Let People Use Their Flexible Spending Accounts for OTC Drugs

The National Association of Manufacturers has signed on with a letter to Congress from members of Health Choices Coalition, urging legislators to overturn the ban on use of employees’ Flexible Spending Accounts for over-the-counter drugs. OTC drugs are effective and FSAs are effective, providing an important measure of consumer control over health-care spending, yet last year’s health care law limited the accounts.

The Consumer Healthcare Products Association issued a release on the issue earlier this week. Excerpt:

“This issue is about empowering millions of American consumers to cost-effectively manage their families’ healthcare needs,” said CHPA Vice President of Government Affairs Bill Head. “The availability of OTC medicines through an employer-sponsored FSA provides valuable cost-savings to consumers, increases worker productivity, and encourages smart healthcare decisions by both employers and employees — all of which are consistent with the goals of healthcare reform.”

Prior to January, OTC medicines were eligible for reimbursement under FSAs and other tax-preferred savings accounts. An estimated 19 million working American families purchased these cost-effective medications through their FSAs.

“Unfortunately the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act included a provision that limits coverage of OTC medicines. Instead of saving consumers money and encouraging them to proactively address their health needs when they can and should, this provision will increase costs to the healthcare system and place a new burden on already over-burdened physician offices,” said Director of Government Relations for the Osteopathic Association Shawn Martin.

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