The big question for many is where can you find a genuine n-95 mask to buy right now? Businesses and individuals alike have incurred substantial expenses related to COVID-19 over the past year and a half. The common consensus is that those expenses and needs are far from over. This leaves us with two main concerns. Firstly, how to optimize those costs and investments, and secondly, where to buy n95 masks that actually do their job, without breaking the bank.
IRS Announcement 2021-7, released by the Internal Revenue Service on March 26th, 2021 provides new financial relief for companies and individuals.
The IRS specifically mentions this applies to personal protective equipment (PPE) including sanitizing wipes, hand sanitizer, and n-95 mask.
The costs now classified by the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) as Medical Expenses cover individuals, spouses, and dependents, up to 7.5% of annual adjusted gross income (AGI).
Spending on these items can be a part of medical expense deductions on federal income tax returns. They also qualify to be paid by or reimbursed by health savings accounts (HSA’s), and similar accounts, including FSA’s and MSA’s.
Coverage by Reuters points out that group health plans are now also eligible to amend their plan coverage rules to incorporate these items as well. Amendments can be made to be retroactive through to December 2022.
This should certainly come in handy for millions of individuals and businesses who have extended themselves during the recent state of emergency declarations. Many have already spent substantial sums on a wide variety of emergency supplies and PPE. All while potentially having their income impacted. Dealing with at least temporary business interruptions and new regulatory requirements for sanitization and public safety.
Many new variants of COVID are being reported in the US alone. Not mandated to continue wearing an n-95 mask. They have been advised to double up on masks at the same time too.
Many will find this welcome and timely news as they look to stock up ahead of future needs, looming shortages, and pesky inflation, which seems to be driving up prices on everything from toilet paper to gas.
Note that we are not offering tax advice. As always, make sure that you consult your medical insurance providers and accountants to determine your personal savings under this adjustment.
Even if not legally mandated, you know you need clean masks and plenty of them. You want them to be affordable and comfortable. Though, even more importantly, you won’t face masks that you can actually trust will keep you safe.
You have probably already encountered two of the most prevalent issues here yourself:
1. Shortages of PPE and face masks
2. Finding trustworthy sources to purchase legitimate protective gear
Some medical facilities, stores, states, and entire nations have been claiming shortages of PPE. Even for healthcare professionals. In fact, we’ve heard about all kinds of so-called shortages in the news. Used to manipulate and increase prices.
It is being claimed about so many things. From lumber to swimming pool chlorine, to toilet paper, vaccines, and shipping containers. Even milk, while farmers are complaining they’ve been dumping millions of gallons of it. Shortages of products aren’t the problem. Dig into the real data on these things. In most cases, including PPE, you will find that the truth is this is a logistics issue. Not a supply problem.
It is most often an issue that from big retailers to hospitals and governments, there are often complex channels and purchasing protocols, as well as corporate politics. Many of which are a bottleneck to sourcing or obtaining needed items, efficiently and at the best prices.
Just like farmers, there are quality PPE manufacturers with CDC-approved products and lots of them. They may just not promise the biggest profit margins desired, or have owners who have been best friends with purchase executives in college.
Coverage by the Huffington Post in 2021 shows that experts still recommend the N95 respirator mask as being the most effective against the coronavirus. These masks have largely been reserved for healthcare professionals. Though due to the challenges we’ve already mentioned. There are trusted and authorized manufacturers and suppliers now able to provide them directly to businesses of all sizes. As well as individuals and their families.
According to HuffPost, the best deal, and number one place on their list of reliable and trustworthy N95 mask manufacturers online is Bielcor.com, and the half-face masks N95 B201 model 20 packs of masks. Which works out to be a little over $1.40 per NIOSH-approved mask.
Bielcor also offers the even more superior protection of the B300 N99 face mask, which protects from 99% of particulates. 12 packs of these dust masks were still available and in stock at the time of publishing this article.
How to Make Sure You Are Getting Real Protection
The CDC and approved N95 particulate respirator manufacturers have warned of counterfeit and fake masks which do not provide adequate protection, or worse.
Try going to Amazon, and you can spend hours trying to sift through face masks for sale online and reading reviews, and still be no closer to really being confident that you are picking a safe mask that will really protect you, and will actually show up on your doorstep.
The CDC and National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL) have issued an updated list of approved manufacturers on the government agency’s website here.
The CDC also provides a list of counterfeits and frauds along with the following tips for watching out for fakes, including:
Lack of approval numbers on facepiece respirator
No NIOSH labels
Decorative designs or fabric
Earloops instead of headbands
Thanks to new changes from the IRS, PPE including N95 masks can now be tax-deductible. They may even qualify for reimbursement as medical expenses for both group plans, and individuals up to 7.5% of your income.
Despite much misinformation, perceived shortages don’t have to be a problem for businesses, individuals, and families. According to the Huffington Post, the best deal on approved N95 face masks is found at Bielcor.com.