Consumers Win with Recent Bills to Restore OTC Eligibility Under Tax-Preferred Healthcare Accounts
January 11, 2017 --
Bi-Partisan, Bicameral Change to the Affordable Care Act Would Provide Cost-Savings for Consumers
WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) applauds the introduction of bipartisan, bicameral legislation in the U.S. Congress that would restore the ability of consumers to use their tax-preferred flexible spending arrangements (FSAs) and health savings accounts (HSAs) to purchase over-the-counter (OTC) medicines. The legislation, ?Restoring Access to Medication Act (RAMA) of 2017 (H.R. 394 and S. 85), was introduced in the Senate by Senators Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), and in the U.S. House by Representatives Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.) and Ron Kind (D-Wis.).
OTC medicine eligibility in tax-preferred accounts was removed in 2011 as one of the first-implemented provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Since that time, CHPA has been leading a broad national coalition the Health Choices Coalition (HCC) advocating for restoration of this important consumer benefit. The HCC includes consumer advocates, policymakers, physicians, dentists, retailers, pharmacies, pharmacists, insurers, drug manufacturers, and various employers.
?Americans are being asked to fund more of their healthcare expenses through higher deductibles and copays, so its more important than ever that cost-effective OTC medicines are treated the same as other eligible medical expenses in tax-preferred healthcare accounts, CHPA President and CEO Scott Melville said. ?Restoring OTC eligibility under FSAs and HSAs will help the more than 50 million consumers who use these accounts and who are looking to take greater ownership of their own health through responsible self-care.
Americans depend on OTC medicines as a first-line option for meeting family healthcare needs, and these medicines provide a safe, effective, affordable, and convenient means to alleviate the symptoms of minor to moderate ailments. More than 90 percent of Americans prefer to seek treatment with OTCs before seeing a healthcare provider, and nearly 90 percent of the physicians and pharmacists recommend that patients self-treat with OTC medicines before seeking physician care. Self-care with OTCs helps reduce unnecessary doctor visits, reduce lost time from work, and provide a significant cost advantage for consumers. According to a study conducted by CHPA, OTCs save consumers and the healthcare system $102 billion each year, and for every dollar spent on OTC medications in the U.S., the healthcare system saves $6 to $7.
To learn more about the benefits of OTC eligibility in tax-preferred accounts, and to learn how to support this legislation, visit http://www.chpa.org/TaxDefer.aspx.
The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) is the 136-year-old national trade association representing the leading manufacturers and marketers of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and dietary supplements. CHPA is committed to empowering self-care by preserving and expanding choice and availability of consumer healthcare products.
Consumer Healthcare Products Association
Mike Tringale 202-429-3520