Bill Would Reverse Ban on Over-the-counter Medications

posted in: Affordable Care Act | 0

counterLEGISLATION IN Congress would reverse a controversial portion of the Affordable Care Act that bars employees from tapping their flexible spending accounts, health savings accounts and health reimbursement arrangements to pay for over-the- counter medications.The ACA barred the practice of spending funds that had been set aside using pre-tax dollars to spend on medications that can be purchased without a prescription.

HR 1270 was introduced last year to remedy what bill sponsor Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kansas) says has resulted in patients having to spend more money than necessary. That ban is resulting in “families spending more money to see their doctor to get basic over-the-counter medication, and doctors spending valuable time prescribing cold medicine as their more critical patients wait for attention,” Jenkins said at a press briefing on the bill. HR 1270 was passed out of the House or Representatives on a 243-64 vote and is currently awaiting action in the Senate.

In particular, the measure repeals provisions of the Internal Revenue Code, added by the ACA, that limit payments for medications from health savings accounts, medical savings accounts, and health flexible spending arrangements to only prescription drugs or insulin. In other words, your employees cannot use the funds in these accounts to pay for over-the-counter medications unless they first obtain a prescription. The only exception is insulin. If passed, the bill would be retroactive to Jan. 1, 2016 to allow workers who have such medical expense savings accounts to use them for over-the-counter medications like allergy pills and cold

Plan Would Bar Denying Coverage for Pre-existing Conditions

In place of the ACA’s individual mandate, the plan would prohibit insurance companies from denying patients coverage or charging them more because of pre-existing conditions – but only if they keep continuous insurance coverage, although they could switch plans or carriers.

It would also allow young adults to stay on their parents’ health plans until age 26, which is one of the most popular pieces of the ACA. Under the proposal, insurers would be allowed to sell across state lines and medical liability laws would be reformed.

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