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House passes bill restoring use of FSAs for OTC drugs


Legislation approved by the House of Representatives on Wednesday would allow employees to again tap their flexible spending accounts, health savings accounts and health reimbursement arrangements to pay for over-the-counter medications without a doctor's prescription.

H.R. 1270, introduced by Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan., and approved by the House 243-164, would reverse a provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that became effective in 2011 and stripped employees' ability to use their FSAs, HSAs and HRAs to pay for over-the-counter medications, except for insulin.

That ACA provision “makes no sense requiring individuals to see their doctor simply to get a prescription for common cold medication,” Rep. Jenkins said in a statement after the House vote.

Under the Jenkins bill, the lifting of the ban would take effect on Jan. 1, 2017.

The measure goes to the Senate for consideration.