Changes to Flexible Spending Arrangements for OTC Drugs

October 6, 2010

Effective Jan. 1, 2011, the cost of an over-the-counter medicine or drug cannot be reimbursed from flexible spending or health reimbursement arrangements unless a prescription is obtained. The change does not affect insulin, even if purchased without a prescription, or other health care expenses such as medical devices, eye glasses, contact lenses, co-pays and deductibles.

The new standard applies only to purchases made on or after Jan. 1, 2011, so claims for medicines or drugs purchased without a prescription in 2010 can still be reimbursed in 2011 if allowed by the employer's plan. A similar rule goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2011 for Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and Archer Medical Savings Accounts (Archer MSAs). Employers and employees should take these changes into account as they make health benefit decisions for 2011.

For more information, please contact your Perelson Weiner partner.

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