News & Press: Legislation

Bills Now in House and Senate to Allow Reimbursement for OTC Drug Expenses

Thursday, April 11, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Martin Trussell
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Last month, Reps. Ron Kind (D-WI), Grace Meng (D-NY), Jackie Walorski (R-IN) and Darin LaHood (R-IL) introduced H.R. 1922, the Restoring Access to Medication Act.  The bill would overturn the provision in the Affordable Care Act that prohibited FSAs, HRAs, and HSAs from reimbursing expenses for over-the-counter drugs unless the drug is insulin or prescribed by a physician.  H.R. 1922 would also allow feminine hygiene products to be treated as a qualified medical expense that could be reimbursed through an FSA, HRA or HSA.  This change would be effective after December 31, 2019. Download a copy of H.R. 1922 here.

More recently, on April 9, 2019, Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) introduced in the Senate S. 1089, the Restoring Access to Medication Act, with Senators Angus King (I-ME), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), and Joe Manchin (D-WV) as cosponsors.  This bill would also overturn the ACA provision that prohibited FSAs, HRAs, and HSAs from reimbursing expenses for over-the-counter drugs.   The Senate bill does not include the provision that was in the House bill allowing feminine hygiene products to be treated qualified medical expenses. (The text of S.1089 is not yet available on line.)

ECFC has joined with others in the industry in letters to the sponsors of these bills indicating our support for these bills.  The ACA provision that prohibited FSAs, HRAs and HSAs from reimbursing expenses for over-the-counter drugs has resulted in increased medical costs as people either had to see their doctor to get a prescription for over-the-counter drugs or purchased higher-cost prescription drugs in order to use their FSA, HRA or HSA for reimbursement. ECFC supports legislation that will allow FSAs, HRAs, and HSAs to again be able to reimburse for over-the-counter drugs. In addition, ECFC supports legislation so that menstrual care products, such as tampons, caps, and liners, would be considered medical expenses that can be reimbursed from FSAs, HRAs, and HSAs.

These bills are tax bills which will be referred to the respective Congressional tax writing committees – the Ways and Means Committee in the House and the Finance Committee in the Senate.  Action on these bills in the Committees has not been scheduled and, although these Committees are holding multiple hearings on health care related matters, the Chairmen of these Committees have not indicated whether they would take up tax bills dealing with health care tax issues.  At this point, ECFC and other advocates for this legislation will continue our efforts to press members of Congress to take up and pass this important legislation.  We will keep the membership apprised of any Congressional activity regarding these bills.

- Wiliam J. Sweetnam, ECFC Legislative & Technical Director