Over-The-Counter Not Eligible for Flexible Spending Accounts in 2011

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The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed by President Obama in March made a bunch of major changes to health care in America and one of them was to flexible spending accounts. Starting in 2011, over-the-counter products will not be eligible for flexible spending accounts. In fact, they will not be reimbursable under FSAs, health savings accounts (HSA), or health reimbursement arrangements (HRA) unless they are prescribed by a physician. There is only one exception and that’s for insulin.

This means that the days of loading up on band-aids, Tylenol and Advil, and other products you pick up in the drug section of your supermarket are no longer eligible unless your doctor prescribes it. While the rules on what is necessary documentation for reimbursement have yet to be introduced, this might start introducing additional paperwork at the doctor’s office. Advising to take two aspirin and calling it a day might have to come with a prescription.

Also, annual contribution limits to your FSA will be limited to $2,500 a year.

{ 51 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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51 Responses to “Over-The-Counter Not Eligible for Flexible Spending Accounts in 2011”

  1. Sheila says:

    I LIKED having the OTC medicines on my flex plan. I am NOT happy with this change. We are too highly taxed as it is. Frankly, if you pay attention a lot of previously “prescription only” (i.e. Clariton) druga have made their way to OTC.

    Frankly, it is almost impossible to get a good tax deduction on medical unless a) you itemize, and b) you can reach in excess of that 7.5% of your AGI. Why NOT let us poor folks have a break? Not impressed with Obama. Not happy that they keep taking things away from us and we continue to struggle.

    Meanwhile, Congress has cushy benefits, better pay, and cost of living increases. BS. Just BS.

    • NateUVM says:

      So, let me get this straight… You folks want to continue to buy an excess of allergy medicine, painkillers and band-aides on a pre-tax basis and not have to worry about carefully planning how much pre-tax money you will set aside so that it doesn’t just dissappear? And you want the rest of the taxpayers to subsidize this (through either decreased services or increased tax revenues)…?!

      I’m sorry, but I am totally in support of cutting back on the public funding of hoarding and in the encouragement of careful financial planning. This was a reasonable and measured way to cut back on a needless subsidy. Unless a doctor presribes it, why should it receive special govt. dispensation…?

  2. yujin says:

    Does Gov wants us not to contribute Flex account? So, that they can tax more on us.
    Allergy season is almost here, and I need to get Claritin. Why I have to make an appointment to get a prescription for OTC?
    Obama doesn’t consider to help us for sure.

  3. Yasmin says:

    Do you really believe that anyone in the government cares. How about there’s nothing he proposes that is going to pass, stop using him as a scape goat. Flex account are based on money loaned to employees of which we pay back over a course of time. Check out other governments with regard to medication and spending, and you’ll see that no US government has ever cared about us.

  4. Jodi says:

    YOu said no over the counter OTC could be bought with your HRA card but that is incorrect I just bought band aids with mine.

  5. charles lato says:

    we were not informed that over the counter drugs were not covered any longer and we put $500 on our card.We do not use Dr’s and will never use all the money on our card now so we are going to cancel our card.Just another way for the rich to get health care and the rest of us get to die.
    The flex card company never sent us a notice about the changes and they are just trying to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes.God bless the USA.

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