This law is a new one working through Congress, and a lot of people haven’t heard about it yet. I want to bring it to your attention because it could save our family – and possibly yours too – a lot of money. The law proposes to modify the existing healthcare law, the Affordable Care Act, to allow the use of Health Savings Account (HSA) and Flexible Spending Account (FSA) funds for over the counter medications without a prescription.
How the Process Works Now
You can pay for over the counter medications with HSA and FSA funds now – but only if you have your doctor write you a prescription. To pay for your allergy medicine or headache medicine you need to go to the doctor every time you need more and have them write down on a prescription pad the medication is necessary. Then, you go to the pharmacy and have them “fill” the over the counter medication just like they would fill prescription medications.
The process works in some cases where you’re going to be at the doctor regardless. However, most people just skip the doctor’s appointment and buy the over the counter medicines out of their personal account. Frequently the math doesn’t add up to make the doctor’s visit worth it. A $15+ copay or a percent of the visit, depending upon your insurance, is more than a lot of over the counter medications cost. That doesn’t even take into account the time required to schedule a visit and wait in the office.
How it Would Change
Instead of going to the doctor for an over the counter medication prescription, you would walk up to the counter and pay for it with your HSA or FSA card. No doctor’s visit. This law would modify the Affordable Care Act in a narrow way according to the bill’s current language.
H.R. 1270--A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to repeal the amendments made by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act which disqualify expenses for over-the-counter drugs under health savings accounts and health flexible spending arrangements; to the Committee on Ways and Means.
The Next Step
H.R. 1270 is on the calendar for consideration by the Senate on July 11, 2017. According to ModernHealthcare.com, “President Obama says he will veto…” but that’s of little consequence considering he’ll no longer be in office when the Senate takes up the measure. Want to take action? Here’s how! Look up your Representatives at WhoIsMyRepresentative.com or a similar site. Contact their office and let them know you support H.R. 1270.
The more people reach out; the more likely your Congressmen and women will take a position on the bill – meaning they’ll tell everyone how they plan to vote. They only know what their constituents want if they speak up.
As of right now there is no additional language in the bill aside from what I’ve included above. If you would like to take a peek at the bill’s progress or learn more about it, you can view the full details on Congress.gov.
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