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House introduces legislation to bolster consumer health savings

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WASHINGTON — The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) applauds the introduction of the Restoring Access to Medication Act. The bipartisan legislation would reinstate consumers’ ability to purchase over-the-counter (O-T-C) medicines with tax-preferred savings accounts, including Flexible Spending Arrangements (FSAs) and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). The legislation, authored by Representatives Ron Kind (D, Wis.), Grace Meng (D, N.Y.), Jackie Walorski (R, Ind.) and Darin LaHood (R, Ill.), also extends FSA/HSA eligibility to feminine hygiene products.

Scott Melville

Millions of American families rely on FSAs, HSAs, and other tax-preferred accounts to help meet their basic healthcare needs. However, since 2011, a provision in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has prevented consumers from using these savings to purchase O-T-C products. Feminine hygiene products were never FSA/HSA-eligible, despite the critical role they play in women’s daily healthcare needs.

“As the country wrestles with rising healthcare costs, the importance of affordable and accessible self-care options has never been greater,” said Scott Melville, president and chief executive of CHPA. “American families already depend on OTC medicines to meet their healthcare needs and treat common ailments such as allergies, cough and colds, or pain.”

O-T-C medicines provide Americans with accessible, affordable, and trusted self-care solutions, empowering them to better address their everyday healthcare needs. A new study released by CHPA last week shows that 90 percent of Americans prefer treating with O-T-C medicines before seeing a healthcare provider. The study found that, on average, each dollar spent on O-T-C medicines saves the U.S. healthcare system $7.20, totaling nearly $146 billion in annual savings.

“Restoring O-T-C eligibility is good policy that saves consumers and the U.S. healthcare system money,” said Melville. “Each Congress, we’ve seen movement on this issue and we applaud members for expanding their bipartisan efforts to include FSA/HSA eligibility for feminine hygiene products. These are first-class products that receive second-class treatment under today’s Federal tax law. We applaud Reps. Kind, Meng, Walorski, and LaHood, for introducing a common-sense bill that will reduce healthcare costs for the nearly 45 million consumers who are participants in FSA or HSA plans. We urge lawmakers to advance the legislation in this Congress.”

Read Reps. Kind, Meng, Walorski, and LaHood’s statement here.

On July 12, 2018, the House Ways and Means Committee approved similar legislation. Prior to the Committee vote, CHPA and the Health Choices Coalition – representing physicians, dentists, consumers, retailers, manufacturers, pharmacies, pharmacists, patients, insurers, small businesses, and large employers – sent a letter of support to the bill sponsors.


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