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IRS delays putting debit card restrictions in pharmacies into effect


SAN MATEO, Calif. A new healthcare debit card guidance from the IRS that would have gone into effect Jan. 1 will be delayed six months in order to give pharmacies more time to comply with the new rules.

WageWorks, a company that helps employers support consumer-directed pre-tax benefit programs, including healthcare and wellness programs, called the delay “good news” for the industry and for consumers.

The new rules would have added retail pharmacies to the list of merchants required to have an IRS-approved inventory system in place in order to accept a healthcare debit card and included an exception enabling pharmacies that primarily sell healthcare items to accept the card as long as they met certain IRS requirements.

“This is really an early holiday present for both the industry and cardholders,” WageWorks senior executive Jody Dietel said in a statement. “The decision means more time for independent pharmacies to meet the IRS’ requirements and convenience for accountholders who can continue to use their cards to shop at their local pharmacies and drug stores.”

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