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April 10, 2019

King, Roberts Introduce Bill to Cut Red Tape, Allow Purchase of OTC Drugs Using Health Savings Accounts

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Angus King (I-Maine) and Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) today introduced the Restoring Access to Medication Act, bipartisan legislation that allows Americans to use the funds in their health care accounts to purchase over-the-counter (OTC) medications.

“It’s just common sense – over the counter medications should not require a prescription from a primary care provider,” Senator King said. “But under current law, many Americans cannot access the funding they have set aside for health care expenses without signoff from their provider. By giving people more freedom to responsibly manage their health care accounts, we can cut red tape, support hardworking men and women, and strengthen the health care system.”

Specifically, the legislation amends the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to restore the ability of those participating in a medical savings account, such as a Flexible Savings Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA), to use the funds to purchase OTC medications.

Nearly 50 million Americans participate in FSAs and other health savings accounts. The accounts allow individuals to set aside their own money each year on a pre-tax basis to pay for health care expenses, such as co-payments, and other health care expenses not covered by insurance.

A broad coalition of groups support this legislation, including the AARP, America’s Health Insurance Plans, the American Academy of Dermatology Association, the American Association of Family Physicians, the American College of Physicians, the American Dental Association, the American Medical Association, the American Osteopathic Association, the American Society of Association Executives, Anthem, Inc., the Arthritis Foundation, the Associated Builders and Contractors Association, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, the BlueCross BlueShield Association, Consumer Healthcare Products Association, ECFC, the Food Marketing Institute, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, the National Community Pharmacists Association, the National Federation of Independent Business, the National Grocers Association, the Retail Industry Leaders Association, the Sjögren’s Syndrome Foundation, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, WageWorks, and Wex Health.

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