CHPA shouts support for Restoring Access to Medicines Act of 2015


WASHINGTON — The Consumer Healthcare Products Association announced on Thursday its strong support for the Restoring Access to Medicines Act of 2015 (H.R. 1270), introduced this week by U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.) and U.S. Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.).

The bipartisan measure seeks to repeal a provision of the Affordable Care Act that required consumers to obtain a prescription to use flexible spending and health savings account dollars to purchase over-the-counter medicines.

According to the American Association of Preferred Provider Organizations, 45 million Americans hold tax-preferred savings accounts, including HSAs and FSAs. A 2014 Nielsen study notes that 74% of U.S. adults are in favor of a change in the law that would allow individuals to once again use FSA funds to purchase OTC products, CHPA noted in a statement.

“We thank Rep. Jenkins and Rep. Kind for their leadership in working to restore FSA and HSA holders’ right to use their set-aside dollars to purchase commonly used OTC medicines without an unnecessary and costly doctor visit,” said CHPA president and CEO Scott Melville. “This legislation is a great example of common sense reform that would reduce the cost of health care and lessen the burden on physicians imposed by current FSA/HSA restrictions.”

Melville also added: “As today’s consumers are being required to absorb larger copays and deductibles in their health plans, they are increasingly turning to FSA and HSA offerings and demanding value in their healthcare choices. It’s therefore more important than ever to restore OTC medicines as medically reimbursable healthcare therapies under FSA/HSA programs — just like prescription medicines and other healthcare products and services.”

A 2012 Booz & Company study estimated that OTCs provide $102 billion dollars a year in savings to the U.S. healthcare system, due, in part, to avoided doctor’s visits that could be otherwise treated with OTC medicines. The same study noted that for every dollar consumers spend on OTC medicines, the U.S. healthcare system saves $6 to $7.

The bill is also supported by the Health Choices Coalition, which represents physicians, consumers, retailers, manufacturers, pharmacies, pharmacists, patients, pharmacy benefit managers, small businesses, and employers in an effort to stop the unintended consequences resulting from the ACA restriction on OTCs.

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