House restores OTC reimbursements under FSAs; bill passes to Senate


WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives on Thursday passed the Protect Medical Innovation Act of 2012 by a vote of 270-to-146, which will reinstate over-the-counter medicines as eligible expenses under flexible spending accounts without the requisite prescription established by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act last year.

"By reinstating the ability of Americans to use their flexible spending accounts for over-the-counter medication and by making it possible for them to reclaim their unused money, we are making it easier for Americans to be in charge of both their health care and their finances," said Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., who co-sponsored the legislation.

The repeal language included in the bill is from the Restoring Access to Medication Act (H.R. 5842), introduced by Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan., which was approved by the House Ways and Means Committee last week.

The bill now heads to the Senate next for consideration.

The passage of the bill received praise from industry leaders, including the Consumer Healthcare Products Association.

"The House of Representatives' vote [today] is a win for America's tax-payers who use health savings accounts to manage their family’s healthcare costs," CHPA president and CEO Scott Melville in a release issued late Thursday. "How an individual or family chooses to spend the dollars they set aside in a flexible spending arrangement should be based on their healthcare needs and not hindered by a policy that does more to reduce healthcare access than expand it."

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