I have been expecting the new congressional members to put bills forward to eliminate the Over The Counter exclusion and assist on the FSA limits. The bills were put forward when the Democrats were in control to help find dollars to pay for PPACA. However, 25 million participants and climbing are a large voice. The elimination of the OTC has driven up medical costs because now a doctor must be involved to write a prescription. Both are good moves by the new Congress.
Consumer Driven Market Report
By William Boyles (used with permission)
Two things happened overnight that bear sending out right away.
· HHS Secretary Sebelius endorsed HSAs being offered in state health exchanges in a Washington Post article. To my knowledge she has never before publicly mention HSAs, and this is a clear response to the McDaniels letter earlier this week. “States have discretion, for example, to offer a wide variety of plans through their exchanges, including those that feature health savings accounts.” (see attachment)
· A new Senate bill was introduced to repeal only the FSA pieces of the PPACA law. There’s no telling if this will go anywhere, but by focusing only on one provision its chances are improved. The ECFC description of this bill is reprinted below. This week the “repeal and replace” concept was dead in the House, and a White House deal is looking more likely.
ECFC Legislative Update:
By David Carver (excerpted)
Reintroduction of Patients Freedom to Choose Act
“Yesterday, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) and Representative Erik Paulsen (R-MN) reintroduced the “Patients’ Freedom to Choose Act.” As we have discussed, the legislation would repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA/P.L. 111-148) provision that requires individuals to have a prescription for an over-the-counter (OTC) drug in order to receive reimbursement for the OTC drug through a flexible spending account (FSA), health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) or Health Savings Account (HSA). The legislation also would repeal the $2,500 cap set to become effective on January 1, 2013….”