Legislation to Restore Over-the-Counter Medicines under HSA and FSA Coverage Clears House

Restoring Access to Medication Act included in bundle of provisions to amend the PPACA

Washington, D.C. (July 6, 2016)The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) applauds the House of Representatives for its passage of the Restoring Access to Medication Act (H.R. 1270). Sponsored by Reps. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.) and Ron Kind (D-Wisc.), this bill would allow consumers to once again purchase over-the-counter (OTC) medicines with tax-preferred accounts, such as flexible spending arrangements (FSAs) and health savings accounts (HSAs), without first obtaining a prescription.

A provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) that took effect on January 1, 2011, requires holders of tax‐preferred healthcare accounts to seek a physician’s prescription if they wish to use those accounts to purchase an OTC medicine.

“OTC medicines are often a first line of defense against ailments and injuries and should be treated as medically reimbursable healthcare therapies, just like prescription medicines and other healthcare treatments and services,” CHPA President and CEO Scott Melville said. 

“OTC medicines provide Americans with accessible, affordable, and trusted solutions, empowering them to address their everyday healthcare needs. The exclusion of OTCs from FSAs and HSAs encourages consumers to see a physician when not medically necessary. Requiring a prescription for a nonprescription medicine is bad healthcare policy and adds cost to the healthcare system.”

“Our industry thanks Representatives Jenkins and Kind for their leadership on this issue, and we commend the House for endorsing a commonsense fix that will expand healthcare savings to more Americans.” 

The Senate’s companion bill S. 709, sponsored by Sens. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), was referred to the Senate Committee on Finance. 

The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) is the 135-year-old national trade association representing the leading manufacturers and marketers of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and dietary supplements. Every dollar spent by consumers on OTC medicines saves the U.S. healthcare system $6-$7, contributing a total of $102 billion in savings each year. CHPA is committed to empowering consumer self-care by preserving and expanding choice and availability of consumer healthcare products.


Contact: Jenni Roberson 202.429.9260