Rules change Saturday on health flex
Today is the final day to stock up on aspirin, antacids and other over-the-counter drugs for reimbursement through flexible spending accounts. New restrictions that take effect Saturday will make it more difficult to use up money in flex accounts on such items.
The change is meant to raise tax revenue to offset the cost of the health care reform law Congress passed earlier this year.
Health care flex spending accounts allow employees to use pretax dollars to pay for medical and dental expenses not covered by insurance. They are funded by paycheck deductions, and workers set the amount they want to contribute each year. Any money left in the account at year’s end usually is forfeited.
People with flex accounts use the funds for co-payments, co-insurance and deductibles, along with many other expenses, such as allergy medicine, cholesterol tests, laxatives, sleeping aids, cough drops, diabetic supplies and diaper rash ointment.
After today, account users won’t be reimbursed for purchases of over-the-counter drugs unless they have a doctor’s prescription. However, insulin will continue to be an eligible flex account expense without a prescription. People also will not need prescriptions for supplies like bandages, blood sugar tests and contact lens solution.
The restrictions on over-the-counter drugs also apply to health savings accounts. Unused funds in such accounts can be rolled over to future years.
For more information: www.wageworks.com.