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House to consider bill restoring use of FSAs for OTC drugs


Employees again would be able to tap their flexible spending accounts, health savings accounts and health reimbursement arrangements to pay for over-the-counter medications without a doctor's prescription under legislation the House of Representatives is expected to consider this week.

H.R. 1270, introduced by Reps. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan., and approved last year by the House Ways and Means Committee, would reverse a provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that became effective in 2011 and stripped away employees' ability to use their FSAs, HSAs and HRAs to pay for over-the-counter medications, except for insulin.

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,” Rep. Jenkins said last month at a briefing.

Under the Jenkins bill, the lifting of the ban would be retroactive to Jan. 1, 2016.

The measure has 39 co-sponsors, mostly Republicans.