation yet, employers have increasingly realized that recognizing and supporting the full spectrum of women’s health needs is beneficial to fostering employee health and positively influencing hiring, retention, and productivity. As benefits professionals and HR teams, you play an important role in accomplishing this, starting with understanding the needs of the women in your workforce (or the women dependents of your employees), ensuring that your organization offers the right benefits for employees and their families, and educating workers about these benefits to encourage adoption and utilization. 

Five successful women working

In order to offer relevant and high-value benefits for all employees, you need to first understand who is using your benefits and what they need. For women, that means understanding how the hormonal changes they experience throughout their lives can affect their health and wellbeing. For example, did you know that hormonal changes put women at increased risk for serious or chronic health conditions like diabetes, stroke, obesity, and even breast cancer? Fortunately, giving women employees the resources to manage everyday health can go a long way toward preventing the onset of these conditions. 

Hormonal changes can impact everything from mood to mental acuity to workplace productivity, not to mention increasing health risk factors like weight gain, poor sleep, and stress. Fortunately, there are numerous products and services available to support women on their health journeys, whether they are managing menstrual pain and discomfort, planning for a healthy pregnancy, or experiencing menopause symptoms. To ensure that your organization is fully supporting the needs of women employees, start by examining your health plan coverage for things like fertility treatments and family planning, hormone replacement therapies, and more. 

Then, make sure you offer supplemental benefits to complement these offerings. For example, a flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA) can help women employees and eligible dependents achieve their health goals by bridging the gaps in your health plan coverage and allowing them to pay for services and products that can alleviate hormonal changes and support health needs like fertility, postpartum care, and maintaining hormonal balance. It might surprise you and your employees to learn that women can use tax-free FSA and HSA funds to pay for their health needs, regardless of their age or stage of life. Some of the surprisingly eligible women’s health expenses include:

  • Menstrual care products. Women in the United States spend an estimated $3 billion a year on menstrual care products. Fortunately, an FSA and HSA can help alleviate this burden, as necessities like tampons, pads, period underwear, period cups, and products to relieve pain and bloating can all be purchased with tax-free FSA and HSA funds. 

  • Fertility treatments and support. Achieving a healthy pregnancy can be an emotional and expensive journey. FSA and HSA funds can help cover expenses like clinical fertility treatments and drugs, as well as over-the-counter fertility test kits, ovulation testing kits, pregnancy tests, and fertility treatment programs like Proov.

  • Support for a healthy pregnancy. There is little that an expectant parent thinks of more than having a healthy pregnancy. FSA and HSA funds can be used to purchase things like prenatal vitamins, over-the-counter heartburn medicine, drug-free pain relief products, and even a handheld fetal doppler device.

  • Postpartum essentials. Everything new moms need to jump-start recovery after delivery, including postpartum underwear, perineal cooling pad liners and cooling foam, instant ice maxi pads, and a toilet top storage container. Red and infrared LED light therapy devices are also eligible, and have been found to deliver gentle heat that helps repair wounds and restore vaginal health for new mothers. 

  • Hormone testing supplies. Over-the-counter kits and supplies to test and monitor hormones that indicate if a woman is in perimenopause or menopause, or that influence fertility, are also FSA- and HSA-eligible. 

  • Menopause relief. It's estimated that 75% of women experience hot flashes, which can leave them visibly sweating and uncomfortable during the work day. Devices like a hot flash relief wristband can help women employees maintain a comfortable body temperature and mental focus throughout the workday. 

  • Hormone replacement therapies. Prescription hormone replacement therapies are covered by FSA and HSA funds, as well as homeopathic products designed to relieve hot flashes, mood changes, and to maintain digestive health, which can cause bloating, cramping, and discomfort during menopause.

As HR professionals, you can bring added value to your workforce by educating employees about benefits that can help women manage and improve their health. Understanding how tax-free FSA and HSA funds can be used throughout the year to support individual and family health not only empowers employees, but it can help them save money in a time of continued inflation and cost increases. 


Women’s health needs have long been a taboo topic in the workplace. But fortunately, that’s changing as employee benefit plans and workplace policies are expanding to cover more services and treatments for things like fertility, healthy pregnancy, and menopause. In this article for BenefitsPRO, Health-E Commerce Chief Revenue Officer Keri Kaiser writes about how flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and health savings accounts (HSAs) can also play an important part in supporting women’s health needs by helping women employees pay for everyday essentials and bridge the gap in their covered benefits.


About the Author

Keri Kaiser is chief revenue officer for Health-E Commerce, parent brand to FSA Store and HSA Store, the first and leading online stores for a guaranteed FSA- and HSA-eligible shopping experience, and a go-to industry source for account  education.


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